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June 24, 2020

Final 100

Opinion

June 24, 2020

Never before this year 2020 has the world-famous Doomsday Clock registered only “100 seconds-to-midnight.” According to the Science & Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, since WWII, the world has never been so perilous.

Alas, it’s been a long journey (73 yrs) all the way up to 100 seconds to midnight versus the original 1947 setting of seven minutes to midnight. The safest setting was at 17 minutes to midnight in 1991 at the end of the Cold War. The wonderfully famous iconic clock is located in the lobby of the Bulletin offices at the University of Chicago.

Unceremoniously, recklessly the Trump administration carries the indisputable title as one of the most dangerous executives in the history of the country with two key issues that determine the clock’s settings: (1) climate change deniers and (2) atomic bomb explosion enthusiasts for simplicity of political gain, nothing else.

The Doomsday Clock is set by a board of scientists and professionals with depth of knowledge about nuclear technology and climate science. They are established professionals that often provide expert advice to governments and international agencies. Impressively, the Bulletins’ Board of Sponsors includes 13 Nobel Laureates.

The Doomsday Clock is internationally recognized as an important SOS of impending catastrophe. University of Chicago scientists that developed the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project founded the concept back in 1945. Thereafter, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later.

Accordingly, as of June 2020: “In the view of many, the Trump administration’s proposal to expand spending on nuclear weapons is a sad and dangerous illustration of wildly misplaced federal spending priorities. As it proposed a 19 percent increase for nuclear weapons next year, the White House initially planned to slash the budgets for the Centers for Disease Control by 19 percent and the National Institutes of Health by 7 percent. The Pentagon’s proposal to cut the budget for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in order to fund weapons modernization amid a global pandemic is shockingly reckless.” (Source: Kingston Reif, Debating US Nuclear Spending in the Age of the Coronavirus, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 10, 2020.)

In an incredibly mind-boggling act of near lunacy, senior White House officials have discussed conducting the first U.S. nuclear weapon test explosion since 1992, as a multi-billion dollar chest-thumping gesture aimed at Russia and China.

Several organizations have sent letters to Congress demanding prevention of funding for such boldfaced recklessness, and as a consequence, the likely start of a new nuclear arms race.

Eighty members of Congress have called on Trump to drop the insanity of renewed atomic bomb testing, calling it an “awful” and “dangerously provocative” proposal that would likely re-ignite a new nuclear arms race.

According to former Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr, such tests would “undermine 50 years of foundational global agreement that has curbed the spread of nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Excerpted from: 'The Final 100 Seconds'.

Counterpunch.org