The news about House Democrats proposing to limit the US president’s ability to launch nukes prompted some netizens to link the initiative with unsubstantiated allegations of POTUS Joe Biden’s deteriorating mental capabilities. However, the authors of the open letter to the president claimed they only had “checks and balances” in mind.
An initiative by US House Democrats to force the president to consult with the vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives before ordering a nuclear strike is not without merit, professor of law at the University of Tennessee Glenn Harlan Reynolds suggested in an op-ed for the New York Post. The scholar pointed out that the existing scheme, where POTUS holds the nuclear codes needed to launch nukes, stems from the realities of the Cold War.
The Cold War, however, is long over and now the most likely source of a nuclear strike on US soil would be rouge nations possessing nuclear weapons, Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds suggested. He argued that unlike the USSR, Russia or China, these states can hardly obliterate the US with a first strike, let alone cripple the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
At the same time, unchecked presidential power to order a nuclear strike poses certain dangers and hence should be rescinded in the absence of absolute necessity for it, the scholar insisted. For example, during the Cold War both the US and the USSR received false alarms about nuclear launches by the other, although…