George Takei admonished Donald Trump for haphazardly announcing a nuclear arms buildup — which the actor and social media star warned could literally doom humankind.
“Prior presidents generally undertook any shift in nuclear policy with care, and with the advice of experts in arms control and proliferation who have made keeping us safe their life’s mission,” Takei wrote for The Daily Beast. “After all, when a single person has the power to rain down nuclear fire across the world, caution might not only be warranted, but expected.”
Takei lost an aunt and baby cousin when the United States used atomic weapons against Japan, at Hiroshima, and he lived through the Cold War and the apocalyptic specter of “Mutually Assured Destruction.”
“The Soviet Union and the United States pointed their weapons like guns to each other’s heads, knowing that pulling the trigger meant both sides perished in flames and radiation,” he wrote. “But what both sides had then, which seems terrifyingly lacking now, was at least a genuine sense of the seriousness of the circumstances.”
Takei fears that the president-elect — a 71-year-old man who “apparently lacks the self-control to keep his fingers from tweeting” — lacks both the temperament to oversee the nuclear arsenal and an understanding of the “true horror of what he can unleash in an instant.”
“The only true thing that has long stood in the way of such a war was a sanity check among experienced, reasonable leaders that frighteningly may no longer hold,” Takei wrote. “I hope, indeed pray, that when Trump speaks of the world ‘coming to its senses about nukes,’ he includes the United States and his own self as President.”
He urged Trump to visit Hiroshima, where a group of survivors has kept alive the grim legacy of atomic warfare, so the president-elect might understand that nuclear weapons are not “toys” or “chips to be wagered in some kind of high stakes poker match.”
“He must come to understand, viscerally, what is at stake in their possible use,” Takei wrote. “For the sake of all humanity, he must come to see nuclear bombs not as fearsome weapons to be revered, but as the literal dead end they are.”