“What are you all thinking?!”

That’s the question Wendy Sherman says she has been asked in her travels around the world since leaving her post as U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs last October. Of course, the subject of the query is Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. And of particular concern is the potential of a President Trump in control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

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“This is not, sort of, entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is reality. And in reality only the President of the United States can take us to nuclear war and launch nuclear weapons,” Sherman told me in the second episode of “Cape Up.” The only way to stop a nuclear strike once one has been authorized by the president, she said, would be if “someone in the chain of command decides they’re not going to obey the orders of the president of the United States.” An illegal act.

Sherman said that Trump’s false accusation that President Obama is the “founder” of the Islamic State “is already damaging United States’s role in the world.” Adding, “It’s almost as if Donald Trump is channeling Vladimir Putin because Putin has held the conspiracy theory … that somehow the United States … has created this horrific, horrendous, barbaric terrorist organization.” As for the damage done by Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country, Sherman was direct.

“It is damaging in many ways because it also damaging to our very values. But even beyond that,” she said. “We rely on majority Muslim countries to work with us to stop [the Islamic State] in the Middle East. To say they can’t come here while at the same time saying we want their help and their assistance is absurd.”

Sherman believes in American power and doesn’t believe the potential for a woman sitting in the Oval Office would diminish it in any way. “I learned a long time ago as a woman diplomat that when I sit at a table, I don’t sit there as Wendy Sherman,” the lead negotiator of the Iran nuclear deal told me. “I don’t sit there as a woman. I don’t sit there as a mother or a grandmother or a Jewish American. I sit there as the United States of America.”

Sherman’s rise to that role explains why she tells young people, “Don’t have a five-year plan or you’ll miss the best opportunities.” The telescoped history of her career would take you from her early days as a social worker to receiving a phone call one Sunday night a quarter century ago that would usher her into the world of diplomacy and national security.

As a result of all those experiences and her current role at the Albright Stonebridge Group, one mutual friend told me that Sherman is equal to male Washington power brokers like Vernon Jordan and Bob Barnett. “Well, I don’t think of myself that way,” she said when I told her this. “There’s Wendy Sherman and then there is Wendy Sherman.”

To find out what she meant by this and what she sees as the other foreign policy challenges facing the next president, listen to the podcast, and subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj