Donald Trump swept all five states that voted last Tuesday, putting him in strong position to capture the Republican nomination. Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican party has been great for cable news ratings. CBS Chairman Les Moonves said that Trump has been “damn good for business.”
Why does Trump drive high ratings? He’s unpredictable. He can say anything at anytime. He’s not inclined to pause to gather his thoughts or think about the impact of his words. He just lets it fly. It is, undoubtably, compelling TV — particularly compared to the politicians who robotically repeat talking points.
Now, however, things are getting serious. Trump is, in all likelihood, one of the two people with a shot at becoming our next president. As Commander-In-Chief, Trump would have full control of America’s nuclear weapons arsenal and would be in charge of our diplomatic relationships with the other 8 nations that possess nuclear weapons.
Trump has said that he believes nuclear weapons are the greatest threat facing our country. Yet the nuclear deterrence strategy he outlined last night during a 46-second soundbite on Fox News borders on incoherency.
Diplomacy, particularly with the other countries that possess nuclear weapons, is a high stakes game. It is not an exaggeration to say that humanity’s survival depends on it. Pakistan is arguably the most fraught relationship of all — a nation with a significant nuclear arsenal that constantly faces destabilizing forces inside and outside its borders.
Asked to comment on Pakistan, Trump essentially offers a word salad. Here’s the transcript:
Trump's answer to Greta on Pakistan still puzzling: pic.twitter.com/kWWUdtRXdF
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) April 28, 2016
The exchange, where Trump tries to explain how his “get tough” negotiating strategy would apply to a country like Pakistan, has not garnered significant attention. (Most recent coverage of Trump has centered around his claim that Hillary Clinton would only have 5% support if she were a man.) It is not particularly entertaining. But it does begin to pull back the curtain into how Trump’s improvisational style would translate to governing.
Previously, Trump argued that the United States “may well be better off” if more countries — including Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia — develop nuclear weapons. He has also hinted at using nuclear weapons to combat ISIS.
But over the past 30 years, the world has become a safer place as the United States has participated in a variety of international treaties to reduce the number of nuclear warheads, from 64,452 in 1986 to 10,315 last year.
Trump is clearly open to taking the world in a much different direction. Where, exactly, Trump would take America’s nuclear policy is anyone’s guess. But it’s one area where Trump’s unpredictability is less entertaining.