August 6th, 2016 marks the 71st anniversary of the day the United States became the first and only nation in history to use an atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, a second nuclear weapon — this time a more powerful hydrogen bomb — was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Hundreds of thousands of people were extinguished within minutes. Seventy one years later we find ourselves in the midst of a presidential election and political crossroads that will have serious consequences — not the least of which is nuclear. The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has repeatedly said, using nuclear weapons is a real option for solving difficult political situations. In fact, he has asked military Generals why they have not been used more often. This election is a litmus test for Americans and nothing could be more important than how our next president reacts under pressure with respect to nuclear weapons.

As commander in chief, the president has ultimate and unbounded authority over the use of nuclear weapons. There is no veto power, no second opinion and there’s no turning back once the nuclear option is executed. Since 1945, when president Truman dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan in order to shorten the war, no other world leader has used these ultimate weapons of mass destruction. The president has the ultimate power to employ nuclear weapons, kill mass numbers of people and destroy life as we know it. We are now faced with our real nuclear option. Unless we make the right choice in November, a narcissistic and irrational, Donald Trump could be making the nuclear decision alone and on our behalf.

So let us consider the nuclear know-how of the Republican presidential nominee. It seems Mr. Trump has known everything there is to know about nuclear weapons for years. In 1984 as a 38-year-old real estate developer he said, “It would take an hour and a half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles. I think I know most of it anyway” 1 Thirty-two years should have been more than enough time to polish his expertise in the field. Trump has said he would seriously consider using “nukes”. Given Trump’s, history of shooting from the hip, pun intended, he is not qualified, rational or responsible enough to be “the decider” when it comes to the nuclear option. There is an abundance of material that should convince Americans that Mr. Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons or our future.

In an interview with MSNBC in March of this year, when Chris Matthews referred to Trump not taking nukes off the table, Mr. Trump questioned, “somebody hits us within ISIS, you wouldn’t fight back with a nuke?”2 In the same interview, Trump refused to say he would never use a nuclear weapon in Europe2. In a separate interview, he was quoted saying, “Europe is a big place, I’m not going to take my cards off the table3” in reference to using nuclear weapons in a continent that is home to some our closest allies.

It was recently reported that Mr. Trump met with a foreign policy adviser and asked on three different instances why if we have nuclear weapons, why we cannot use them?4 Other foreign policy experts who have discussed nuclear strategy with Trump have said he lacks knowledge of the history of deterrence, and seems more interested in whether the US should ever use its nuclear arsenal5. Trump has also said that he has no problem with the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia5. Equally alarming is the fact that Mr. Trump has said he wants to be unpredictable with his use of nuclear weapons6.

Mr. Trump’s remarks are almost as disturbing as his uncontrolled impulses and that’s a scary combination for a leader with access to the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Trump’s aggressive and retaliatory tendencies, demonstrated throughout his pursuit of power, are enough proof that he is unfit to have access to the nuclear codes. His recent public criticism of the Gold Star parents of Humayun Khan epitomizes his lack of reason and predisposition to retaliate against anyone who may disparage his oversensitive ego. The author of his biography went so far as to say, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets nuclear codes, there is an excellent chance it will lead to the end of civilization,” and a former director of the CIA said he is very, very concerned because of how erratic Mr. Trump is7. Perhaps no one said it better than Hillary Clinton who contended, “a man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons”1.

So herein lies the real nuclear threat for Americans. If we elect Donald Trump the likelihood of nuclear war will be dramatically increased and it will be on us. So make your choice with your eyes wide open to the nuclear threat posed by Donald Trump. Mark your ballots accordingly, because similar to the president’s power to use them, the effects of nuclear weapons are complete and unforgiving.