A group of 50 experts who have served in various national security positions in Republican administrations have signed a letter stating that they will not be voting for Donald Trump.
The letter, first reported by The New York Times Monday, warns: “We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.”
Its signatories include former CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and Eric Edelman, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser and has worked closely with Michele Flournoy — a candidate for secretary of defense in a prospective Clinton administration — to forge a centrist group of defense experts on key military issues.
It also includes two Homeland Security secretaries under Bush, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and Robert Zoellick, a former World Bank president, U.S. trade representative and deputy secretary of state.
The Trump campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.
Many of the same leaders wrote an open letter in March during the Republican primaries condemning Trump and pledging to oppose his candidacy, at a time when other GOP candidates remained in the race.
The letter acknowledges that many Americans “have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us.”
“But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election,” it says.
In the new letter, the group warns Trump “lacks the temperament to be President.”
Most Trumpkins will disagree with that last statement. Indeed, discerning what kind of “temperament” Trump possesses is guesswork at best.
But they pretty much nail it here:
“He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior,” the letter claims. “All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.”
Richard Nixon employed the “Madman Theory” in his dealings with the Soviets and North Vietnamese. The surprising outcome? It worked:
I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that, “for God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry—and he has his hand on the nuclear button” and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.
In October 1969, the Nixon administration indicated to the Soviet Union that “the madman was loose” when the United States military was ordered to full global war readiness alert (unbeknownst to the majority of the American population), and bombers armed with thermonuclear weapons flew patterns near the Soviet border for three consecutive days.
The administration employed the “madman strategy” to force the North Vietnamese government to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War. Along the same lines, American diplomats, especially Henry Kissinger, portrayed the 1970 incursion into Cambodia as a symptom of Nixon’s supposed instability.
In truth, the Madman Theory takes brinksmanship to an uncomfortable level. Trump would also have to appoint a secretary of state with the balls and the smarts to pull it off. Say what you will about Kissinger, he was a brilliant man who managed foreign policy during the most challenging eras in post war history.
Besides all that, the rest of the world doesn’t have to believe in a theory. They really think that Trump is already a madman, or at least seriously unstable. In that context, Trump is, indeed, a dangerous man who must be stopped.