To the editor:

Many of us are extremely nervous about the potential actions of our new president-to-be. With respect to climate change, affordable health care, high- quality public education, economic disparity and many other issues, we are waiting with great anxiety to see what will happen.

Another issue for grim reflection has to do with our next president's thoughts about nuclear weapons.

While I applaud President Obama's efforts to reduce the nuclear stockpiles that imperil life on our planet, I fail to understand why his administration not long ago approved spending roughly a trillion more dollars over the next 30 years on further development of ever more sophisticated nuclear weapons and delivery systems. This makes no sense at all.

Now we have a president-elect who during the pre-election debates seemed to think that if we have nuclear weapons we should be able to use them. He seemed also to be unaware of our nuclear triad. i.e. our ability to deliver nuclear weapons on targets using planes, submarines and ground-launched missiles. He further has speculated that other countries such as Japan and South Korea should also acquire such weapons.

The accidents and close calls from suspected attacks between us and the old Soviet Union suggest that simply having these horrendous weapons in abundance around the planet is not a sane response to fear between nations.

According to my American Heritage dictionary, one of the legal definitions of insanity is: "... a degree of mental malfunctioning sufficient to prevent the accused from knowing right from wrong in the act he is charged with or to render him unaware of the nature of the act when committing it." I therefore conclude that one who would launch potentially civilization-destroying weapons against an another nation fully ready to retaliate, is performing an act of insanity.

Readers who share this concern may wish to click on the following website, where a petition highly relevant to this concern is available:

Donald Lathrop,

Canaan, N.Y.