The Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

DoomsdayClock2In recent years, the world has become a more dangerous place in which to live. This is indicated by the Doomsday Clock. This metaphorical graphic is the brainchild of scientists who banded together in 1947 to form the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The impetus for this organization and its Doomsday Clock was the U.S. dropping two atomic bombs on Japan two years earlier, which soon led to the ending of WWII. These scientists were worried about the future development of atomic weapons and their possible destruction. Some of those scientists had worked on the Manhatten Project, which developed and produced the atomic bomb.

So, due to increased dangers in the world, the day before this past Christmas I posted, “Did the Doomsday Clock Just Move Closer to Midnight?” Then I started 2017 off with this post, “Doomsday Clock Looms Larger in 2017.” Both posts were right on target.

About every two-to-five years, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists re-evaluates the position of the minute hand on their Doomsday Clock and then often changes it. They base this on their perception of the possibility of catastrophes happening in the world. So, last week, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the minute hand of their Doomsday Clock from three minutes to midnight to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight. That is the closest they have set the minute hand to midnight in the past 64 years.

Lawrence Krauss–a theoretical physicist and chairman of the board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists–said last week when they moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin were mostly to blame for the heightened threat.

One thing happened last year that surely caused these scientists concern. During the political campaign for the U.S. presidency, Republican candidate Donald Trump–who eventually became elected and was inaugurated last week–said that Japan and South Korea need to get their own nuclear weapons. Such proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world definitely would make the world a more dangerous place to live. Mr. Trump said this in response to his advocating that the U.S. needs to focus more on its own citizens than protecting the citizens of its allied nations, which costs the U.S. both financial capital and use of our military power, which sometimes includes soldiers. For example, for many decades the U.S. has stationed 40,000 of its own troops along the DMZ border between North Korea and South Korea–who have never signed a peace treaty since the Korean War ended in 1953.

Trump also campaigned by alleging that NATO was an ineffective organization and that the U.S. should not continue to provide one third of its budget as it has done for many years. This alarmed Europeans but made Russian President Putin happy. He reportedly often takes measures to try to de-stabilize NATO and eastern European countries on Russia’s western border. Those nations used to be satellites of the U.S.S.R. before it collapsed in 1991.

Trump also campaigned declaring that the recent nuclear treaty that the U.S. and five other European ally nations signed with Iran was “a disaster,” and he threatened to declare it void if he were become president.

It remains to be seen if U.S. President Donald Trump will be a de-stabilizing force in the world regarding the possibility of human-induced catastrophes, or not. If so, the Doomsday Clock could get moved even closer to midnight, perhaps two minutes to midnight as in 1953, which is the closest it has ever been to midnight.