It’s as if the entire administration has accepted the inevitability of an otherwise optional war. If you want an analogy, consider the way George W. Bush’s administration maintained the pretext of being open to negotiations with Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein until it launched its preordained invasion and the first bombs and cruise missiles began to hit Baghdad on March 20, 2003.

* Trump wants to rule by command. The niceties of the Constitution, the law, and the doctrine of the separation of powers have made this harder than he thought. So far, his attempts to run the country by executive order have largely failed, with his “third one’s the charm” Muslim ban once again stalledin the courts. Even his latest move to dismantle Obamacare by ending federal premium subsidies won’t take immediate effect. Indeed, it already faces legal challenges from at least 18 states.

He’s frustrated. Why can’t he just wave a hand, like Jean-Luc Picard, commander of the Starship Enterprise, and order his underlings to “make it so”?

As it happens, there is one realm in which the Constitution, the legal system, and Congress make no difference, one realm where he can do exactly that. He, and he alone, has the power to order a nuclear strike. The more that what remains of law and custom can still prevent him from ruling by fiat elsewhere, the more likely he may be, as Senator Bob Corker has warned us, to put the world “on the path to World War III” and to the first use of such weapons since August 9, 1945.

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