With regard to the danger of highly irrational decisions being made eye by mentally compromised people, we in the UK were threatened with nuclear catastrophe, by one of “Putin’s people” for supporting the Ukrainians. They threatened to fire a nuclear missile at the sea, thus causing a “radioactive tsunami” to sweep over the country killing us all. Whether it would even be possible to do this, I cannot say, but I can imagine action film producers laughing me out of Hollywood, if I presented it as a plot idea. One really couldn’t make it up.

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Dr Lee, we don't know the secrets of chain of command of Nuclear weapons in certain countries but it's reasonable to assume that risk of Nuclear launch is more in countries run by authoritarian leaders ruled by despots which are surrounded by clique of small number of elites and sycophants. If the authoritarian leader (like Kim Jong, Modi, Putin etc) are mentally unfit, then they are more likely to take highly irrational & dangerous decisions. For e.g Putin's decision to start Ukraine war. Several high rank officers in Russian establishment were highly skeptical of the success but they were too afraid to confront Putin. And so Putin took reckless decision in his own foolishness & arrogance.

Nuclear weapons of US and Europe are relatively in safer hands because these countries have significant checks and balances in Govt as well as military. Even if some madman like Trump ( or Greg Stillson) gets to power, there will be Generals like Mark Milley who will have moral intellect and courage to refuse any illegal & dangerous orders. Also the checks and balances in healthy Democratic nations constraints authoritarians (if they somehow get to power) of their omnipotent ambitions.

The dangers of Nuclear war have many dimensions - Nuclear proliferation or terrorism, major war between superpowers etc. But i myself see the risk of Nuclear war from unstable & mentally unfit leaders like Putin & Modi as more prominent. Take example of some like Modi who has already killed thousands of Muslims and minorities in India. This man is a mass murderer who clearly demonstrates complete lack of empathy. The rule of thumb should be that politicians who have already committed mass murder should never be allowed to reach the top echelons of power.

Another problem is that while US may create a mechanism for psychological examination for fitness of commander on chief but it's not possible to make similar mechanism for other Nuclear states specially the authoritarian ones where there are no checks and balances.

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Let us also hope and pray the current Iranian regime never get their hands on a single nuclear weapon.

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