The cold war may be over but confusion reigns
SIXTY years ago the USA successfully detonated 14 nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site, hoping to sort out tactics for ground forces in the event of a nuclear war.
Reading this, and then at the weekend watching the 2012 film Ginger and Rosa, set in the 1960s, brought back worries that my generation had as children.
By the 1960s, pre-IRA, pre-ISIS, pre-dying from eating too many chips, nuclear weapons (or nukalar as many now pronounce it) were firmly established as the enemy that would ‘get us’ before we grew up.
Our parents and grandparents had served in two world wars and brought us into an era which passionately celebrated peace, but now we could all be blown to bits in a matter of seconds. This time it was The Russians who were coming (think early James Bond films). Scariest of all was the Cuban Missile crisis. CND with its Ban the Bomb mantra, had grown up in the 50s but we were told that unilateral disarmament – their aim – would leave us open to attack, and that the UK having the bomb, as well as Russia and the USA, meant that no-one would ever use it.
A stand-off, I suppose. But I thought this must be like ensuring that you had a rock-hard conker to match your opponent’s. Surely most children would want to battle it out to find the fiercest conker-owner?
Of course we need to have the ability to defend ourselves but the child in me remains puzzled that we think we have the right to ban other countries (even if it is desirable) from having Weapons of Mass Destruction. I am even more confused that we can invade them and effect regime change, even when they haven’t got round to shopping for their WMDs, never mind stockpiling any.
For some strange reason, the nuclear weapons test I mentioned at the beginning was called Operation Teapot. How reassuring – there’s nothing a nice cuppa can’t put right. And then Mr F reminded me about chocolate teapots ...
NO-ONE however could challenge the comfort of another February anniversary which definitely helped produce a more peaceful world. Twenty five years ago on February 11 Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years, to become President of South Africa in 1994. There’s someone who should have taken over the world.
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