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LETTERS

A problem that will persist: a president’s finger hovering over the nuclear button

A US military aide, left, carried the "president's emergency satchel," also know as "the football," with the nuclear launch codes, as President Trump, in his final days in office, walked to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 12.
A US military aide, left, carried the "president's emergency satchel," also know as "the football," with the nuclear launch codes, as President Trump, in his final days in office, walked to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 12.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

In “The end of nukes” (Ideas, Jan. 17), Ira Helfand and Nate Goldshlag make a compelling case for the United States to take a leadership role in addressing the existential threat nuclear weapons pose.

The authors mention the former defense secretary, William Perry, but not the thesis of “The Button,” a 2020 book he coauthored. Perry proposes taking away the president’s power to launch nukes unilaterally so that one individual cannot end civilization.

This problem persists even with a more rational leader in the White House. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts should pursue this policy change early on in the Biden administration.

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Mark S. Sternman

Somerville