Are We Really in Step with Biden on His Handling of Ukraine’s Liberation – We Should Be Asking Ourselves
Humanity has never come so close to destroying the world, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that is behind the metaphorical Doomsday Clock, which attempts to gauge how close humanity is to the end of existence as we know it.
The Bulletin is comprised of esteemed scientists and currently 11 Nobel Prize laureates. Over time in its 75 years of existence, scientists like Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer and other Manhattan Project alumni have been a part of the organization that was founded originally to measure nuclear threats. But since 2007, it has included other threats to the world in its calculation.
Each January the Bulletin gives a report on the status of the world represented in the Doomsday Clock and 2023 was greeted with a startling movement of 10 seconds forward to 90 seconds until midnight (midnight represents the moment at which the Earth would be uninhabitable for humanity).
Some years the Bulletin will turn back the clock, other years it remains the same. In 2020 due to the threat of COVID-19, the clock moved to an unprecedented two-minute warning and stayed there through 2022 due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In 2022, the bulletin announced, “the world has entered the realm of a two-minute warning, a period when dangerous high and a margin for error is low. It’s a time that requires newfound vigilance and focus from leaders and citizens alike.”
The Bulletin attributes the reasons for the 10 seconds dial-up for 2023 to biological threats like COVID-19, the worsening climate crisis, and the escalated risks of nuclear war over Ukraine.
Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, said at this year’s clock historic unveiling. “It’s a decision our experts do not take lightly. The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability to turn back the Clock.”
As part of the Bulletin’s analysis, Bronson said, they ask two questions: 1) Is humanity safer or at greater risk this year compared to last year? and 2) Is humanity safer or at greater risk this year compared to the more than 75 years the Bulletin has been asking the question?
Stimulates critical thinking
Clearly, the doomsday clock – even as those behind it are mostly scientists – is not meant to be scientific methodology in the strict sense. In other words, there is no real way to measure how close we are to self-annihilation.
Rather the purpose ultimately is to encourage public engagement, to get people talking about serious threats in the world. And for a non-profit, non-political (at least not in the obvious classic mold) source to lay out these threats on a table for the world to assess, there is a high level of attention given to the Bulletin, and arguably greater credibility than if a bunch of editorial boards from distinguished newspapers in the world came together annually to promote an agenda with full consensus.
On Russia’s nuclear threats
The most pressing danger to our existence at the moment is the escalated war in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “Regarding the threat of nuclear war. This threat is growing, and there is no point in denying it.” Putin said that Russia considers nuclear weapons as a means of defense and that its strategy is built around a “counter-strike” — if Russia is attacked, it strikes back.
In 2018, the U.S. under President Donald Trump withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the US and Russia had originally agreed to in 1987.
The INF was a significant nuclear arms control treaty. It banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers. The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles. By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.
The U.S. exited the treaty because China (not included in that treaty) was seen to be a growing military threat. And the U.S. wanted to be freed from the INF to maintain military security.
On April 20, 2022, Russia carried out its first test launch of the RS-28 Sarmat, a new long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Putin said the new missile could defeat any missile defenses, and that it should cause countries threatening Russia to “think twice”.
On April 24, 2022, in response to U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken‘s meeting with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on 23 April, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov stated that further support of Ukraine could cause tensions which could potentially lead to a World War III scenario involving Russia’s full arsenal of weapons.
On January 22, 2023, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Duma, wrote on Telegram that “If Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons.”
And most recently, the U.S. and Germany announced that they would be sending tanks to Ukraine. Previously, tanks (like aircrafts) were considered too escalatory, and the weapons provided to date have been mostly defensive missiles (Javelins, Stingers) and drones, and on offense heavy artillery (Howitzers) machine guns, grenade launchers and various rifles.
Since there hasn’t been much news on this development of NATO sending tanks to aid Ukraine, the Bulletin in its Doomsday announcement comes at a time that should stimulate Americans into thinking about what end we want our government involved in liberating Ukraine, and at what cost.
There has been little to no pushback on President Joe Biden’s agenda in Ukraine. In politics, silence is always interpreted as a tacit agreement. But are we really in a locked agreement as a country in the current course the U.S. is taking in Ukraine? This is a question we all should be asking ourselves. There must be more dialogue on this subject since corporate media no longer is covering the war and potential risks as they used to.
The Bulletin deserves some credit for reigniting conversations on this issue.