Thursday, March 02, 2017

Op-ed by Lew Patrie, MD

Created by the board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, the Doomsday Clock assesses the likelihood of nuclear war. Those original scientists developed the bombs dropped by the U.S. on Japan in 1945. Current atomic scientists are globally distributed and have expertise in potential impact from nuclear weapons detonation as well as changing geopolitical circumstances.

Each year the clock is reset to forecast the likelihood of nuclear war. The closer the minute hand is to midnight, the closer the board believes the world is to nuclear Armageddon. Over the decades “minutes to midnight” warnings have varied from 17 to the current 2 1/2 minutes to midnight. Thus these experts are telling us that dangers from nuclear weapons and worldwide doom have never been greater.

Nuclear weapons nations have failed to effectively act to reduce these death dealing devices. Many people think these weapons need to be kept only in the hands of responsible world leaders. In an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 23, Dr. Ira Helfand and Dr. Robert Dodge noted that “A growing chorus of politicians and national security experts have questioned whether it would be safe” for any one person to control the nuclear button. “The right question for us to ask is: should anyone be able to press the nuclear button? And the right answer is a resounding “No.”

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