Trump's Nuclear Question Goes Nuclear And Remains Unanswered: Is It Really Such A Stupid Question? And I Have Questions Of My Own [Video]

Sheri Oz

It has become almost an automatic knee-jerk reaction: whatever Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump says is added to the quickly amassing evidence that Trump is dangerous and must be defeated at all costs. I have seen few moments of reflection on what Trump may mean with respect to the context within which his words arose. If Trump said it, it must be stupid, crazy, evil, racist, misogynist, and more. His questions regarding nuclear weapons belong to the first category: stupid (and dangerous).

In the video featured here, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough reported that an anonymous foreign policy expert claimed that Trump had asked three times about nuclear weapons. Trump finally asked, according to Scarborough: "If we have them, why can't we use them?" This drew an incredulous response from Hayden: "Wow!" and an admonition to America and Republican leaders to "Be careful."

John Noonan, who was national security policy advisor to Jeb Bush and foreign policy advisory to Mitt Romney and is now a national security commentator and analyst, had harsh words for Trump in light of his thrice-asked question about nuclear weapons. Noonan's scorn is not surprising, since he has prominently placed #NeverTrump on his Twitter Profile.

Trump's Question Is Far From Stupid or Crazy

Trump apparently asked why nuclear weapons are not being used if they are in our possession. I am not convinced that is what he really asked. But the question requires a far from simple response. In fact, NATO Review has devoted a number of articles to consideration of the need to revise thinking on the topic of nuclear capacity and deterrence. For example, the magazine provided a summary of the February 2016 Munich Security Conference that examined whether or not NATO has to alter its stance toward Russia, among other things. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg might have come closest to dealing with the issue Donald Trump raised in his question about nuclear weapons.

"Deterrence starts with resolve. It's not enough to feel it. You also have to show it." This is true in both the conventional and the nuclear realm.
The question has, like so many of Mr. Trump's comments, sent shock waves. But nuclear experts say it is shocking not just for the statements themselves, but for the uncomfortable truths they expose, perhaps unwittingly, about nuclear weapons.

[Photo by Evan Vucci/ AP Images]