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Nobel laureate: There is one way to prevent nuclear war

In awarding this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Nobel committ...

Posted: Dec 10, 2017 10:58 AM
Updated: Dec 10, 2017 10:58 AM

In awarding this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Nobel committee has chosen to shine a powerful light on the grave and growing danger of nuclear war and illuminate the path we must follow to avoid that ultimate calamity.

The crisis in Korea poses the most immediate and visible threat of nuclear conflict -- but it is not the only potential flashpoint. There is low-level fighting, with small arms and occasional artillery fire, almost every day between India and Pakistan, across the line of demarcation in Kashmir, and the military doctrines of both countries could lead to the early use of nuclear weapons if that fighting escalates into full-scale war.

Relations between the United States and Russia, and the US and China are the worst they have been in decades. The danger of nuclear conflict among the major powers, once thought to be a relic of the Cold War, is again a real possibility that cannot be discounted.

All of these geopolitical rivalries will worsen as climate change progresses, making the world less able to sustain its population and triggering mass migrations on a scale that dwarfs the current refugee crisis.

Add to these dangers the ascension of Donald Trump, a man felt by leaders of his own party to lack the temperament, judgment and knowledge to command a nuclear arsenal, but who now controls 6,800 of these weapons.

This growing danger of nuclear war comes at a time of increased understanding about how devastating nuclear war would be. The use of just 300 of the 7,000 warheads in the Russian arsenal against urban targets in the United States would kill more than 75 million people in the first half hour, and destroy the entire economic infrastructure on which the rest of the population relies to sustain themselves.

Based on a study from 2007, a full-scale war between the United States and Russia would put enough soot into the upper atmosphere to create a worldwide nuclear winter, dropping temperatures to levels not seen since the last ice age.

This new, instant ice age would stop most food production on the planet. The vast majority of humanity would starve, and we might become extinct as a species. But it is not just an all-out nuclear war between the United States and Russia that threatens humanity. Even a limited war, as might take place between India and Pakistan, would cause enough climate disruption to trigger a global famine that would put some 2 billion people at risk.

So, what is to be done?

For decades the United States and other nuclear powers have argued that deterrence, the possession of large nuclear arsenals, is the best way to guarantee that these weapons will never be used. They have signaled their intention to maintain these arsenals with plans to spend trillions of dollars -- $1.2 trillion and counting, in the case of the United States alone -- enhancing their nuclear weapons. But the historical record does not support their assurances the weapons will never be used.

The United States has used nuclear weapons twice and has threatened to use them again on multiple occasions, even against countries that do not possess nuclear weapons. As a matter of policy, it refuses to rule out a first use of these weapons in future conflicts.

Further there have been at least seven near misses, occasions when either Moscow or Washington abandoned deterrence and began the process of launching their nuclear weapons in the mistaken belief that the other side had already done so. On each of these occasions the world survived, not because of wise policy, but because, "We lucked out," as former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara famously observed.

The current policy of the United States and the other nuclear armed states is essentially a hope for continued good luck.

All nine nuclear-weapons states need to acknowledge the insanely dangerous situation they have created and commit to a fundamental change in their nuclear policy, one based not on deterrence, but on the active pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons.

This is the path chosen by the majority of the nations of the world on July 7 when they voted 122-1 to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Unwilling to remain forever hostage to the arsenals of the nuclear armed states, these nations, with the strong support of civil society, called for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons.

The United States and the other nuclear weapons states should embrace this treaty and begin to negotiate the detailed timeline, and verification and enforcement measures for the elimination of their nuclear arsenals so they can come into compliance with it. This process will not be easy, but there is no alternative.

Opponents of disarmament like to dismiss calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons as unrealistic. But the real escape from reality is the belief that we can possess thousands of nuclear weapons forever, that our luck will never run out and they will never be used. This kind of magical thinking belongs in children's books. In the real world, our children deserve better.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
Vanderburgh22099394
Tippecanoe21927213
Porter17987301
Johnson17571374
Hendricks16854310
Clark12715190
Madison12367337
Vigo12240244
Monroe11510166
LaPorte11204204
Delaware10382184
Howard9698211
Kosciusko9165114
Hancock8014139
Bartholomew7913155
Warrick7702155
Floyd7568176
Wayne6917198
Grant6855171
Boone6568100
Morgan6414138
Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
Shelby481395
Lawrence4349118
Gibson429589
Harrison429171
Clinton420953
Montgomery418986
DeKalb413284
Whitley382239
Huntington379780
Miami373365
Knox367189
Steuben367157
Putnam353460
Jasper352546
Wabash348178
Adams338253
Ripley335469
Jefferson318080
White308854
Daviess289999
Wells286881
Decatur279592
Fayette277362
Greene271085
Posey269533
Scott261553
Clay255445
LaGrange255470
Randolph236080
Washington231631
Spencer228131
Jennings225448
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Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
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Franklin166035
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Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
Pulaski114345
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97413
Martin83115
Warren80215
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1058395

Reported Deaths: 19033
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1229981360
Cuyahoga1080042072
Hamilton785031170
Montgomery50326998
Summit45710915
Lucas40568768
Butler37858572
Stark31586896
Lorain24333473
Warren23964293
Mahoning21029584
Lake20143365
Clermont19480229
Delaware18162130
Licking16185207
Fairfield15796197
Trumbull15666461
Medina14961259
Greene14765236
Clark13697293
Wood12828185
Portage12481196
Allen11374229
Richland11102198
Miami10568214
Muskingum8729127
Wayne8619209
Columbiana8589226
Pickaway8454121
Marion8409135
Tuscarawas8393240
Erie7644154
Hancock6746124
Ross6727146
Ashtabula6563166
Geauga6563146
Scioto6314101
Belmont5657159
Union560247
Lawrence5483102
Jefferson5372149
Huron5333114
Darke5285121
Sandusky5208120
Seneca5163120
Washington5095108
Athens509256
Auglaize477683
Mercer473785
Shelby458092
Knox4418108
Madison426559
Putnam423199
Ashland414488
Fulton411667
Defiance405596
Crawford3894102
Brown387755
Logan375176
Preble372498
Clinton364060
Ottawa359578
Highland348460
Williams330074
Champaign322357
Jackson309351
Guernsey308749
Perry290949
Fayette278448
Morrow277239
Hardin265964
Henry265066
Coshocton261058
Holmes255199
Van Wert239863
Pike234231
Gallia233346
Adams230252
Wyandot228354
Hocking210759
Carroll189747
Paulding169239
Meigs141738
Noble133037
Monroe129041
Morgan107723
Harrison105936
Vinton81614
Unassigned02
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