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Opinion

Memo to President Trump: Avoiding nuclear war is a good thing

To the editor: Judging by his efforts to undermine Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s attempt to ease tensions with North Korea, President Trump appears not to understand the consequences of nuclear war. (“Trump undercuts Tillerson with every tweet,” Opinion, Oct. 4)

The facts are clear. We can look at what happened at Chernobyl to understand the perils of nuclear fallout.

The 1986 nuclear power plant meltdown and explosion in Ukraine released 400 times more radioactive fallout than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Fifty thousand people in a city two miles from the reactor site that provided services and personnel had to be evacuated. The fallout from the explosion spread over Europe, causing widespread contamination to land and livestock.

In 1986, the Soviets hastily built a concrete structure to contain the site’s radiation. The “sarcophagus” was projected to last no more than 30 years, and a new “mega-tomb” costing about $2 billion is currently under construction. The area around Chernobyl will not be habitable for up to another 20,000 years.

The U.S. faces the gravest threat to its existence since the Cuban missile crises in 1962. Provoking North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is precisely the wrong approach.

Tom Pincu, Los Angeles

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To the editor: It now would appear that Trump is, in many ways, the real “Rocket Man” in this scenario. His mercurial, wholly unfettered and untethered tweeting continues to expose his total lack of understanding of the word “diplomacy.”

Michael D. Leventhal, Rancho Mirage

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