I was born in 1940 when World War II was in full swing. On the night of my birth, Bradford, a town just 6 miles away from our small town, suffered its heaviest bombing raid allowing me to claim that I came into the world with a bang! The Nuclear Age started just five years later with the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that led to 200000 deaths. Since then the power of nuclear weapons has vastly increased and these weapons have proliferated despite international attempts to limit them such as the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty signed in 1968. The United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom signed the treaty, which limits the spread of military nuclear technology by the recognised nuclear-weapon states – U.S., U.S.S.R., U.K., France and China – to non-nuclear nations wishing to build or acquire atomic weapons.
Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea are now nuclear military powers and, although the threat to Spaceship Earth of nuclear annihilation has lost first place in the public debate to threats such as climate change, sea level rise, terrorism and a new Cold War, the nuclear threat remains ever-present as this link ‘Ten worst acts of the nuclear age’ reminds us:
Even the 23 June 2016 Brexit vote and the disintegration it may produce would pale to insignificance if this particular nuclear genie were, again, to be released from the proverbial bottle.
This section of case4all.org contains updates on this continuing threat. Perhaps the greatest concern is North Korea which is busy testing nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them as this BBC article from 09.07.2016 tells us.
This article by Richard Heinberg in August 2016 – “So you can’t handle the truth” – does little to lift the gloom about the possible collapse of global systems, as he reflects on current events in the US.
This broadcast discusses the possible end of civilisation as we know it and how imminent this might be.
This article “Only 10 Countries in the World are not Currently at War” outlines the huge cost of human conflict: As the world descends into a far less peaceful state overall, the staggering cost of militarism and violence becomes painfully clear — 13.3 percent of the globe’s total economic activity, $13.6 trillion in purchasing power parity, concerned violent conflict. That’s the equivalent of “$1,876 for every person in the world.”
In December 2016 John Pilger launched a new film which he describes in this article “The Coming War on China”. He sees a considerable threat of nuclear conflict resulting from Donald Trump’s presidency and the build up of military capacity in the region: “I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China. The great danger this beckons is not news, or it is news buried and distorted: a drumbeat of propaganda that echoes the psychopathic campaign embedded in public consciousness during much of the 20th century. Like the renewal of post-Soviet Russia, the rise of China as an economic power is declared an ‘existential threat’ to the divine right of the United States to rule and dominate human affairs.
This article from The Conversation (09.12.16) reviews the state of the Nuclear Age, central to th Anthropocene Era, in which there are 9 nations with nuclear weapons and the effects of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters live on, affecting large numbers of displaced people. It raises questions about the impact of Trump’s presidency and also the UK’s decisons on Trident and Hinckley Point.