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Trump nuclear order could be refused – General

A photograph of the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki shows how it exploded 500 metres above ground
Image: A photograph of the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki shows how it exploded 500 metres above ground

If Donald Tump ordered a nuclear strike that was not legal, the top US nuclear commander says he would not carry it out.

US Air Force General John Hyten, who is ultimately responsible for launching a nuclear strike, said in this scenario he would instead present the President with alternative options.

US Air Force General John Hyten, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, at Congress in April 2017
Image: US Air Force General John Hyten, Commander of US Strategic Command, at Congress in April 2017

General Hyten told the Halifax International Security Council: “If it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’

“And we’ll come up with options with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”

General Hyten added that he had discussed the scenario with Mr Trump and that he thought about the scenario often.

“We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?”

Kim Jong Un inspects what is purported to be a nuclear device
Image: Kim Jong Un inspects what is purported to be a nuclear device

According to the US laws of armed conflict, a president must consider necessity, distinction, proportionality and unnecessary suffering before launching any attack.

The comments come amid heightened tensions between the US and North Korea, with inflammatory comments issued from both sides.

Kim Jong Un has repeatedly ignored warnings to cease nuclear tests, prompting Mr Trump to claim the US could “totally destroy” North Korea.

On his recent tour of Asia, Mr Trump, in response to being called an “old lunatic” by Pyongyang, tweeted: “Why would Kim Jong Un insult me by calling me ‘old’, when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat’? Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen!”

President Trump has not publicly commented on General Hyten’s remarks.

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    Far-right party to enter Austrian government

    Heinz-Christian Strache
    Image: The FPO’s Heinz-Christian Strache is tipped to be deputy chancellor

    Austria is set to become the only western European country with a far-right party in government.

    The head of the conservative People’s Party (OVP), Sebastian Kurz, has struck a coalition deal with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO).

    The FPO will take charge of the foreign, interior and defence ministries, among others, while its leader, 48-year-old Heinz-Christian Strache, will be deputy chancellor.

    Mr Kurz, 31, will be the youngest leader in Europe. His OVP will run ministries including finance and justice.

    When the OVP won Austria’s election on 15 October it did so with a hard line on immigration – a policy which often overlapped with that of the FPO.

    The FPO was third, taking 26% of the vote.

    “Nobody has anything to fear,” said the FPO’s secretary general and Austria’s next interior minister, Herbert Kickl.

    Sebastian Kurz
    Image: Sebastian Kurz says he wants to increase security and combat illegal immigraton

    Mr Kurz held a joint news conference with Mr Strache and told reporters: “Our aims are quite clear.

    “We want to ease the tax burden for people, we want to strengthen our economy, which will bolster our social system.”

    Mr Kurz, known as ‘wunderwuzzi’ or ‘whizz-kid’, added: “And first and foremost we want to increase security in our country, including by combating illegal immigration.”

    While Mr Kurz has said his administration will be pro-European, both he and Mr Strache have expressed doubts about further social integration.

    Sebastian Kurz
    Image: Mr Kurz, 31, is Europe’s youngest leader

    The two men presented their agreement to Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, a former Greens leader who narrowly beat the FPO in a presidential vote in 2015.

    Mr Van der Bellen, who has the right to reject ministers, has said a new government could be sworn in early next week if everything went to plan.

    Following their meeting, Mr Van der Bellen said they had agreed it was in Austria’s “national interest” to remain at the “centre of a strong European Union”.

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    The FPO’s success mirrors that of similar parties across Europe. Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party is now the second-largest in the Netherlands, the Front National in France was involved in a run-off for the presidency in May and representatives from Germany’s AfD have entered the Bundestag.

    When the FPO was last in government, under the late Joerg Haider, other EU countries imposed sanctions on Vienna in protest.

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