Bomb’s a sav­age beast

The Gympie Times - - NEWS - Colin Clar­idge

IT WAS quite pleas­ing to see North and South Korea sit down this week and talk.

Ac­tu­ally talk. Not an ex­change of an­gry tweets that pro­gres­sively grew more ridicu­lous, more child­ish, more threat­en­ing. Just talk.

Be­cause we need to re­mem­ber that the Korean Penin­sula has been a sim­mer­ing threat for decades.

The of­fi­cial war there was dur­ing the 1950s. Ac­tive hos­til­i­ties may have ceased but they are tech­ni­cally still at war, as no peace has ever been signed.

The North’s ea­ger­ness to join the nu­clear club adds to the ten­sions that re­quire cool heads and sta­ble char­ac­ters.

Now the thing about ar­moury and hu­man na­ture is the in­se­cu­ri­ties the mix cre­ates.

If your neigh­bour has a cross­bow, you must get a ri­fle. Then your neigh­bour must get a ma­chine gun. So you have to get a can­non. And so it can go.

Add bel­liger­ence and the need of some to over-com­pen­sate for mas­cu­line de­fi­cien­cies and things can quickly get out of con­trol.

And so the fi­nal weeks of 2017 gave us a lit­tle ray of hope.

The award­ing of the No­bel Peace Prize to ICAN (the In­ter­na­tional Cam­paign to Abol­ish Nu­clear weapons) was a pop­u­lar choice among those wor­ried about where the world is head­ing.

ICAN was founded in Mel­bourne and has cam­paigned for a treaty to abol­ish “The Bomb”.

It’s just a bit dis­ap­point­ing that the pres­tige of this award seems to have been lost on our own gov­ern­ment, who ba­si­cally ig­nored the achievement.

It was also lam­pooned by the na­tions who are stake­hold­ers in this mad­ness, point­ing to the fact that ICAN’s ob­jec­tive has yet to be achieved.

Many coun­tries have signed the treaty. How­ever not one of the nu­clear armed na­tions is among that num­ber.

But what should be lam­pooned are those na­tions who stead­fastly hold to the nu­clear op­tion, as if it gives them the ul­ti­mate ad­van­tage.

That might have been true when only the USA, Rus­sia, China, UK and France had “The Bomb”.

But other play­ers are now in­volved. With due re­spect to the wor­ries of past gen­er­a­tions who lived through the Cold War, the sit­u­a­tion to­day is less sta­ble.

With we hu­mans just as ca­pa­ble of find­ing other ways to com­mit ab­so­lute atroc­ity, the nu­clear op­tion now seems su­per­flu­ous.

But none­the­less, it’s the weapons op­tion that now, more than at any other time since the 1950s, threat­ens to be­come a beast that no one can con­trol.

Trump wants to in­crease spend­ing on up­grad­ing the US nu­clear stock­pile.

In­vari­ably, that can only mean the other mem­bers of the club will want to do the same. And coun­tries on the fringe will ig­nore the weak sanc­tions sce­nario and want to join the club too.

It would re­quire only the prover­bial cou­ple of hand­fuls of these weapons to ren­der this planet life­less. So what is the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the amass­ing of 15,000?

Now, the world’s pow­ers can con­tinue to crit­i­cise the 2017 No­bel Peace Prize re­sult.

But at least some­one’s try­ing to do some­thing more con­struc­tive than boast that their but­ton is big­ger.

It’s just a very sad re­al­ity that some­times good in­ten­tions won’t of­ten suc­ceed.

But that should never dis­cour­age peo­ple of good hearts from mak­ing ef­forts.

On the is­sue of nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment, there is lit­tle that the ma­jor­ity of na­tions can do about it.

Change must come from within the mem­bers of the club.

And with that comes the re­al­i­sa­tion that at present, the ma­jor­ity of those with their fin­gers dan­gling above the but­tons are men with some se­ri­ous per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders.

Well... it’s quite a sober­ing thought.


DO­ING SOME­THING: Beatrice Fihn, the ex­ec­u­tive of In­ter­na­tional Cam­paign to Abol­ish Nu­clear weapons (ICAN) gives her ac­cep­tance speech in Nor­way after the group won the 2017 No­bel Peace Prize.

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