Anti-Trump Massachusetts Senate Resolution Is Also Anti-American

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Trump Derangement Syndrome is in full force on Beacon Hill, as can be seen in an outrageous resolution put forward by a state senator running for Congress.

The resolution calls on federal representatives and senators from Massachusetts to try to get Congress to limit the authority of the president of the United States to use nuclear weapons.

State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), one of the leading Democratic candidates for the open Third Congressional District seat in the Merrimack Valley, is the sponsor of SD 248, which asks our state’s congressional delegation to “take all necessary steps to establish a system of check and balances with regard to the first use of nuclear weapons and to ensure that the President shall no longer have the sole and unchecked authority to launch nuclear weapons, except in circumstances of retaliation.”

When she introduced it on February 2, it got little attention. No major newspaper or wire service reported on it, as far as we can tell. So why bring it up now?

Incredibly, the Massachusetts Senate took action on it yesterday – less than 10 hours before President Donald Trump was set to meet with a North Korea dictator who is possibly the world’s biggest threat to start a nuclear war.

The Senate’s action was admittedly administrative – referring it to a committee from which, we hope, it will never emerge. But that action ensured it would get picked up by State House News Service, which dutifully reported it yesterday afternoon.

Now, we doubt that word reached Kim Jong-un in Singapore, or that it would have mattered if it had. But it’s the thought that counts. The Massachusetts Senate took an action (however futile) to undermine the authority of the president of the United States when he was about to negotiate with a troublesome adversary.

Nor is timing the only problem with the resolution. The substance is dreadful.

Nuclear war is, obviously, horrifying. But weakness is not the way to avoid it. Strength is.

For decades, our national defense strategy has relied on nuclear weapons to deter attacks by large conventional armies. The theory is that no country that has a lot of troops will attack the United States or one of our close allies as long as that country’s leaders are worried that the United States might respond with a devastating nuclear attack.

The success of the strategy depends on the ability of the Commander-in-Chief to order a nuclear attack on short notice if necessary – and on our adversaries’ knowledge that the Commander-in-Chief has the ability to do it. The president, whoever it is, shouldn’t need to consult a lawyer when confronted with the need to make a quick decision on national security. He should be able to make that decision himself.

To take that authority away wouldn’t make Massachusetts or the rest of the country safer. It would make us less safe.

At the heart of this foolish resolution is a false narrative about President Trump. The idea that Trump is lurching us toward nuclear war is not just wrong, it’s becoming laughable.

His unorthodox and bellicose style to date has produced no foreign wars, but rather diplomatic progress on several fronts, notably in our country’s relations with China and North Korea. What will come of this apparent progress is yet to be seen. But it’s not hard to foresee what would happen if Congress were to tie his hands and make him something less than Commander-in-Chief. Our enemies would be emboldened, and our confidence diminished.

Massachusetts legislators should bury this resolution.