The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the symbolic Doomsday Clock one step closer to the end of humanity on Thursday, moving it forward by 30 seconds after what the organization called a “grim assessment” of the state of our geopolitical situation.
“As of today,” Bulletin president Rachel Bronson said to reporters, “it is two minutes to midnight” — as close as the world has ever been to the hour of apocalypse.
The organization (which has 15 Nobel laureates on its board) cited “the failure of President Trump and other world leaders to deal with looming threats of nuclear war and climate change.”
Comments from the Bulletin and others:
“In fact, the Doomsday Clock is as close to midnight today as it was in 1953, when Cold War fears perhaps reached their highest levels.”
“…to call the world’s nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger and its immediacy.”
“There is little doubt that the risk that nuclear weapons may be used — intentionally or because of miscalculation — grew last year around the globe,” Rosner said.
“I think it would be very hard for the clock not to move forward,” said Alex Wellerstein, a spcialist in the history of nuclear weapons at the Stevens Institute of Technology. “We have members of Congress, White House advisers, and even the president implying that they think war with a nuclear state is not only likely, but potentially desirable. That’s unusual and disturbing. “The question I have is: How much forward can they go?”
“Whenever the clock is set, we answer two basic questions,” Bronson said in an interview in the fall. “Is the world safer, or at greater risk than it was a year ago? And is it safer or at greater risk than it was ever in the clock’s history?”
“…the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change.”
But the organization also cited Trump — “who has promised to impede progress on both of those fronts,” Krauss and retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley wrote in an op-ed last year. “Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.”
“Over the year, there has been increased tensions with North Korea, nuclear threats conveyed by President Trump and Kim Jong Un, tensions with Russia are higher — perhaps as difficult as they have been since the end of the Cold War,” he said Wednesday. Within days, Kimball noted, the Trump administration is set to announce a nuclear strategy that calls for expanding the role of U.S. nuclear weapons. “So the risk of a nuclear conflict by accident or by design is unfortunately growing higher,” he added.
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
“People of the world: If governments are not acting to protect you as they should, you need to take the lead,” Krauss said. “It is not yet midnight, and we have moved back from the brink in the past. Whether we do so in the future may be in your hands.”