For the first time since 1976, US lawmakers are re-evaluating who should control America’s nuclear weapons.
Today (Nov. 14), expert witnesses will testify before senators on US national “authority and process” over its nuclear arsenal. The hearing follows a tense few months, in which North Korea has continued nuclear testing, and Donald Trump has responded with belligerent improvisational statements, threatening “fire and fury” and warning that a military response was “locked and loaded.”
Could the US president start a nuclear war with North Korea? That’s what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing aims to figure out. The hearing will be broadcast on public-service network C-SPAN at 10am US Eastern Time. You can watch it online here.
You can also watch it via PBS on YouTube:
The hearing will be led by Republican senator Bob Corker, who has described Trump’s White House as “an adult day care” and cited fear that the president’s remarks could spark a World War III. Witnesses include retired Air Force general C. Robert Kehler; Peter Feaver, a professor of political science at Duke University; and Brian McKeon, former acting undersecretary for defense policy during the Obama administration.
Trump returns from his 12-day tour of Asia today, cutting short a scheduled appearance at the East Asia Summit in the Philippines. The danger of North Korea’s nuclear capacity was a recurrent topic in talks during the trip. Trump also attempted to visit the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea but was stymied by fog.
According to Newsweek, Rodong Sinmun, the official North Korean party newspaper, this week blamed the US for hostile posturing. An op-ed in the paper warns that “The US and South Korean puppet authorities should reasonably behave themselves”, and “We love peace more than anyone else, but we will never pardon the provokers and aggressors going reckless to bring a war disturbing peace.”
For background, watch the foreign relations committee’s Oct. 30 hearing on the US authorization process for use of military force, with testimony from secretary of state Rex Tillerson and and defense secretary James Matthis.