Dawn of a new Armageddon

The world has entered an unimaginably deadly new arms race, with no rules of the road and no scheduled arms control talks for these new weapons systems. In three years, New START, the US-Russia agreement that limits nuclear arsenals, is set to lapse, removing the last agreed restraint on arsenal sizes…

It is not an alarmist exaggeration to state it baldly: We are in a new, unchecked arms race with Russia, built on terrifying new technologies, new lethal weapons of mass destruction in what veteran Russia analyst Robert Legvold called in our interview with him, “a multipolar nuclear world that is slowly spinning out of control.” To add to the danger, our command and control is not invulnerable to a terrorist cyberattack. While experts say such a cyber hack is a very low probability, if a hack were successful, the consequences could be apocalyptic. And the hacking threat is compounded by the danger that insiders might assist terrorist groups or engage in sabotage. A Russian colleague told us last year that ISIS has been trying to recruit Russian hackers, and some have gone missing…

It’s hard to fathom that the world was safer during the Cold War, when the United States and the Soviet Union threatened each other with 60,000 nuclear weapons. But perhaps it was. Back then there were only two leaders with nuclear suitcases, who, it was presumed, under conditions of mutually assured destruction, would be rational. Neither leader would intentionally launch first, neither leader would intentionally commit nuclear suicide. Now there are nine nuclear powers, not just one or two …

[Former Defense Secretary William] Perry says the likelihood of a nuclear weapon being fired in anger is greater now than at any time, even during peak crisis moments in the Cold War. Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, warns that nuclear catastrophe today “is only one impulsive tantrum away.”…

Our luck held, this time. Still, I think a nuclear catastrophe is just a matter of time if we don’t act. I want the rest of the country to pay attention to what Hawaii has just experienced. This threat of nuclear attack is not a scenario, not a video game. Here this morning we experienced it personally, felt the terror. Now it is in my gut. I want our leaders to experience that same visceral awareness of how our lives – our lives – are at stake…

Can the journalist community step back from the hypnotic, millisecond-long news cycle to awaken us to the escalating nuclear danger that could blow everything and everyone we know out of our minds in an instant? Is there anyone in Hollywood up to taking on the nuclear reality of 2018?…

But our lives are at stake today. This year the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to just two minutes to midnight, to total darkness—the closest it’s ever been. Veteran nuclear war planner turned activist Daniel Ellsberg says that if we don’t get rid of what he calls the US-Russia “Doomsday Machine,” the chance of “getting through another century is small. We are living on borrowed time.”…

As a member of the human race, as a mother, I embrace the vision—of Reagan, Gorbachev, and ICAN—of a world without nuclear weapons. But making the world safe from nuclear weapons is a problem from hell. We cannot uninvent the knowledge of how to make them. If we abolish nuclear weapons, many warn, a rogue state or terrorist group could create its own nukes and take the world hostage. There are no easy ways out of the nuclear mess we are in.

Read The Full Article At Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists