A World Without Nukes -3 (What’s Obvious)

Posted: March 25, 2010 in advocacy, change, nuclear disarmament, Two Futures Project

It been a while since I articulated a theological perspective regarding why I advocate a world without nuclear weapons. I’m not going to do that now, either – at least not a purely theological perspective – but I will attempt to articulate the most common and palpable reason we should all work together toward this goal. Here goes…Nuclear Weapons Are Not Safe!

When a nuclear weapon is detonated, it is unlikely that a nation-state will have lit the fuse. This is contrary to the commonly held belief that nuclear weapons make us safer. There was, however, a time when this thinking was true: The Cold War era. The fear of mutually assured destruction (MAD) served to dissuade any country from using nuclear weapon. Mad was the logic of deterrence. It worked for the Cold War. But the Cold War is thankfully over.

Add to that the fact that the logic no longer works that Osama Bin Laden and his al qaeda network have stated as their express goal the murder of 4 millions Americans. This, my friends, will not happen on an airliner over the Atlantic. What I mean is this: The greatest threat for nuclear attack is not from a nation, regardless of how rogue it is. The greatest threat is from terrorists. The existence of nuclear weapons once made us safer, now they do not.

We cannot forget that terrorists networks have been attempting to steal, buy and/or build a nuclear weapon for over a decade. This fact is made all the more unsettling when we come face-to-face with the number of nuclear warheads that have been lost or misplaced. The most sobering fact about contemporary life may be that Russia, without its Cold War army and infrastructure, has become the nuclear Craigslist for madmen high on destruction and low on conscience. Crazily enough, these nuclear weapons are walking out the back door of Russia under master plans only slightly more sophisticated than a 16 year-old girl sneaking out her bedroom window after curfew.

Without going into the gory details, let me say this: When a nuclear weapon goes off, regardless of where it is in the world, everything else everywhere else shuts down. Millions dead in an instant, millions more die from the literal meltdown of organs and tissue, the global food supply line collapses, environmental carnage happens in both an instant and throughout the next decades and this is only the beginning. One bomb means everybody loses! There is no location in the world where a bomb can detonate that does not unleash death on us all. As my friend Tyler says, “Would we celebrate a tumor on the liver because we believe it to more responsible than the brain?”

If that’s not enough for you, consider what would happen in our world should one bomb be detonated in a major city like Los Angeles and the group claiming responsibility were to threaten another detonation should their demands not be met. What would we do then?

I’m not a slippery sloper, but I cannot escape the simple fact that nothing in our world has ever been made yet never used. Someone will use a nuclear weapon someday. It is, IMHO, an inevitability. For that reason, the world needs a strong, intrusively verifiable, and punitive system to reduce and eventually destroy all nuclear weapons. Thankfully, it can be done. We can implement system to ensure that new weapons are not created. Hopefully, this little fact will keep us from killing ourselves.

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