In Which Donald Trump has a Worse Knowledge of Nuclear Politics than the Writers of a Really Bad Sword & Sorcery Film from the Early ’90s

Speaking from experience, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time is one of the worst films ever made. The story is ridiculous, the dialogue is clunky, and the acting is—for the most part—appalling. In short, it’s an awful awful film and I love it. I haven’t had reason to watch it, much less think of it, in years, but this week it was brought to mind in the most unlikely way, when news broke that presidential candidate Donald J. Trump had allegedly repeatedly asked a foreign policy adviser why the US can’t just use its nuclear weapons.*

The first thing to pop into my mind when I heard this story was the obvious answer to that question: the use of nuclear weapons by any nation would run the risk of sparking a nuclear conflict that could decimate life on this planet as we know it.

The second thing to pop into my mind was: “Wait, are you telling me that Donald Trump has less of a grasp on nuclear politics than the screenwriters of Beastmaster 2?”

I mean, I’m well aware of Trump’s general lack of knowledge about… well… most anything, but this is an impressive display of ignorance about the way the world works (and has worked for decades). It’s so impressive that it makes the writing for Beastmaster 2 look intelligent, which. No.

The plot of the film is far too convoluted to get into, but the salient scene involves a discussion of modern nuclear politics between the film’s chief antagonists. The treacherous witch, Lyranna, having won an audience with the vicious warlord, Arklon—look just go with it—tells him about the technological marvels of a parallel world (spoiler alert: earth) that she can transport him to, thereby enabling him to lay claim to advanced weapons that will ensure his reign once and for all. (Don’t worry, though, Dar, the beastmaster, will obviously foil this nefarious plot.) The two discuss the marvels of modern earth in the following exchange:

Arklon: What sorcery is this?
Lyranna: A dimensional portal; the doorway to your ultimate triumph, my lord. A world that exists on a parallel plain with our own.
Arklon: And what do they call this place?
Lyranna: The natives call it “L.A.”
Arklon: Al. Ey.
Lyranna: I have been studying their ways for some time now.
Arklon: Oh, what marvels they possess!
Lyranna: Indeed, and one in particular should interest you. It is housed at one of their military fortresses; their men of science call it a “neutron detonator.” It’s compact enough to carry, yet powerful enough to destroy life in an area the size of a continent.
Arklon: With the threat of such a weapon, I could rule unopposed.
Lyranna: Exactly!
Arklon: Exactly.

Wait for it, though. Here it comes…

Lyranna: Their political structure is based on such weapons. They refer to it as “the balance of terror.”
Arklon: What a brilliantly barbarous concept!

And a pretty easy concept to grasp, right? And yet.

Look, I’m not saying that Trump is less informed than a bunch of B-movie scriptwriters, but Trump is less informed than a bunch of B-movie scriptwriters. And I realize that this won’t disconcert anyone who isn’t already aghast at the idea of a Trump presidency, but I wanted to point it out anyway, because, holy shit, y’all, Donald Trump has less of a grasp on nuclear politics than the screenwriters of Beastmaster-motherfucking-2.

And that’s hilarious.

In a fiddling while Rome burns kind of way.

* I fully expect Trump to deny it, if he comments on the report at all, but since he’s obviously a pathological liar, I’m not inclined to believe any denial that may be forthcoming.


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