The global Women’s March left millions of people inspired to get involved, donate, participate in politics, etc., to fight for the preservation of progress in social, economic and environmental justice. And while it’s abundantly clear that the call to respect existence was the main theme, the conversation about a pending violent worldwide catastrophe was mostly silent, that being on nuclear war. While most people resist the idea that it is in fact “that bad,” there are warning signs that things may be headed in a very dangerous direction.
In December, then-President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. must greatly expand and strengthen its nuclear capability with regard to nukes. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in a defense speech, also in December, that Russia needed to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” In North Korea, according to South Korea’s acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn just this week, “[North Korea’s] nuclear and missile capabilities are developing at an unprecedented pace. They are a real and obvious threat. They are also miniaturising nuclear weapons.”
Today, Jan. 26, the Doomsday Clock will be updated by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and the outlook is not good. For the last two years, the clock has been stuck at three minutes to midnight:
2016: “Last year (2015), the Science and Security Board moved the Doomsday Clock forward to three minutes to midnight, noting: ‘The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.’ That probability has not been reduced. The Clock ticks. Global danger looms. Wise leaders should act — immediately.”
2015: “Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth.”
Over the last 70 years only once did the clock hit two minutes to midnight:
1953: The United States decides to pursue the hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any atomic bomb. In October 1952, the United States tests its first thermonuclear device, obliterating a Pacific Ocean islet in the process; nine months later, the Soviets test an H-bomb of their own. “The hands of the Clock of Doom have moved again. Only a few more swings of the pendulum, and, from Moscow to Chicago, atomic explosions will strike midnight for Western civilization.”
With this looming threat, billionaires in the Silicon Valley are preparing for such a global catastrophe, coined survivalists, taking all of this seriously. And so are many others, including one woman on an Amtrak train on Saturday, Jan. 21, on her way back to Santa Barbara from the Los Angeles march. Though everyone was fired up about peaceful existence, the only thing on her mind seemed to be existence in general. Bright-eyed and fully concerned, it brought about real angst over what so many may have been missing all along.
With just a handful hotheaded, unpredictable and easily offended leaders at the universal helm, it seems as though now is a critical time to pay attention to this nuclear arms race and demand that our legislators resist proliferation. Now is not the time for apathy.
To see the results of the change of the Doomsday Clock, go to http://thebulletin.org.