The existential threat of nuclear war

A recent article by Steven Starr reminds us of the existential threat of nuclear war. The risk of nuclear winter and widespread radioactive contamination makes it clear that we must not underestimate the danger some governments pose to children of the world. A danger much greater than that of any terrorist group.

The horrible consequences of the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan after World War II included abandoned children starving to death and genetic damage that could be transmitted through generations. See, for example, Children of the Atomic Bomb by Dr. James N. Yamazaki. However, those two bombs are not much compared to the many and more powerful nuclear weapons in the hands of a number of countries today, where the governments seem both crazy and criminal.

The poor compliance of some countries regarding the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is very worrying. For example, violations have been pointed out both in the past and in a new petition. Note that also western democracies are responsible for these violations. According to the Acronym Institute, NATO retains policies that promote the role of nuclear weapons and undermine the NPT. It is also reported that a few leading NATO countries contributed to collapse of this year’s NPT Review Conference.

Earlier this month, the Swedish television showed The Man Who Saved the World, which can be viewed online until 2015-11-04. The incident depicted in the film is not the only time a nuclear war could have started by accident. In 1962, the US nuclear missile men in Okinawa received a launch order. Luckily, the order was not carried out.