Essays Featured — 28 May 2015

Kul Bhushan reports on the latest setting of the Doomsday Clock.

We all have just three minutes before the whole world blows up. Yes, that’s the message from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which moved its iconic Doomsday Clock on 24 January 2015.

The clock now stands at three minutes to midnight, the ‘latest’ it’s been since 1984, when the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union was a major issue. Why has the minute hand of the clock been moved?

3 Minutes to Midnight

“Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity. And world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe,” said Kennette Benedict,  director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “These failures of leadership endanger every person on earth.”

The Bulletin executives look at global issues regularly and decide whether to move the minute hand of the clock, with particular stress on the status of nuclear arms and reaction to climate issues.

In recent years, the clock has moved in the wrong direction for humanity. After standing at 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 – the furthest it’s ever been from the end of the world – it’s moved closer each time it’s been changed since, with the exception of 2010, when it was pushed back by one minute to 11:54 p.m. The last time the clock was moved was in 2012, when it was moved up one minute to 11:55.

Now an agreement between Iran and Western powers signed on 2 April 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear program has brought new hope to lower the risk of nuclear war. Still to be approved by the US Congress, according to the agreement Iran will reduce its uranium enrichment set-up by 75 per cent and uranium stockpile from 800 tonnes to 300 kilos. This means Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons. When approved by US Congress, a final nuclear deal is in sight. Good.

Hold on! USA still has 2,100 battle-ready nuclear weapons it can launch any time. Russia has 1,600 followed by 250 for China, around 100 each with India and Pakistan and Israel at 80. With all these battle-ready weapons, no wonder the minute hand was moved.

Osho says, “… America should stop piling up nuclear weapons. They are pointless, and so costly, so meaningless. You already have enough to destroy the whole world, what more do you want? America should declare, ‘We drop the whole idea of war. We destroy all our nuclear weapons. We drown all those weapons in the Pacific, in the Atlantic. We’re finished with it.” (1)

Let’s finish them before they finish us. After all, we just have three minutes.

Doomsday Graph

(1) Excerpt from The Last Testament, Vol. 1, Ch 9

Anand Kul Bhushan

 

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