Ask This General

Brigadier General Peter B. Zwack {Ret.}

Donald Trump is No Jack Kennedy. Or Khrushchev.

The president lacks the experience, character, credibility, and confidence to navigate our country through a Cuban Missile Crisis. We need Joe Biden.

The world teetered on the brink of nuclear catastrophe 58 years ago this month. The 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis in late October 1962 tested the maturity and wisdom of the nuclear-armed United States and Soviet Union at a time when mutual distrust and suspicion ruled the day.

One of us was a boy in Miami then and still has strong memories of how close we came to nuclear war. What ultimately saved us all was a deep appreciation by President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the unthinkable carnage that would be caused by a nuclear exchange. Both men served in World War II and witnessed first-hand the horrors of war; neither man took lightly his responsibility to safeguard humanity from annihilation.

President Donald Trump has proven during his tumultuous first term that he does not have the background, character, credibility, or confidence in him to navigate our country through a similar existential crisis. He should not be reelected on November 3.

Our concerns have only deepened as Trump continues to mishandle the COVID-19 crisis and much else. The president’s decision-making is mercurial, unpredictable, and ultimately driven more by transactional calculations than by serious concern about the pandemic and the public good. Based on what we have witnessed for the last four years, the odds are slim that Trump will respond with calm and clear thinking to a fast-breaking international crisis.