Real Doomsday clock passed midnight long ago
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock first appeared in 1947. Everyone was reeling from the photographs of the vaporization of Hiroshima. It was thought that atomic war would wipe out everyone on earth. This almost happened in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which the top page of Google informs us was a “direct and dangerous confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.”
I didn’t need to go to Google to find this out. It was a defining moment in my life. Women were refusing to have children because they didn’t want them to live in a world of fear and probable atomization. We moved to the Welsh mountains in a pathetic attempt to do something, anything, and stocked up on food. In America, there was a brisk trade in fallout shelters. It was my friend, the late Ernest Sternglass, who stopped the atmospheric testing by getting to President Kennedy with the calculation that several million children had died from exposure to fallout Strontium-90 building up in the milk and their bones – seeds planted for the global cancer epidemic that began 20 years later.
The Doomsday clock signaling nuclear annihilation at midnight is a simple illustration of the fact that, although life on Earth has been around for billions of years, Clever Old Man has developed a system that could switch it off with an hour-long fireworks extravaganza. Now it has been extended to global warming, virus pandemics, and more or less anything that the media has decided makes a good scare story. The clock has now been advanced to two and a half minutes to midnight. By Scientists.
This is the way the World ends—not with a bang, but a whimper. - T.S. Eliot; The Hollow Men, 1925
Let’s think about this a bit. What scientists? The clock is not a scientific concept. It is an emotional cry for help. What are these scientists using as data for their decision? In the last ten years, for all sorts of reasons relating to the destabilization of the world through various obviously organized operations (Twin Towers, Al-Qaeda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria etc.), a kind of continuous bombing operation on poor countries has contributed to the profits of arms manufacturers. Added to all this is the US abandonment of the arms limitation agreements and the re-investment in missile development. We see NATO creeping closer to Russia, and the absurd attempts by the US to bring Ukraine into the operation. Is this why the clock has been moved?
No. It is apparently Donald Trump.
In the post-truth era, belief is created by the media: Google (again) reports that the Guardian, Telegraph, and “Science” blame the movement of the clock’s hands on the election of Mr. Trump. ABC10 seems to think it is global warming. But global warming, even in worst case scenarios, won’t wipe out life on Earth. And a virus pandemic would always have some survivors. A total nuclear exchange would not: so that is what we are dealing with. It is still a real possibility. But not because of Donald Trump. The election of Trump, and Brexit also, is a spontaneous creation of civil society in countries that have seen their lives ruined by globalization and what has been called “the New World Order.”
What I see in Mr. Trump is an independent flamboyant showman along the lines of an earlier US President, Andrew Jackson – a man who also tried to destroy the US establishment. Trump clearly thinks outside the system of smoke and mirrors that passes for Western media news, the constructions on the web and TV and newspapers that are increasingly spun and slanted with nonsense and demonstrable lies about the state of the world. Like the Doomsday clock story.
If I were running the Doomsday clock, the election of Trump would make me put the clock back rather than forward. He doesn’t trust the US security services. He disassociates his Presidency from the collection of dodgy characters previously running the show. This was a revolution against the fat-cat control of America and its continuous war against the people on the planet, fought as if the world was a battleground. This machine that emerged in the post-war period is well known to readers of spy novels. It was fueled by paranoia about Communism and the immense amounts of power and wealth associated with developing and manufacturing weapons. When the Soviet Union broke up and the US could no longer justify the huge military budget (presently about 600 billion dollars), other enemies had to be found. Bombs had to be dropped on someone, in order to order new ones. Hence the continuous and endless wars about “democracy” and “freedom.”
Let’s look at some scenarios. How big an exchange would represent apocalypse? A baseline is the atmospheric testing that peaked in megaton yield and radioactive fallout in 1959-63. This did not wipe out humanity, although there was a mini nuclear winter in the 60s. The European Committee on Radiation Risk estimated some 60 million extra cancers together with a few million dead babies (about 0.2% of births) as the consequence.
Nuclear exchanges between India and Pakistan, or Israel and Iran, would not do the trick. The number of warheads involved would result in some mega-Hiroshimas and global fallout contamination would jump, but there would be no end of the world. The combined yield of the approximately 100+100 warheads (say 200 kilotons each) would be just about equal the yield of the 1962 Tsar Bomba 50-megaton test on its own. And Iran has no nuclear weapons, but even if it had, an Israel-Iran exchange would be even feebler than India-Pakistan. North Korea? The same. As for China, it has no real enemies, and the Chinese have always been traders rather than invaders. China is doing alright and doesn’t need to attack anyone.
So, what is the real Doomsday threat? It is the US government’s obsession with Russia, the tail of the Cold War guard dog of the spy novels. It is the encroachment of NATO (let’s be clear, of the US war machine) on the borders of Russia. It is the deployment of sophisticated (and enormously expensive) antimissile systems in countries like Rumania and Poland. It is the crazy world view of NATO and US generals who want to (and have) put troops and materiel into the Baltic States (where I live), on the basis that the “expansionist Russians” are intent on marching over the borders of Latvia and taking back their lost empire.
Since I moved to Riga in 2010, I have seen the NATO infestation of the country. New (US) tanks with the Latvian Flag rumble though the villages, and helicopters thud overhead disturbing the badgers and deer in the forest. Russia has no need to invade Latvia; it can get what it wants or needs. But the media whip up a frenzy of fear that there will be a Russian invasion. There is even a book about this insanity written by a general, retired Deputy NATO commander Sir Richard Shirreff.
Like most things in politics, this is about money. The Media demonizes Trump because he won’t follow the master plan to globalize the planet, driving down unit costs by moving manufacturing around to the lowest wage countries. And the plan to control access through fake democracy wars to diminishing resources (oil) whilst making huge amounts of money for the arms manufacturers that are supplying the global battlefield – Raytheon, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas et al. Trump has said he will increase military spending in the USA, but stop importing weapons, a kind of Keynesian approach to “Making America Great Again,” but as I see it this will not necessarily affect the NATO/ Russia tinderbox. It may rather cause European countries to require NATO to buy weapons in Europe, or even to abandon NATO and set up a European version.
I myself still have an iron in this fire. Inspired by the Perdana Peace Foundation’s campaign to criminalize war, Ditta Rietuma, general secretary of NationalState.INFO, and I have addressed these issues and their solution for some years in conferences in three languages from Latvia and Sweden, for example, recently at the Latvian Academy of Sciences in Riga.
The real Doomsday clock passed midnight long ago. The mad race to extinction fueled by the market-forces laissez faire Western system has created a monster: a system that is not really controlled by anyone, but drives itself with only one imperative – to become richer and more powerful, so as to become richer and more powerful.
This monster has no soul; it was not constructed to look after life on the planet. Following the nuclear fallout, and nuclear energy accidents, the depleted Uranium, and now the fracking, background radioactivity is continuously increasing. The fertility rate is falling. IVF is advancing. Cancer is an epidemic in real terms. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.