There Must Be No "Day"

...The following essay, There Must be No Day, was written in response to the made for TV movie, The Day After, shown in 1983. It was sent to world leaders and to members of our government. At that time Congressperson Barbara Boxer read it on the floor of the House on Hiroshima Day 1984. With the threat of a new nuclear confrontation looming over us, perhaps it is time to bring it and its warning back to mind...

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Whip count: to nuke or not to nuke?

Proposal: the netroots should force members of Congress and congressional candidates to answer three questions about the possiblity of the United States using nuclear weapons against Iran.

Draft statements (agree or not):

1. Using nuclear weapons aginst Iran will hurt U.S. national security; it is unacceptable.

2. Before using nuclear weapons against a foreign country the president the Constitution requires specific authorization from Congress.

3. Before attacking Iran the president needs to either have specific authorization of the UN Security Council or needs to invoke the right of self defense as codified by the UN Charter.

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Shirin Ebadi: The Light At the End of the Tunnel

During the Cold War it was a dissident movement of human rights activists, writers and political agitators such as Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn and Lech Walesa who were largely responsible for bringing down the Iron Curtain.

America's steadfast counterweight to the Soviet Union certainly buttressed their efforts with the support of the western alliance. Yet for all of the Cold War intrigue, espionage, dramatic summits with men wearing high priced business suits, regional conflicts and billions spent on defense appropriations, it was the efforts of courageous souls who transcended superpower might on behalf of human dignity.

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North Korea: A Very Rational Country

By: inoljt,

It’s popular amongst the media to characterize North Korea as an irrational state run by a madman. North Korea continuously provokes the West, it is said, for no apparent reason. Proof that it’s an unpredictable, irrational actor that could do anything.

There are in fact very few states in history that could actually can be said to have behaved irrationally. I can only think of one state in the twentieth century which fits the description above. That was Germany just before and during the Second World War.

North Korea has in fact behaved quite rationally throughout the past few years. As a pariah state with only one ally, a very weak economy, and the enmity of the world’s superpower – the government of North Korea has to realize a way to protect itself. This is especially true given that said superpower has repeatedly used its military to strike down dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi who have earned its hostility.

Muammar Gaddafi is an extremely telling example. One unfortunate side-effect of the successful American intervention there is that the intervention has probably permanently ruined any possibility of North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons. Just look at Muammar Gaddafi to see what happens when countries hostile to America give up their nuclear weapons. And in fact, North Korea has done just this. The rational, logical conclusion: the only sure deterrence is nuclear weapons, especially with Seoul and Tokyo as hostages located so conveniently close to North Korea.

The death of Kim Jong-il also explains a lot of North Korea’s recent aggressiveness during the past couple of years. North Korea’s leaders knew that Kim Jong-il’s health was in dire straits after his stroke, and that he was probably going to die very soon. They were thus preparing hastily for his succession. The new leader needed a military accomplishment to add to his belt before entering power. Thus the artillery bombardment of a South Korean island, repeated nuclear tests, and the sinking of a South Korean ship. These were designed to be just enough for the new leader to boast about without actually getting North Korea in any danger of being seriously attacked.

North Korea is not another Nazi Germany. It’s just a very weak, very poor country whose government is trying its best to survive against the might of the world’s superpower.



It’s Not Five Minutes to Midnight

By: inoljt,


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a magazine dedicated towards ending nuclear weapons. It’s most famous for the “Doomsday Clock.” The magazine describes the Doomsday Clock as so:

The Doomsday Clock conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction–the figurative midnight–and monitors the means humankind could use to obliterate itself. First and foremost, these include nuclear weapons…

In some ways the magazine is a lingering remnant of another time. The Doomsday Clock used to be much more well-known than it is now. Today most young people have never heard of it.

Currently the clock stands at 5 Minutes to Midnight. That is, the world is figuratively five minutes away from nuclear warfare and the end of the comfortable, mostly peaceful world we live in.

There’s just one problem: the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is wrong. It’s not five minutes to midnight.

Of course five minutes to midnight is a figurative term; the world will not literally end in five minutes as of this writing. It’s impossible to say just what “five minutes to midnight” actually means in real terms. How can I argue, then, that the scientists are wrong?

Because the world today is much safer than it ever was during the Cold War.

The Cold War was shaped by the threat that one misunderstanding, or the actions of one crazy general, would cause the world’s two superpowers to unleash their weapons. There was a constant threat that the Cold War would turn into a Hot War – a world war far worse than the last one.

There is no such threat today. People rarely use the term nuclear winter anymore, or at least they use it much less today. The nuclear threats today are merely local ones. Even if Iran or North Korea (or both) launch nuclear weapons, the devastation will merely be local rather than global. A Pakistani-Indian nuclear war would likewise be a local war, not a global one.

In 1963 and in 1972 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists stated that the world was 12 Minutes to Midnight. The world is much farther away from nuclear catastrophe today than it was in 1963 or 1972.

So, at the very least, the world is 13 minutes away from midnight.




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