By now you’ve probably heard the news that earlier this month, there was a mishap while testing Hawaii’s Emergency Broadcast System which resulted in thousands of people receiving an alert that a ballistic missile was inbound and to seek immediate shelter. In the wake of the incident, dozens of think-pieces on what would have happened if the alert had been genuine have been written, and the general trend with these articles has been how unprepared everyone for the possibility of an actual nuclear strike happening.
A few days ago, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists even moved the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight (the closest it’s been since 1953). Obviously all this has gotten people a little freaked out, but honestly, we all need to calm down a bit, take a step back, and really look at what’s happening here.
The reason this danger is so daunting is because America has a horrible imperialist foreign policy which has only grown in power and scale since the end of the Cold War – particularly since the Bush years – and there’s never really been any serious attempt to hold anyone accountable or to put constraints on the power of the executive branch. Now that there’s a belligerent madman in power who’s possibly Tweet- comparing the nuclear arsenal to the size of his penis, people are forced to confront the fact that we’ve been digging our own grave for thirty years now. The absurd neoconservative policies that leftists have been screaming about all this time are finally reaching the point where people are realizing that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to intrust world-ending power into the hands of a single person.
I think we can all see that there’s a lot of resurgent cold war-era tensions in the world, what with all the US-Russia shenanigans that have been dominating the headlines for the past year, and the recent drama with North Korea. It’s completely understandable that people would panic a bit about nuclear war. I get it, both the desire for some real human drama in your life (of the “we’re both in the blast radius and this is the last chance before we die, lets have sex!” sort), and just generally wanting to die in a fiery blaze of apocalyptic devastation, but the truth is that it’s not going to happen.
To be clear, the prospect of Trump – impulsive dipshit that he is – launching military action against North Korea is not improbable, but in the unlikely event that he actually manages to launch a nuclear strike, the devastation would be largely confined to the Korean Peninsula. It would be an absolute nightmare, a humanitarian crisis on a scale that we’ve never seen before – and that’s before we get into the insane response to the deaths of the thousands of American soldiers stationed in South Korea – but it would not be the end-of-civilization scenario that people are envisioning.
The sad truth of the matter is that we don’t get off that easily! We don’t all get to usher in the end of the world and just go out in a blaze of glory, conveniently escaping the endless, grinding horror that is reality now; we created this shit situation and now we have to live with the consequences.
By: Matt Pond