Near and present danger as countries expand nuclear arsenals

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Farouk Araie

“As the course of events unfold over the next decade, a profound threat lurks”

President Trump’s decision to abandon the Nuclear Missile treaty signed 30 years ago will trigger a deadly new offensive missile race.

As the course of events unfold over the next decade, a profound threat lurks. The possibility exists that the conflict could propel nations to exercise the dreaded nuclear option. The strategic new policies of the US and Russia will result in a deadly race for total nuclear supremacy tempting these two nuclear belligerents to launch a massive nuclear-first strike.

The smaller nuclear powers will be forced to upgrade their current nuclear strike forces to maintain a certain degree of parity. India deploys the Agni-5 a first strike missile that can strike targets throughout Pakistan and China. Pakistan has the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world. It continues to upgrade its capability in every strategic dimension.

China has deployed the Dongfeng -41 missile capable of dispersing 10 nuclear warheads. In addition, it has the capability to wipe out an aircraft-carrier. Russia has developed a nuclear first strike capability that is frightening in its power projection capabilities. It has placed on hair trigger alert the R-28 Sarmat missile equipped with 16 missiles that could penetrate any missile shield on this planet. A single missile could destroy every US city with over a million people. France and the United Kingdom are upgrading their nuclear missile submarines with 21st century technology making them untrackable. Globally around 30,000 nuclear weapons are held by various countries. More than 1,500 of them are ready to launch at a moment’s notice. Each of them has a destructive power thirty times that of the Hiroshima Bomb.

Nuclear weapons give no quarter. Their effects transcend time and space, poisoning the earth and deforming its inhabitants for generation upon generation. They leave us wholly without defence, expunge all hope for meaning survival. They hold in their sway not just the fate of nations, but the very meaning of civilisation.

Nuclear war threatens catastrophes that, although less encompassing than extinction, are still outside historical comparison. Although the physical threat of a full-scale nuclear holocaust has declined, nuclear war remains a grim reality.

Can we preserve our civilisation without menacing it and all life on earth with annihilation? In a speech to the UN on September 1961, President Kennedy had the following to say: “Every man, woman and child lives under a sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”

The US nuclear arsenal contains about 10,000 nuclear weapons, that is 10,000 weapons the destructive power of 150,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs. We must remember that nuclear monsters lie in wait, many still on hair trigger alert, poised to obliterate every project and goal for bettering the world.

With the light of common sense we can confront the menace and rid the world of weapons that continue to haunt our dreams.