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72 years August 7, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

It’s not a big anniversary, as such things go – not a 50 or 75 or 100, but the news that yesterday was the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945 perhaps passed with less fanfare than might be expected. There was a piece on RTÉ.

In a way it demonstrates how the threat of nuclear war has receded, even in an age of renewed super power/large power tension. That the idea of nuclear conflict seems almost absurd. Granted there is the DPRK, but that is – to some degree sabre rattling. That state has, it appears, a very limited arsenal (ranging between 13 and 30 weapons) of what seem to be atomic rather than hydrogen bombs. None of this is to be dismissed but their value is as a deterrent rather than as an offensive weapon. And one suspect that were they to use but one that value would be finished, that they would meet massive retaliation.

But even that, even with claims that they have true (albeit once again limited) ICBM capability is still, while concerning, almost the exception that proves the rule (and notable at the weekend was a unanimous UN Security Council vote on a new sanction regime). Actual nuclear conflict between major states is near enough unthinkable – and of course the after-effects even of a limited exchange would appear so damaging globally that it is difficult to envisage any circumstances in which they would deliberately be used.

Again, let’s not dismiss the issue of some of the rhetoric we’ve heard from those who are now within the US Presidential camp. Steve Bannon last year spoke openly in the following terms.

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years,” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face – and you understand how important face is – and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”

By the by, one small snippet on RTÉ:

Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima in May last year, paying moving tribute to victims of the devastating bomb.

Doesn’t that tell us something about some of the perspectives on this?


1. GW - August 7, 2017

I’m less (but still considerably) concerned about deliberate use than I am about (technical) accidents.

If it wasn’t for Stanistlav Petrov we may all have died in 1983.

I shudder to think about the state of the software involved. Much of it probably antiquated by now, and potentially mixed with more widely networked systems.


GW - August 7, 2017



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