“You, sir, are worse than Hitler.”
It’s a scene from The Simpsons that takes place at the DMV. Homer pretends that both Patti and Selma’s cigarettes are his in order to save his sister-in-law’s jobs, and their boss accuses him of being worse than one of the worst mass murderers in history (Mao Zedong is #1 and Stalin is in the running for #2).
That’s the type of hyperbole that makes The Simpsons great. But this following statement is not hyperbolic:
Trump is worse than Hitler.
If we’re looking at the potential for mass death, Trump is more horrifying than the short-moustachioed fascist, and it’s not because I actually think he’s going to create death camps and exterminate people with gas chambers. A Donald Trump presidency is potentially more terrifying than the horrors of the Second World War because holocaust technology has advanced exponentially.
To quote comedian Denis Leary, “Two words: nuclear fucking weapons.”
A Brief History of Nuclear Warfare
“Stick to fitness.” – Some douchebag with an internet connection and a collection of Make America Great Again hats.
“Go fuck yourself.” – James Fell
A few people are aware of the fact that I had a life and career prior to becoming a somewhat popular fitness columnist. One of those lives involved a desire to become a professor of military history. I went so far as to attain a master’s degree with a general focus on strategic containment of communism by the United States during the cold war. The topic of my thesis was U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America in relation to the mass of Cuba-inspired rebellions that cropped up across the region in the 1960s.
Let us look back to Japan in 1945, the only place where nuclear weapons were purposefully used to vaporize human beings.
The simplistic argument has been presented that the use of the bombs saved lives, and perhaps they did. Many numbers have been thrown around over time, and they’ve grown in the telling, so I won’t bother repeating. The basic argument is that nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought a quick end to the war, thereby removing the need for a land invasion of the home islands which would have cost significantly higher numbers of both American and Japanese lives than were lost via the atomic bombings.
There is some logic to the argument, and the counterclaim that Japan was “ready to surrender anyway” made by revisionists is dubious. Regardless, the decision to use nuclear weaponry on Japanese cities has another component that few know or understand. It involves the former Soviet Union.
The U.S. and Russia were tenuous allies during the Second World War due to a common enemy. Russia was obligated by the Tehran Conference (November, 1943) to enter the war with Japan after Nazi Germany was defeated. In 1943 the United States welcomed help in defeating Japan, but the successful testing of an atomic bomb on July 16, 1945 in the New Mexico desert created new possibilities: The U.S. could end the war without Soviet assistance and thereby prevent Russia having postwar influence in how Japan was administered.
There is more. The United States also wanted to show off her new toys.
Yes, America wanted to reveal Fat Man and Little Boy to Japan in a “You guys really need to give up” kind of way, but perhaps more important was the need to broadcast to the Soviet Union what the bombs could do.
There were a number of reasons why the target cities were chosen, but an important one for Hiroshima (the first city to be nuked) was that it was “pristine;” it had not been hit with conventional bombs prior to its destruction on August 6, 1945. Choosing Hiroshima meant the U.S. could both see and expose Russia to the full destructive power of these new weapons as a big “Whaddya think of that, you commie fucks?”
As you likely know, Russia thought, Holy Jesus Fuck Farts! We need to have those too! They could not abide the power imbalance, and more than anything, the possession of nuclear weapons over the decades has been a way of showcasing how powerful a nation is, because of what can be done with them.
And so, Soviet agents stole the technology from the Americans a few years later, and the nuclear arms race began.
The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Case Study in Cooler Heads
In 1962 Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev decided to send approximately 80 missiles to be stationed in Cuba as a method of launching a quick strike against U.S. soil. Twelve of those nukes were “tactical,” which are short-range, lower yield weaponry that can be used against troops in the field.
Perhaps the most frightening thing about this situation was that the Soviet Commander in the field in Cuba was given discretion for using these tactical nukes in case the island was invaded by the U.S. If the U.S. invaded, and the Soviet commander nuked the invasion force, then it’s highly likely this would have escalated into a full exchange of intercontinental boom sticks.
America could not abide the presence of the missiles in Cuba because it would give the appearance of a weakened United States, and appearances were everything. History reveals that JFK initially did plan to remove the missiles via air strikes and an invasion of ground troops, and the onsite Soviet commander probably would have used tactical nukes on the latter. Then everything would have gone to excrement.
But the Bay of Pigs fiasco from the previous year taught President Kennedy a lesson about such rash behavior, so he formulated the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, which debated the merits of showing force vs. negotiation.
The alternative to invasion was a naval blockade of Cuba, and even that resulted in some near misses. Nevertheless, the less aggressive strategy allowed for time to reach an accord via a backroom deal between the two superpowers.
Through careful diplomacy, Armageddon was averted.
The Potential Trumpocalypse
Cooler heads prevailed during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but does the description “cooler head” spring to mind when envisioning Donald Trump? What do you imagine Trump would have done if he were in JFK’s shoes 54 years ago?
I expect if President Trump was running the show in 1962, intelligent cockroaches would be running it now.
Nuclear weapons frighten the contents of my colon with rapid evacuation. I was a teen in the 80s and fretted Ronald Reagan was going to get us all blown to nuclear hellfire before I had the chance to lose my virginity. Generally speaking, in the 60s it was Khrushchev’s nuclear posturing and miscalculation of the American response that led to the crisis, but in the 80s it was President Reagan’s aggressive showing of nuclear force via buildup and massive NATO war games that had the Soviets concerned an American first strike was forthcoming.
Documents published by the National Security Archive a few years ago reveal that, during the 1980s, there was an imminent threat of nuclear exchange due to the belligerent posturing of the two powers as well as through potential for miscalculation. The nuclear arsenal had become a hair trigger that someone might pull without even meaning to.
All of this shows the need for rational leaders rather than demagogues having their finger on the button.
And just like saying Trump is potentially worse than Hitler is not hyperbolic, neither is the fear that he could be responsible for a nuclear war an exaggeration should he become president. As a starting point, based on what the potential Commander-in-Cheeto has said, his actions could lead to worldwide nuclear proliferation among new nuclear players, and that’s not good.
The Future Politics of Proliferation
Donald Trump has vowed to repeal “every single Obama executive order.” One such order would be the president’s “Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to North Korea.” With such restrictions eliminated it’s a reasonable assumption that Kim Jong-nutbag would be able to mature the destructive power of his country’s nuclear program. South Korea would be screwed, since Trump has said he would pull out U.S. forces from the south end of the peninsula.
With the U.S. deterrent gone, renewed hostilities between North and South are a forgone conclusion. And considering the questionable sanity of the North Korean leader and the substantial military might of his adversary, it’s quite likely he would choose the nuclear option. It’s also worth noting that Trump has suggested both South Korea and Japan have their own nuclear arsenals so they don’t need to rely on the U.S. for defense. So South Korea would retaliate atomically against North Korea, and who the hell knows what would happen between Japan and the nuclear power of China (North Korea’s closest ally), because those two countries don’t exactly have a history of fondness towards each other. (See: Rape of Nanking.)
But it doesn’t stop there.
Another executive order Trump has threatened to repeal is the one that blocks Russia’s disposition of highly-enriched uranium extracted from nuclear weapons. This order states, “the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation continues to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” That’s because other countries that don’t currently have nukes could use this material to build their own, and that’s all we need.
There are plenty of unbalanced and theocratic governments that would love to get their hands on some fission-bang-explode-pow toys. Many such states would be overjoyed at the opportunity to use such weaponry on Israel. And guess what? Israel has had nukes pointed at her neighbors for decades, and if Tel Aviv got transformed into radioactive rubble you can bet they would nuclear retaliate like a motherfucker.
Then we have India and Pakistan, who hate one another and have nukes pointed in each other’s direction. If other countries start using atomic weaponry they’d possibly say, “Wait, we’re allowed to use these things now?” Then we have another nuclear missile “fuck those guys” exchange.
Yet another executive order Trump has vowed to repeal involves stopping the situation in the Ukraine from degrading. This, at a time when Russia is threatening to invade the region again and the U.S. military has said it doesn’t think it could stop a conventional military invasion of Europe. The greatest indicator of future behavior is past behavior, and Putin’s past behavior is one of military aggression.
But Trump is cozy with Putin and Russia, isn’t he?
Is he really? The reason why Russia favors a Trump presidency is that Trump is anti-NATO. He sees NATO as a way for weaker countries to get money out of wealthier ones rather than legitimately being a bulwark against Russian expansion and aggression. Trump wants to throw NATO allies to the Russian wolves, reheating the cold war.
Donald Trump can’t even control his temper on Twitter (yesterday his aides reportedly revoked his access to the social media platform). The idea of him needing to be an actual statesman to avoid atomic conflict is terrifying, and not just to me. Bruce Blair, who served as a nuclear missile launch officer in South Dakota, said, “The thought of Donald Trump with nuclear weapons scares me to death. It should scare everyone.”
Should Trump become president it is not a certainty that nuclear war would result, but evidence indicates the risk would be dramatically higher than with Hillary Clinton in charge. Look at the relentless attacks against Clinton for the past few decades, much of it unwarranted. Has she responded with public meltdowns and crybaby attacks? Quite the opposite. She’s retained her composure. Hillary Clinton is the epitome of a cool head. If anyone in this race could be trusted with the future struggles the United States will face in dealing with threats posed from aggressor nations without leading us into nuclear kerblooie, it’s her. (By the way, the FBI is STILL NOT recommending that she be charged in regards to those emails.)
I do not expect to convert any diehard Trump fans. Perhaps I will convince a few Republicans who don’t like Trump but can’t bring themselves to vote Democrat to just stay home. There is nothing wrong with staying home in this election if you are a Republican disappointed in your party’s choice of leader.
It’s a Tuesday. Make tacos instead.
But if you’re anti-Trump, even if you don’t like Hillary, don’t you dare stay home. Have you seen the mouth-frothing among some of the Trump faithful? You can bet your ass his base is going to get out and vote, and you need to as well. For those looking to stop Trump, this is not the time to not vote!
This is your chance to stop President Worse-than-Hitler. The potential for mass death under a Donald Trump presidency is unacceptable, and I beg you to get your ass in gear and vote against this mid-functioning psychopath.
If Trump does become president and the missiles fly, you fuckers who could have stopped him with your votes but decided to stay home instead will be the first ones I eat when the canned food runs out.
I picked a helluva year to quit drinking.
Thanks to David Yankovich for his assistance in researching this piece.
James S. Fell is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada. He also interviews celebrities about their fitness stories for the Los Angeles Times, and is head fitness columnist for AskMen.com and a regular contributor to Men’s Health.