73 Years After Atomic Bombing of Japan: Nuclear Threat More Immediate Than Ever

Jerri-Lynn here. In this Real News Network interview, conducted to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the second atomic bomb drop on Nagasaki, historian Peter Kuznick reflects on how the nuclear threat is more immediate now than at any other time since the 1950s.

How did we get here? Kuznick says that people should go back and listen to Fred Astaire. Yes, that Fred Astaire: playing a physicist in the great 1959 movie, On The Beach, in which he critiques deterrence theory.

I embed a link to that scene here:

Jerri-Lynn again here: Kuznick notes that the nuclear freeze movement and the anti-nuclear movement was very potent in the 1980s– on university campuses and elsewhere. I was a student at that time, first in the US and then the UK, and I can testify to that, having marched in demonstrations in London and elsewhere. Alas, nuclear issues don’t get that sort of attention today– despite the threat they pose being every bit as dangerous, if not more so, than at anytime before.

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Real News Network video:

MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Good to have you with us.

We are commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where as many as 226,000 people were killed because of that blast. It launched the nuclear arms race. We have with us Peter Kuznick, professor of history and director of Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, who is also the author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientist as Political Activist in 1930s America. And he is currently joining us from Nagasaki, Japan, where he’s gone with some of his students. And Peter, welcome to the program. Good to have you with us.

PETER KUZNICK: Mark, I’ve been taking students to Hiroshima and Nagasaki every summer on what we call the peace tour every summer since 1995. This is the 24th time I’ve brought students from American University to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bombings. And in some ways it’s as relevant now as it’s ever been. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight. That’s the closest it’s ever been. It was first moved to two minutes before midnight back in the early 1950s, after the United States and the Soviet Union tested their hydrogen bombs. And many of us feel that given what’s going on in the world, the situation in Korea, the situation in Iran, the tension between the United States and Russia in Syria, Ukraine, the Baltics, this is a very, very dangerous moment. So nuclear issues should be in the forefront of people’s thinking and concerns. And we lost it again.

MARC STEINER: So let me pick up from that point, because I think it’s really important to examine this. I mean, when- if you’re of a certain age in this country, in this world, you remember that time when people hid under their desks. We remember the time people lived under the threat of an atomic war taking place between countries. So that consciousness is really not with us at this moment. People don’t have the same intense feelings and fears about it that they once did. So how do you begin to build that political, cultural understanding to try to start this new conversation about where we are?

PETER KUZNICK: It’s interesting. On the campuses there is just not the kind of concern that there was in previous decades. I see that with my students. I see that. Students are focused on other things, and that’s great. But we’ve got two primary concerns that threaten the future existence of our species. The number one concern is the nuclear threat. The number two concern is climate change.

The situation now, the latest understanding of nuclear winter, the latest scientific studies, show that a limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan, in which 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons were used, could cause partial nuclear winter. The temperatures on the earth’s surface will plummet. Agriculture would be destroyed for a long period of time. And up to two billion people could be killed. That’s a limited nuclear war with 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons. We now have 14,450 nuclear weapons in the world, and they’re not Hiroshima size. They’re between 7 and 80 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb.

So people need a wakeup call, whatever that takes. They have got to understand that the immediate threat to our existence is still the nuclear threat. And you’ve got leaders- well, we’ve got two leaders in the world now- who have absolute veto power over the future existence of our species. The United States and Russia control 93 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. That means Donald Trump, the unpredictable Donald Trump, has got access to the nuclear codes and could end life on the planet almost immediately. And Vladimir Putin has the same power. That is insane that two people have that kind of power.

But beyond that, the threat of even limited nuclear wars, the threat of accidental nuclear wars. We saw the situation in Korea. Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that he felt there was a 50/50 chance that we were going to go to war in Korea. Everybody feared that that was going to turn into a nuclear war. And then you’ve got Trump, after creating that crisis, sanely trying to tamp that down; and then creating a whole new crisis by ripping up the Iran nuclear deal.

So the timeliness of being in Hiroshima and Nagasaki now is that the world has got to start focusing again on these kinds of issues and concerns.

MARC STEINER: So now we have a president sitting in the White House here in the United States who wants to build the nuclear arsenal here in the United States. Has threatened North Korea, before he met with the leader of North Korea. But threatened in the kind of absurd, childish tweets that he made about ours is bigger than yours. And I was wondering if the, if the clock was pushed to two minutes before the hour because of Trump’s victory? Is it deeper than that? I mean, we also know Israel has atomic weapons that they could use if they feel deeply threatened. So I mean, it could come from any number of areas.

PETER KUZNICK: There are currently nine countries that have nuclear weapons. Nine countries. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that 40 countries have the technological capability of developing nuclear weapons. The possibility of nuclear anarchy, in that sense, is real. Having Donald Trump in the White House with his finger on the proverbial nuclear button is very frightening, but the situation was dangerous before that. You look at George Bush’s 2002 Nuclear Posture Review. The New York Times had an editorial after that saying that the United States was the world’s nuclear rogue power because of the provocative nature of Bush’s Nuclear Posture Review.

We wound it down a little bit under Obama. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize because of his Prague speech calling for nuclear abolition. Obama was a huge disappointment. Not only did Obama not abolish nuclear weapons, Obama maintained all the myths about nuclear weapons. And Obama also called for a 30-year, trillion-dollar modernization of every aspect of America’s nuclear arsenal, which means that nuclear weapons under Obama became more usable, not less usable. And now Trump is continuing that policy. The estimate now officially is $1.2 trillion, but we know that we’re talking more in the range of $1.7 trillion to $2 trillion for this nuclear modernization.

The point is- and we’re even legally committed under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, all the nuclear powers are supposed to move quickly to abolish their nuclear arsenals. That was back in 1970. We’re breaking international law.

MARC STEINER: All right. What it also says, though, Peter, I mean, so in the last 48 years nothing has diminished. Since the beginning of the ’50s, the arsenals have only been developed with greater strength around the world. It’s proliferated, as you pointed out earlier. So I’m wondering again, I mean, what moves have to be made? Because even, whether you have a liberal Democrat in the White House, or a conservative Republican, or no matter who’s sitting in the Kremlin, no matter who’s sitting anywhere, there are people who feel like they have to have these weapons in order to defend themselves and to be powerful enough to dissuade people from using them. That’s the argument that would be used.

PETER KUZNICK: Nuclear deterrence theory is a great theory until it doesn’t work. Once deterrence fails there’s nobody left alive to tell those people in power that this was not a good idea. You know, people should actually go back and listen to Fred Astaire.

MARC STEINER: Did you say Fred Astaire?

PETER KUZNICK: I said Fred Astaire. He plays a physicist, Julian, in the great 1959 movie On the Beach. And there in Melbourne, they’re waiting for nuclear radiation to hit Melbourne, the southernmost major city. The rest of the world is already dead. And they ask Julian- Fred Astaire’s character- how did we do this? How were we so stupid to blow it up? And Fred Astaire gives a brilliant critique of deterrence theory. You know, try to defend ourselves with weapons that we know if we use we’re committing global suicide makes no sense at all.

You know, as Khrushchev said after the Cuban missile crisis, he said if the weapons go off and the bombs start falling, who’s going to care if we’re capitalists or communists? Who’s going to care if we’re Christians, or Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists? There’ll be nobody left alive to tell us apart at that point. And so there’s a certain wisdom to people like the Fred Astaire character in On the Beach, or Khrushchev, or Kennedy after the Cuban missile crisis. But we haven’t learned those lessons or the people in power have not learned those lessons.

Donald Trump- you know, Donald Trump. Donald Trump said, what’s the point of having nuclear weapons if we can’t use them? To a normal, sane human being, that means let’s get rid of the nuclear weapons. To Donald Trump, that means let’s make them more usable. And so that’s, that was the danger in the Korea crisis. That’s still the danger in the Iran crisis. Trump wisely, in some ways, sanely even, has called for improving relations with the United States and Russia. And that’s essential, given the nature of our conflicts and given the nature of our capabilities to destroy each other.

You have to remember that we still have more than a thousand nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert from the United States and Russia pointed at each other. Those weapons have to be used almost instantaneously, or they’re lost. And there are so many things we could do to lessen the threat. Long run we’ve got to eliminate the threat. First thing we have to do is get the nuclear arsenal down below the level for nuclear winter. That’s the first thing we have to do. During the, after Trump got elected, he and Putin were on the phone. And Putin said, we need to extend the New START Treaty beyond its expiration in 2021. And so then Trump puts down the phone and asks his advisor, what’s the New START Treaty? And he gets back on the phone. He says, no, it’s a terrible treaty. We don’t want to extend it.

That’s the situation we’re in. Not only is Donald Trump ignorant when it comes to nuclear weapons, his instincts are all wrong. And the fact is that if Donald Trump gives an order to use nuclear weapons, there’s nobody who can block it. There are people who can commit what would be considered treason, possibly, and refuse to carry out Trump’s orders. But there’s no intermediary. The process is that the president has that power on his own, his own authority.

MARC STEINER: I’m very curious, when you’re in Nagasaki and the conversations you’re having with people, what are people’s thoughts about how to revive the understanding about how important this is, what we’re actually facing, what we talked about at the very beginning of our conversation. I mean, because you don’t, you don’t read about it a great deal in most of the popular press. You don’t feel it kind of bubbling up. So what are people talking about in terms of how you bring this consciousness to bear?

PETER KUZNICK: Well, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki there, these are the two places in the world where everybody is thinking and talking about this. So this is sort of, you’ve got to go back to Baltimore, you’ve got to go to Washington to find out what’s going on in people’s heads, why they’re not concerned about it. Robert Lifton had some brilliant theories about, about why people are so blocked when it comes to nuclear issues, why we can’t continue to think about them, why we can’t think more creatively. What is it about the nature of nuclear annihilation? Why can’t we contemplate about the fact that we’re actually preparing for our own extinction as a species?

In fact, in 1947, the great analyst Louis Mumford wrote an editorial called Gentlemen, You Are Mad. And he says that mad men run the world. They look like normal human beings. They’re dressed in suits and ties the uniforms. They go to work. And they plan for annihilation. They have the names of presidents and generals and this and that, but they’re planning annihilation. And that’s still the reality. Daniel Ellsberg laid this out brilliantly in his recent memoir. But this is something that we’ve known for a long time, that that there is something very irrational and self-destructive about our species. As a species we’ve got a death instinct. Why are we spending so much money perfecting the means of killing, making weapons systems that are more and more lethal? Vladimir Putin on March 1 gave his State of the Nation address.

MARC STEINER: And so to me this is really fascinating, because I’ve thought about this a great deal. Been reading a lot about it. Obviously was very involved in this many, many decades ago, as a younger man. As a young boy, as well. And so the question is, I think that, as you were describing that, is how you popularize this among people. I mean, because we are facing something that is as disastrous, perhaps more immediately so, than the climate disaster that we’re facing on the planet. And so when you gather in places like Nagasaki, are people coming from across the globe? What is the state of the, of the movement at this moment that is questioning and against the development of nuclear power and weapons?

PETER KUZNICK: We’ve been grappling with this since the 1980s. The nuclear freeze movement and the anti-nuclear movement was very potent in the 1980s. It was the salient movement on American campuses. People were reading about it, studying about it. Partly there were great movies. Or not, or certainly powerful movies. The British movie Threads; American movies like The Day After. There were quite a few good American movies during that time. And it was a combination of popular culture with dedicated organizers who were driving this home day after day after day. And we saw the impact even on Ronald Reagan, where by 1985 we make all this big deal about the fact that Trump and Putin met with just their translators, and no record. Well, in 1985, Gorbachev and Reagan met alone with translators for four hours and 51 minutes. And they laid the basis for what’s later going to come almost to fruition at Reykjavik, where they came within one word of abolishing nuclear weapons. And the following year they did eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons.

We need to put the same kind of pressure on Trump and Putin, and all the other leaders today. But it’s a combination of popular culture, education, and people looking squarely into the eye. The media doesn’t cover this. You know, where we see it on the mainstream media, a serious discussion of nuclear weapons? We see a threat from Iran, supposedly, or a situation in North Korea. But we don’t see the role that the United States is playing right now, heating up crises around the world; many of which, given the situation, could develop into nuclear confrontations.

MARC STEINER: Thank you, Peter, so much for joining us. It’s always a pleasure to have you with us here on The Real News. Peter Kuznick is professor of history and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, and joins us from Nagasaki, Japan in the wee hours so we can have this update. Peter, thanks so much. Enjoy your time in Japan, and we look forward to talking to you when you get back to the States.

PETER KUZNICK: Thanks, Marc. Take care.

MARC STEINER: Take care. And I’m Marc Steiner for The Real News Network. Take care. We’ll be talking soon.

 

 

 

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24 comments

  1. Carolinian

    While Trump, with his trash talking tweets, has opened some eyes it’s clearly our entire political class who are the danger here. After all Trump meets with Putin and even says that nuclear powers need to be able to communicate and they go bananas. We have weapons that can destroy the world while our deeply unserious ruling elites seem to be doing everything in their power to make things worse.

    The article is correct that the peace movement of the 1950s and 60s badly needs to be revived. Having a great left hope like Bernie Sanders who thinks Russia is an enemy isn’t helping.

    Reply
    1. Disturbed Voter

      Good analysis. War in general, and war with WMD shouldn’t even be thinkable. But it is pushed to inflate the over-capacity industrial economy, and now the financial economy. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue at all.

      Reply
  2. Bill Smith

    “The nuclear freeze movement and the anti-nuclear movement was very potent in the 1980s.”

    Well an organic movement in many Western countries in the 1980’s, the Soviet Union pushed a lot of money into those groups to make them bigger. The Soviet archives show that the financing ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Maybe the Russians need to step back up?

    Reply
  3. Louis Fyne

    Expanding Nato east of Germany, Western-initiated regime change in the Mideast, disbanding the ABM treaty guaranteed that Russia will want to keep a sizeable nuclear deterrent for a long time.

    don’t blame them.

    Reply
    1. flora

      In 1991 Ukraine voted for independence from the old Soviet. It was asked to dismantle/dispose of its 2000+ nuclear weapons. From Wikipedia:

      While Ukraine had physical control of the weapons, it did not have operational control, as they were dependent on Russian-controlled electronic Permissive Action Links and the Russian command and control system. In 1994 Ukraine agreed to destroy the weapons, and to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).[4][5]

      and

      On December 5, 1994 the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States signed a memorandum to provide Ukraine with security assurances in connection with its accession to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. The four parties signed the memorandum, containing a preamble and six paragraphs. The memorandum reads as follows:[9]

      Recent history suggests depending on others to keep their word – across multiple changes in political control – has been, uh, problematic for Ukraine…..

      Reply
    2. flora

      Skynet ate my comment. Shorter: Ukraine’s 1991-4 disarmament under the guarantee of east/west mutual protection is a lesson, of sorts.

      Reply
    3. rd

      The big question about Putin and Russia is which of these historic borders they are looking to claim for Russia today. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_evolution_of_Russia#/media/File:Russia_1533-1896.gif

      If they were willing to stay within their current borders (including Crimea and maybe a small land bridge to Crimea – Sevastopol in Crimea is their only major warm water port), then their offensive threat level is likely to be low.

      If they are looking to go for the 1689 to 1894 borders, then a lot of neighboring countries will feel threatened. Putin is somewhat Sphinx-like on this, so it is unclear if he and Russia are a real offensive threat or not.

      When Ukraine started making noises to join EU and NATO, then Putin’s “Monroe Doctrine” concept of a Russian sphere of influence was trampled on and kick-started his advance into Crimea and apparent ongoing attempts to grab eastern Ukraine.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I doubt that Putin wants to grab East Ukraine for Russia. Reconstructing it would be a heavy expense for a not-rich country like Russia. I think Putin would be satisfied to keep the Legacy Bandera Nazi regime in West Ukraine out of East Ukraine.

        Reply
      2. Bill Smith

        Putin has mentioned that some of the former parts of the Soviet Union are unnatural states and should be returned. Ukraine being one. But that doesn’t mean he is going to grab the rest of it by force.

        Reply
  4. Shane Mage

    Worth remembering that “there’s a certain wisdom to people like the Fred Astaire character in On the Beach, or Khrushchev, or Kennedy after the Cuban missile crisis.” But there is the reverse of wisdom in forgetting that, while Astaire escaped unscathed, both Kennedy and Khrushchev were removed by the types still holding deep power–Krushchev in a quiet Soviet-style politburo coup and Kennedy in a much noisier American-style variant.

    Reply
  5. jfleni

    The On The Beach excerpt should be colorized and shown widely throughout the world.because it is the only sensible and logical discussion of the topic ever filmed. Let the jumped-up-general-issimos and their gibberish be shown up as COMPLETE fools!

    Reply
  6. Brooklin Bridge

    For a moment, It felt like Trump distaste, close cousin to Trump hysteria, was surfacing in places in this interview, but actually I think Kuznick kept it within the bounds of Trump concern – justified in the sense that Trump, in spite of some very reasonable if not good moves, remains a loose canon with a remarkably temperamental, shallow and perceptually consequence-free outlook of brinkmanship with which to view the world, and as if that weren’t enough, in an insanely powerful and paradoxical position as US President.

    It’s hard to say if Trump really wants to increase nuclear arms by 10+ times, or if he is really naive and shallow enough to actually believe in his, “[whaaaa…] we should be able to use nukes,” posture or whether this is simply reality TV brinksmanship applied to international affairs with the carefree self assurance of a fruit cake.

    The main point remains, nuclear arms capability by its very existence is insane, it clearly comes from something insane in humans as a species with our without a sometimes insane president.

    Reply
    1. flora

      I don’t disagree. But, I was not thrilled with Clinton’s hawkishness and what looked like provoking of another nuclear power.

      Reply
      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Another point I should have mentioned, but which is well covered here in comments anyway, is the large degree to which Trump’s hand is forced by the Intellegence community, the MIC as well as pols subservient to the ‘blob’ state, such as Lindsey Graham who seems to be taking John McCain’s place in Russia bashing. There is an excellent RNN interview out today between Aaron Mate and Max Blumenthal where Blumenthal covers this topic quite well.

        https://therealnews.com/stories/new-us-sanctions-on-russia-raise-tensions-plummet-hopes

        Reply
  7. Alex Cox

    Clinton was going to declare a no-fly zone over Syria. That would have meant a shooting war with Russia. Right now “our intelligence community” is pushing for confrontations with Russia on multiple fronts, and the political class and MSM follow along.

    The push for nuclear war, enhanced by O’Bomber’s 1.2 trillion dollar upgrade, is entirely bipartisan.

    Reply
  8. rd

    It is important to understand that there are now two very different types of nuclear threats. In the beginning, the nuclear threat was really only the blast and radiation so a large number of nuclear bombs was required to create a major threat, including nuclear winter etc.

    However, the rapidly growing dependence on electric grids and electronics in the developed world for almost everything now makes a small number of nuclear weapons (especially ones that emit ionizing gamma radiation) exploded 60 km to 500 km in the atmosphere an existential threat. Three to four nuclear bombs exploded 100-500 km up over the US west and east coasts and midwest/south would create EMP pulses that would fry the electric grid and most large electrical and electronic devices throughout North America. Modern solid state devices are much more susceptible than the vacuum tubes electronics of the 40s-50s. Small independent devices like wrist watches and cell phones would likely survive – anything hooked to the power grid would likely die.

    Basically, the North American economy would cease to exist. The same would happen with Europe, and developed parts of Russia, and Asia. A dozen strategic explosions at high altitude could effectively destroy the entire modern global economy. This is the real threat of North Korea etc. with ICBMs and nuclear weapons – they don’t need hundreds of weapons to destroy the major powers.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Urbanites would be helpless in such a situation. Large-yard suburbanites and ruralites might be able to craft a gridless analog drably-peasant survival capability if they get started right now. And they could keep all their pleasure tools and toys all gridded up so that if the grid dies or fries, life-of-a-sort could continue on in the suburbs and country . . . if you could call it “living”.

      Reply
  9. Erich Kuerschner

    Re the “On the Beach” clip”

    How did we get here? Kuznick says that people should go back and listen to Fred Astaire. Yes, that Fred Astaire: playing a physicist in the great 1959 movie, On The Beach, in which he critiques deterrence theory.

    While most of what Kuznick says about nuclear weapons as a deterrence is true, it’s not clear to me why he makes this flippant statement, which is FALSE. WWII (a continuation of WWI and the US-UK led fight against socialism and empire) was started before it became clear that atomic energy could be weaponized in a way as to explode (release energy almost instantaneously), rather than the way described by HG Wells (in “The World Set Free-“atomic bomb” as a term appears 80+ times.

    Gen Groves immediately recognized that the bomb could be used to continue empire, against Russia, and so testified during the Oppenheimer trial vengeance trial initiated by Ed Teller.

    “I think it is also important to state, — it is well known –there was never from about 2 weeks from the time I took charge of this project any illusion on my part but that Russia was our enemy and that the project was conducted on that basis.” — General Leslie Groves
    —- In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer”, Transcript of Hearing Before Personnel Security Board, Washington, DC, April 12, 1954 to May 6, 1954 (Washington, DC 1954), p.173 [p.183 in pdf] top of page, second paragraph, fourth sentence http://bit.ly/1x9T6dQ

    That said, it **IS** an excellent rebuttal to the argument of MADD, that nuclear weapons keep us safe and preserve peace, similar to the conclusion that the “uber-hawk” Paul Nitze reached at the end of his career in his 1999 NYTimes oped, “Nitze: A Threat Mostly to Ourselves”

    Reply
  10. Unna

    There are articles written about how the US was seeking a first strike capability over Russia under both Bush and Obama. The plan was to pull out of the ABM treaty (Bush) and then build a massive ABM force surrounding Russia. This would allow the US to strike first and then to destroy any second strike missiles launched by Russia thereby achieving effective nuclear supremacy over Russia. The idea was not to actually start a war but to maintain the nuclear threat over Russia so that the US could have it’s way with the Russians, so to speak. The missiles in Poland eg were not to protect Denmark from Iranian nukes. These missiles were directed at Russia as part of this plan. Part of the reason the US wanted Ukraine in NATO was to allow the US to locate ABM missiles there also. These ABM missiles are not the purely defensive innocents the US pretends they are because they serve to facilitate a first strike threat by blocking a Russian retaliatory strike thereby undoing the logic of MAD. I believe the REAL NEWS had a piece on this not so long ago. The Ukrainians via the US State Dept. overturned their elected government with the intent to join NATO (Vickie Nuland admitted pouring 5 billion into so called democracy programs in Ukraine). The threat to Russia became too great, even existential. So Putin acted. Ukraine lost Crimea, some eastern areas, and is probably heading for dismemberment in another generation or less, Russia, Poland, Hungary all rubbing their hands, with a rump state around Kiev. My guess. And if that calms things down, the world will be better off.

    The interview is good in that it draws attention to the increased threat of nuclear war, but wants to push the conventional scare narrative of OMG Trump. Bush and Obama are the one who created this mess.

    I’d also point out that during the Presidential debates the question was asked about the US renouncing a first strike. Trump immediately said a first strike was insane, but then he waffled and said, well maybe, who knows, because he didn’t really know what he was talking about. Hillary went second and did the most impressive performance of baffle gab I’ve ever seen effectively sounding well informed by stringing buzz words together but saying nothing. She could have set forth a position of no first strike but she, in a very studied fashion, did not. And, of course, she did know what she was talking about. I said to myself: this woman is supremely dangerous, unhinged, evil, use what ever emotive you want. If Putin did in fact undermine her candidacy, he had every right to do so.

    Reply
  11. ewmayer

    Re. “the latest understanding of nuclear winter, the latest scientific studies, show that a limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan, in which 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons were used, could cause partial nuclear winter.” —

    But during the 1950s both the US and Soviets tested multiple H-bombs in the many-megaton range [US Ivy Mike test, the first ‘true’ staged thermonuke, was 10 Mt; Castle Bravo test at Bikini atoll, the one that inspired Godzilla, was 15 Mt; Soviet ‘czar bomb’ was a whopping 50 Mt] whose fallout contaminated large parts of the Pacific and Siberia, respectively. 1 Mt = 100 Hiroshima-sized nukes, so the czar bomb had an explosive yield of a massive 5000 Hiroshima-sized nukes, yet none of these huge tests caused even appreciable global cooling, much less a nuclear winter. How can this be squared with Kuznick’s statement?

    Reply
    1. RMO

      Those tests were not carried out by widespread bombing of cities, suburbs, farmland and forests – a war would be. That’s like saying artillery isn’t dangerous because it doesn’t kill people and blow up buildings and vehicles when fired on a test range.

      Reply
      1. John Steinbach

        Plus, they were carried out periodically, strung out over a period of years. Roaslie Bertell, in No Immediate Danger, estimated that over 10,000,000 persons died prematurely because of global fallout caused by the atmospheric tests

        Reply

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