If recent events are a harbinger of things to come then the potential for a nuclear war is real -- very real. A few weeks ago, just after 100 days in office as United States 45th president, Donald J. Trump's Administration deployed a "super bomb" on a remote part of Afghanistan ostensibly to destroy a network of underground tunnels allegedly used by the terror group ISIS (DAESH). Called the "mother of all bombs (MOAB)" the bomb weighed 10 tons packed full with high explosives that was dropped via parachute from a US C-130 transport plane. The weapon was detonated in mid-air in a way that it kills every living thing in just over a one-mile radius. In the aftermath of its first-time use the United States boasted that it had killed 94 militants.
Hey America! I don't wish to scare you, but right now the vast majority of the world's nuclear arsenals are in the twitchy hands of arrogant boy-men for whom the idea of using them is becoming every day more and plausible. This "death wish" mentality is the natural outgrowth of politicians engaging in brinkmanship and playing dangerous games "I dare you" to see who will blink first. Such insanity is driven by a political machismo unheard of in many, many years when some level of sanity prevailed on the world stage.
Who are these crazy men? Let's start with the North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. He's on an aggressive war-binge with an oversized lust for weapons -- including nuclear weapons. For him, if he feels threatened, using a nuclear weapon is not only thinkable, but also right. Then there's Russia's strongman Vladimir Putin. Under him Russia has been preparing for a nuclear scenario for some time. Its been reported that every Russian war-game usually ends with a "nuclear de-escalation" phase: a practice dud run by dropping a nuclear bomb and then talk peace afterwards.
And United States President Donald Trump? Well, we know that since the 1980s he's has been obsessed with nuclear weapons. We also know that he stubbornly refuses to take advice from military professionals ("believe me I know better than them") and that he seems not to understand the core NATO concept of nuclear weaponry as a political deterrent, as opposed to a sexy military super weapon for use when confronted by some country or leader the does not like.
Provoking Kim Jong-Un and needing to "win" against this rogue nation, President Trump has dispatched a US aircraft carrier strike force towards North Korea to menace Kim's rogue regime. This sudden mania for speaking of nuclear warfare, among men with untrammeled power, should be the biggest news item and the major concern of democratic and peace-loving politicians. And there is something exceedingly troubling when major United States news networks sound the cymbals in jubilation after President Trump's missile attacks on Syria and on-air personalities screeching about "beautiful weapons" and "Trump becoming president."
Now Trump has got the formula for becoming the darling of the media: just bomb any place that's not on the European map or mainland America and those Joes will love it! So he's ramping up the Cold War-style military rhetoric for a horribly simple reason: Trump's reckless generals tried "a little war" to see how it would work on the American people and it went down well. The media loved it and a war-conditioned populace supported his actions in reaction to a few photographs of children being dowsed with water from a supposed chemical attack. No other proof necessary.
You know, sane, thinking humans would have immediately thought: what did Assad have to gain from this? And who stands to gain in the broader scheme of things? For Assad to just up and kill defenseless women and children is cruel and inhumane even by his standards. But the man's no political slowcoach. He would have known that the world, including America, would be outraged. His actions would have also embarrassed his biggest patron and supporter -- Russia. So Assad has to be a blithering idiot to do something that stupid that would take the edge of his recent military successes.
Fact is he had NOTHING TO GAIN and everything to lose.
Ok, what about President Trump? Attacking a secondary Syrian airstrip with outmoded aircraft, few personnel, and very limited use created the optics for looking tough and resolute. Careful not to piss off the Russians the United States military warned them of the impending strike. So you can be certain that they in turn warned the Syrians. In the end the strike LOOKED GOOD on United States television but achieved very, very little. It has not changed the course of the civil war or diminished Assad's military arsenal and ability to prosecute this war -- period.
So who had all to gain? You go figure it out.
But let's get back to the issue of nuclear war as an "on the table option." In political doublespeak this means that using a nuclear weapon or weapons is "on the table." Nobody, nobody, should doubt the United State's resolve when it come to this, especially during this Trump Era. There is the very real possibility that if the people of the world do not act in concert and say "no" to nuclear weapons and DEMAND an end to their production and stockpile, then political egomaniacs will see this as a green light to do the unthinkable. We also cannot submit to our "human nature", and blank out that possibility because of the devastation and horrible human consequences that a nuclear detonation conjures up in our imagination.
And the bases for this unthinkable possibility are the radical changes and shifts in global politics. Nowadays, everywhere we look global politics is fast becoming an activity that is driven, not by issues, concerns, and people-centered challenges, but by raw emotion, fickle, substanceless unilateral, crowd-pleasing, and millions of gullible people falling under the control of rich, erratic family groups and mafias, rather than the old political model of technocrats representing ruling elites.
Within the ranks of these populist conmen and women-turned-politicians are many opportunistic groupings that include warmongers orgasmically jacked up on using the latest military hardware as part of their war profiteering. They reject objective multilateralism -- ironing out of differences between states and nations in a civil, non-military way - as a serious irritant. Its why many of the world's political oligarchs -- from Trump to Putin and everyone in between - are busy forcing NGOs to register, systematically cutting off foreign aid to them and instituting incremental dictatorial systems at home.
If you think that nuclear war is a joke. Think about this:
The 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 destroyed 13 square kilometers (almost 6 miles) of the Japanese city. The heart of the explosion reached several million degrees centigrade. Everybody within half a mile of the center of the blast was killed and 92 per cent of the city's structures were destroyed or damaged. Around 75,000 people were killed immediately but many more died from radiation poisoning. By the end of 1950, the death toll was 200,000.