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HONG KONG — President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, traded threats this week about the size, location and potency of their “nuclear buttons.”

The image of a leader with a finger on a button — a trigger capable of launching a world-ending strike — has for decades symbolized the speed with which a nuclear weapon could be launched, and the unchecked power of the person doing the pushing.

There is only one problem: There is no button.

The ‘Nuclear Button’ Explained: For Starters, There’s No Button

The image of a leader being able to launch missiles with the push of one finger has, for decades, instilled fear.


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