As President Donald Trump and his team continue to saber-rattle in their campaigns against antagonists like North Korea and Iran, more are sounding the alarm about the dangerous direction of global affairs. The U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research’s Director Renata Dwan insists that the chance of the world sliding into nuclear conflict is at its highest since World War II, whose end was punctuated by the United States dropping two nuclear weapons on Japan. Even with those weapons standards that are over 50 years in the past, the bombs left tens and even up to hundreds of thousands of people dead.
Along these lines, Dwan adds that the stakes of the situation remain incredibly high. Dispatching nuclear weapons in any capacity could enact unthinkable damage, killing massive amounts of people and decimating entire areas.
‘I think that it’s genuinely a call to recognize – and this has been somewhat missing in the media coverage of the issues – that the risks of nuclear war are particularly high now, and the risks of the use of nuclear weapons, for some of the factors I pointed out, are higher now than at any time since World War Two.’
Just in recent days, Trump threatened to wipe Iran off the face of the earth, issuing the belligerent threat on Twitter as tensions heated up between the two nations. Trump told reporters at one point that media reporting of his administration reviewing plans to have as many as 120,000 troops overseas to fight Iran was “fake news,” but he also issues tweets like this one and expects us to trust his handling of the situation.
He’s conducted himself similarly towards North Korea, although not as recently. He also threatened to annihilate that country in the face of a rising and continued threat from their own accumulation of nuclear weaponry, insisting he’d rain down unprecedented “fire and fury” on the small country.
On numerous occasions, he has also talked up U.S. nuclear capabilities and then some — behind the scenes at one point during the campaign, he reportedly asked a national security adviser why the U.S. “can’t” just use nuclear weapons if they’re in the country’s possession. More recently, as president, he insisted that the country is “gonna be so far ahead of everybody else in nuclear like you’ve never seen before” as his administration unveiled a new national security strategy that called for new nuclear weapons and a wider net of possible situations in which the country would strike first.
As German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel put it at the time early last year:
‘The U.S. administration’s decision to develop new tactical nuclear weapons shows that the spiral of a new nuclear arms race has already been set in motion. We need new disarmament initiatives rather than new arms systems.’
There’s an ongoing effort to get a treaty ratified to ban nuclear weapons entirely. Called the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it’s so far been signed by 144 countries, including 23 out of the 50 it needs to come into force. The United States, Russia, and other nations all continue to oppose the treaty.
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