By Molly Rush
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock annually predicts the likelihood of nuclear war. This year the clock has been moved to an unprecedented 100 seconds to midnight. Here is their statement:
“Humanity faces two simultaneous existential disasters–nuclear war and climate change–that are compounded by a threat of a multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond.
“The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode.
“In the nuclear realm, national leaders have ended or undermined several major arms control treaties and negotiations during the last year, creating an environment conducive to a renewed arms race, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and to lowered barriers to nuclear war.
Political conflicts regarding nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea remain unresolved and are, if anything worsening. US-Russia cooperation in arms control and disarmament is all but nonexistent. “
They go on to say that countries of the world should publicly rededicate themselves to the Paris Climate Agreement temperature goal, which is restricting warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.
International leaders, including members of The Elders (a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights, founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela) have joined in support, stating, “We ask world leaders to join us in 2020 to pull humanity back from the brink”.
They also call for norms that would discourage and penalize the misuse of science. And they point to the need to focus attention on cyber warfare as a threat to the common good.
Deception undermines public trust in government and the media: campaigns and leaders who blur the line between fact, such as climate change, and politically motivated fantasy threaten effective democracies.
One can only conclude that President Trump is the prime example of this kind of destructive behavior.
He not only walked away from the Iran and Paris agreements. His impulsive action in the assassination of Suleimanei in Iran without consulting his national security advisors, to their consternation, stokes a widespread fear of war. He’s denied the reality of climate change, ignoring the near-total consensus of scientists.
He spoke cavalierly about using nuclear bombs. Now he is calling for the development of “small” nuclear weapons, smaller than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. They destroyed those cities and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, injuring and irradiating many thousands more.
In the 1970s, two victims of the Hiroshima bombing were on a peace tour and visited the Merton Center. They still carried scars of the burns they received. They described their horrific experience. Then, they presented us with origami paper peace cranes.
It was an unforgettable experience. Istill treasure a replica made by our good Quaker friend Eliza Critchlow.
The Doomsday Clock is a call to action to oppose Trump’s small, more “usable” bombs and his proposed bloated military budget. (Pentagon bookkeepers have already “lost” $ $2 trillion.)
“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.”
– General Omar Bradley.
“Every gun that is made. every warship launched and every rocket fired, is in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Molly Rush is the founder of the Thomas Merton Center and member of the Editorial Collective.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 2. March, 2020. All rights reserved.