Fear makes the world bigger and more complex than it really is. There are many fear factors for many different agendas but I only want to focus on nuclear for this article with a touch of current campaign politics. Fear is always about the “what if’s?” for any agenda but has been most effective with everything nuclear. That is because nuclear has been associated with ‘bad’ when in fact nuclear is actually very ‘good’ for humanity. Unfortunately a perception was set ages ago and it is very hard to change.
The strategy that Hillary Clinton has decided to use in her campaign is the ‘what if’ nuclear fear factor. Donald Trump has limited foreign policy experience and is a complete unknown as to how he will deal with issues. Hillary on the other hand, has a well documented failure in foreign policy and plans to continue it. What I do know about Trump is he will take the issues head on immediately and not wait for others to set a judgment based on what is politically correct. In Trump’s vision, it will always be America first in peace and prosperity. I trust him with the nuclear codes.
When we look at the perception of fear we can break it down into a few categories. The first, of course, is the ‘what if’ story. For example, the news about nuclear power was not that something bad had happened, but that it almost happened, or that it could happen or something terrible is going to happen. Usually, news stories are about something that did happen. But hey, a little sensationalism sells better. It is sad how ignorant our media reporters really are about nuclear and they feed this misinformation to the public and create anxiety.
Hillary Clinton can be documented as something that has been. In her 50 years of politics from collage to present, she has a long list of accomplishments, whether good or bad. The ‘what if’ story does not work on her because she is so predicable based on her extensive government history. She is an open book, except for a few e-mails. Most people have very little detail knowledge of her character behind closed doors according ex-Secret Service personal. There is a reason this service is secret.
The same is true for the nuclear power industry. It too is an open book that no one seems to read. Maybe nuclear science should be an isolated policy issue in the campaign debates so everyone can focus on it a little. Nuclear is a lot more than the threat of weaponry. It is the energy to power future societies.
Being able to anticipate dangers is very important. What’s most important is to have the fear be realistic; that the fear fits the facts of the risk. Nuclear power is a phenomenally successful industry in terms of its safety record, not only for the public, but also for the people who work within the energy and medical industries. Yet still after 60 years, a large segment of society fears nuclear power for no valid technical reason. It is purely a psychological fear that was inherited from the old days before nuclear was fully understood.
Unfortunately, politics is not as clear cut as science. There is no logical reason for Trump to have his finger on the nuclear war button. A statement like that from Hillary is pure hyper-fear in its worst reference. We live in a global society with mostly sensible people, even politicians. What’s unique about Trump is that he has this innate ability to anticipate and see the bigger picture. He did that with architecture and he looks at politics the same way. In fact, his campaign has been like watching the construction of a high rise and when problems occur (whether by him or others), they are addressed immediately, such as reconciling with Gov. Martinez.
Nuclear is actually a symbol of peace, a deterrent to all out war. “Atoms for Peace” was the title of a speech delivered by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) to the UN General Assembly back in 1953. The United States then launched an “Atoms for Peace” program that supplied equipment and information to schools, hospitals, and research institutions within the U.S. and throughout the world, including Iran.
Eisenhower’s speech opened a media campaign that was aimed at “emotion management”, balancing fears of continuing nuclear armament with promises of peaceful use of uranium in future nuclear reactors. That program was actually very successful because only a few nations pursued nuclear bombs when many nations could have. Of the 195 nations in the world, only 9 have nuclear weapons (I included Israel). The one notable exception is Iran. Atoms for Peace laid the foundation for Iran’s nuclear program beginning in 1957 before their last revolution. Consequences!
The US, Russia and China all have the nuclear triad (its okay Trump, I didn’t know that either) and are capable of destroying civilization as we know it today. I say that not to create fear but to emphasize the importance of open dialogue between these nations. Trump has already expressed his willingness to work with Russia and China and it does not include threats of having his finger on the button. For Clinton to keep spreading this fear is not a healthy campaign slogan.
This 2016 general election is coming down to which you fear most: the teleprompter, the free speaker, or the wacky dude. I personally don’t fear any of them.