MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
The Doomsday Clock has been moved within one hundred seconds to midnight. For the longest time, the scientists that are responsible for the Manhattan Project have created this imaginary clock that they arbitrarily move far away or closer to midnight to indicate how close we are coming to a virtual Armageddon.
The truth is that these ‘Atomic scientists’ that warn us about how close we are coming to the end have no special authority when they give us their opinion on politics or military strategy.
As a matter of fact, the Doomsday Clock has about as much accuracy as Punxsutawney Phil predicting the winter weather. The only thing is that the groundhog tradition is harmless but a doomsday clock is becoming as annoying as the secular doomsayers that warn us of the expiration date we have because of climate change.
The Doomsday Clock time is now much closer to midnight than it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis which had seven minutes when the world really was on the precipice of a nuclear holocaust.
Maybe this information was lost in all of the Impeachment talk or in all of the worries of Climate change and this, in my opinion, is a problem.
What was once used as an indicator of how close we are getting to doomsday is not even making an impact anymore.
Even with it ending up 100 seconds before doomsday, the impact on world leaders and the media is the same as when you hit the snooze bar on your alarm clock. We are now asleep when it comes to the real dangers of not only nuclear war but radiation exposure from a proposed clean power source, nuclear energy.
This clock has moved back and forth while lingering frighteningly close to midnight for more than 70 years and now we are seeing it clicking at 100 seconds. The question is whether or not this Doomsday Clock matters—if it is politically set or if it is just another type of crying wolf as the world is already having enough hysteria about the apocalypse.
The real reason why the clock has now been positioned closer to midnight is not because of any nuclear threat but because of the wildfires in Australia and how they somehow connected to climate change. It once edged closer to midnight because of the election of Donald Trump and unproven fears that he would bush the big red button annihilating all of us in a mushroom cloud.
The clock also moved closer to midnight citing fake news as a reason for putting us perilously close to doomsday – it was then that I questioned the purpose of a clock that was created by the very same scientists that put us in the crosshairs of doom with the Manhattan Project.
The point is this: the Doomsday Clock is meant to warn us of impending nuclear annihilation – not some political maneuvering and warnings of climate agendas.
Nuclear weapons could end human civilization in a day. The generation of greenhouse gases associated with human industrial activity won’t. If there is a crisis, it will be long term and likely to have devastating impacts, that will emerge over the long term and be spread unevenly across the globe.
This type of showboating may set a dangerous precedent for a world that is already getting a constant barrage of doomsday messages about climate crisis to create a bridge to creating the global plantation by the year 2030.
Psychologist Steven Pinker argues that the clock is anything but a scientific instrument. In Mr. Pinker’s view, the annual announcement is a publicity stunt that demeans the scientific community and makes the world seem more dangerous than it actually is.
The clock has been a successful publicity stunt for years but a lot of people do not see it that way – they see it as something that is akin to a Defcon rating or a barometer that measures just how close we are to pushing the button and blowing us all to kingdom come.
I would say that perhaps we need to look at the clock again and wonder if we truly have overslept our way into a possible nuclear afternoon or a nuclear afterthought.
During the Impeachment hearing, Adam Schiff did what he does best – he actually used emotional improvisation as a way to convey what believes to be the truth.
One thing that he mentioned really had nothing to do with Trump but it had everything to do with our relationship with Ukraine, Russia, and China.
During the second day of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Schiff said: “the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”
When I heard that, I was surprised – Schiff declared that we are at war with Russia.
Now, I know he is well known for embellishing and making things up but boy, that was a big one.
I am sure many Americans were surprised to learn that we are fighting Russia through Ukraine occupation.
For years, we have seen Russia as an adversary but a secret war between the United States and Russia or China was usually considered a “conspiracy theory.” But Schiff raised the United States fighting Russia not just as a possibility, but as a statement of present fact.
None of the Atomic Scientists in charge of setting the Doomsday Clock mentioned this.
Or were we sleeping because the clock means absolutely nothing?
The United States and Russia each possess over 6,000 nuclear weapons. Just a fraction of these is sufficient to kill billions of people and destroy human society. A war between these two countries, in other words, would be a cataclysmic disaster.
And yet, the entire political establishment, from the Democrats with their anti-Russian hysteria to the Atomic Scientists’ idea that Trump threatens the entire world are preparing for a military conflict on a scale not seen since World War II.
Schiff made the statement that our intelligence groups do not lie and that Trump believes Russian intelligence. Schiff also seems to think that he has a better grasp on intelligence and has already declared that we are at war with Russia.
What timeline does he live in?
If he is giving us a hint, then perhaps we should already move the Doomsday Clock to 10 seconds before midnight.
The move to putting the clock at 100 seconds to midnight was carried out because according to the Atomic Scientists:
“Civilization-ending nuclear war, whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication, is a genuine possibility; Any belief that the threat of nuclear war has been vanquished is a mirage.”
The report adds, “To say the world is nearer to doomsday today than during the Cold War… is to make a profound assertion that demands serious explanation.”
It also states that :
“The international political infrastructure for controlling existential risk is degrading, leaving the world in a situation of high and rising threat. Global leaders are not responding appropriately to reduce this threat level and counteract the hollowing-out of international political institutions, negotiations, and agreements that aim to contain it. The result is a heightened and growing risk of disaster.”
Last year, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which prohibited the deployment of land-based missiles, including nuclear missiles, with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
Led by the United States, the world’s nuclear powers are massively expanding and modernizing their arsenals. In December, the US tested a ballistic missile that would have violated the treaty.
These moves are part of US preparations for what Defense Secretary Mark Esper called “high-intensity conflicts against competitors such as Russia and China.”
The latest missile test came just days after House Democrats voted for a massive military spending bill that stripped out language limiting the Trump administration’s ability to develop and deploy new nuclear weapons while handing the president the largest military budget in US history.
After withdrawing from the INF treaty in August, the Trump White House is moving rapidly ahead with a $1 trillion plan to expand, “modernize” and miniaturize the US nuclear arsenal, effectively putting US nuclear forces on a hair-trigger.
The expansion of US nuclear forces is central to the Trump Administration’s refocus on preparations for “great-power conflict” with Russia and China, in line with its doctrine, announced in 2018, that “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.”
The existing system of international relations and arms control treaties is slowly, but steadily crumbling. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is dead, with both Washington and Moscow publicly developing previously banned short-to-medium range missiles. The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is also moving towards its end in 2021, and it is likely that New START will not be renewed. The United States, China, and Russia are developing hypersonic weapons, which are not limited by any existing arms control treaties. The major powers are preparing for a possible global conflict. The dismantlement of the system of international treaties is another factor increasing military tensions around the world.
The public hardly ever debates the ever-present danger of a world with 10,000 nuclear weapons. People would rather not think about it. Nuclear disarmament – the real reason for the Doomsday Clock doesn’t seem to be an issue we are allowing nuclear weapons proliferation.
The clock itself is set by policy and various agendas – putting things like Climate Change and politics into the mix makes the issue trivial.
No matter who is president or whatever the climate, nuclear proliferation and the rumors of war should be a major issue.
Not only is the Doomsday Clock unscientific, the factors of its setting are now dominated more by policy questions than scientific ones. The former may be important, but claiming that the authority of “atomic scientists” with regards to climate change and who is in the Whitehouse is highly inappropriate.
Russia is actively working towards restoring lost Soviet capabilities and developing new strategic deterrence projects. One of them is the Dead Hand, also known as the Perimeter. This Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system is one of the most protected secrets and most important deterrence tools of the USSR and Russia.
The Dead Hand is the last line of deterrence in the event of a crippling nuclear strike. It entered into service in 1985, shortly after a major escalation in 1983, which had almost led to war between the US and the Soviet Union.
It has been likened to a real-life doomsday machine.
Upon activation and determination of an ongoing nuclear strike, the system sends out command missiles with special warheads that pass encrypted launch commands to all nuclear weapon carriers of the sea, air and ground components of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces.
In peacetime conditions, the system is in suspension waiting for a turn-on command or an alarm signal from the missile attack early-warning system.
It has a human “firewall,” for example, an on-duty officer who would switch it into the fully automated mode.
Therefore, they tell us that there is no risk of an accidental or unauthorized missile launch. Having received a command or signal about missiles being launched from the territory of other countries, this Dead Hand goes into an automated combat mode. Through a wide-scale sensor network, it monitors signs of an incoming nuclear strike.
The decision to launch command missiles is made by an autonomous control and command system – a complex pseudo-artificial intelligence system. The system receives and analyzes a variety of information about seismic activity, radiation, atmospheric pressure, and the intensity of chatter on military radio frequencies.
It monitors telemetry from the observation posts of the strategic missile force and data from early warning systems.
A dead hand system actually guarantees mutually assured destruction.
While the Doomsday Clock marks the stroke of midnight as the hour of humanity’s annihilation, in reality, the multiple threats of climate change, pandemics and weaponized technology will more likely ring in an apocalypse that probably won’t be quick or final.
Some become philosophical and say that the clock warns us and perhaps encourages the world to avoid annihilation.
But today the clock’s setting is determined more by concerns about how superpowers can engage in arms-control talks, about potentially reckless saber-rattling by world leaders, or about what policies would best reduce carbon emissions.
Some see these issues as the talking points for some daunting questions, but not ones on which atomic scientists can claim special authority.
When it comes to the apocalypse, it seems a lot of people wish to get into the act and while the Doomsday Clock has been seen as an indicator of how close we have come to doomsday, the very idea of continuing the stoking of the fires of the eschaton is a very very contagious affair as many people who think the clock has any credibility will set their alarm for the end of the world.
The US military has made clear that its overriding concern today is how to effectively defend the likes of Taiwan and the Baltic states against a potential Chinese or Russian attack.
It is clear that any such conflict risks escalation into nuclear war.
The fact that every major power is rearming with nukes makes clear that this is the insanity not of individuals, but of a social class and a social order – that will fight to the death if need be to have the global government they wish to build from the ashes of the old.
So, is it time to reset that Doomsday Clock? Should we retire it because it is either telling the wrong time or it has stopped at just seconds before we get the rude awakening?
This multiplication of threats has heightened the sense of alarm but so far, no alarm has gone off.