What sequence of events could lead to an end of the nuclear weapons era? Does the following speculation spotlight what could be the most realistic scenario?
First, of course we all pray that the nuclear powers will peacefully negotiate away their arsenals resulting in a comprehensive global disarmament. Great work is being done in this direction by ICAN (winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize) and others.
So far at least, the nuclear powers seem to be ignoring all protests, and it doesn’t appear real nuclear disarmament will happen any time soon by this highly preferred method.
The detonation of a nuclear weapon in a city anywhere in the world might radically accelerate a disarmament process, or such an event could also lead to more conflict and nuclear exchanges. There’s no way to know ahead of time what would happen next. Such an event could be the beginning of real positive change, or the beginning of the end of the world.
Peace Through FUBAR?
There is one event that could dramatically change our relationship with nuclear weapons without leading to war, a nuclear accident by American forces on American soil. This is not such a speculative leap given there have already been a number of near misses.
A nuclear weapons accident could happen anywhere nuclear weapons exist, so why focus on America? A few facts come to mind:
1) America invented nuclear weapons and is the only country to ever use them against an enemy. We Americans have a special responsibility to end the nuclear weapons era that we started. Call it a karma thing if you wish.
2) America is the world’s leading superpower. According to NationalPriorities.org, “U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined.” America is a very strong country that is in the best position to take bold leadership in a disarmament process.
3) Given that America is a very wealthy nation it would be in a far better position to recover from a nuclear accident than many or most other countries.
4) America is a global media powerhouse, so a nuclear accident in America would be an extremely well covered event resulting in maximum cultural influence around the world.
5) A nuclear accident by Americans on Americans would not give cause for Americans to start a conflict with anyone else.
Am I’m Begging To Be Bombed?
Please note, an American nuclear accident is NOT being suggested as a plan or desired outcome. No American, including this writer, is wishing such a horrific event would happen. Please read that again before writing to yell at me. You too NSA. Thank you.
What is being considered instead is this question.
What sequence of events might have the best chance of achieving global nuclear disarmament at the lowest possible cost?
Yes, we all truly and sincerely wish that global nuclear disarmament could happen without any further nuclear attacks or accidents. But while we are waiting for that to maybe someday happen, with each passing day we are risking large scale nuclear exchanges that could permanently end all of our options.
So while a nuclear accident on American soil would be an unspeakable horror, a continuation of the status quo could very well lead to a far larger horror. Yep, it’s probably time for another movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
A nuclear weapons accident on American soil is clearly possible, but no one can know if or when such an event might unfold, or what the big picture consequences of such an event might be. And again, no sane person is wishing such an event would happen.
But if such an accident did happen, it might open a door that could lead humanity away from the collapse of modern civilization and the loss of billions of lives. It could just be FUBAR that saves us all in the end. Stranger things have happened, and pain is our greatest teacher.
No American wishes for such an event, but if it were to happen, it might be a game changing opportunity that Americans and the rest of humanity could grasp.