"Facts are stubborn things."
So says Lawrence Krauss of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. This group an admittedly gimmicky "doomsday clock" to point out how close we are to a dangerous cataclysmic event here on planet Earth.
Until recently, the doomsday clock was primarily a tool for warning about nuclear weapons and the chance of a nuclear holocaust brought on by those weapons. But these days the danger of climate change and other global pandemics also come into play.
And Donald Trump is not making the world safer.
In their report (pdf) the Atomic Scientists do not mince words:
The Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has decided to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to catastrophe. It is now two minutes and 30 seconds to midnight.
The board’s decision to move the clock less than a full minute—something it has never before done— reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days. Many of his cabinet nominations are not yet confirmed by the Senate or installed in government, and he has had little time to take official action.
Just the same, words matter, and President Trump has had plenty to say over the last year. Both his statements and his actions as president-elect have broken with historical precedent in unsettling ways. He has made ill-considered comments about expanding the US nuclear arsenal. He has shown a troubling propensity to discount or outright reject expert advice related to international security, including the conclusions of intelligence experts. And his nominees to head the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency dispute the basics of climate science.
In short, even though he has just now taken office, the president’s intemperate statements, lack of openness to expert advice, and questionable cabinet nominations have already made a bad international security situation worse.