No. But after what happened Thursday, it appears it could happen soon.
The Doomsday Clock was created two years after the catastrophe in which the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan during WWII. The wikipedia article on The Doomsday Clock begins, “The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face that represents a countdown to possible global catastrophe (e.g., nuclear war or climate change). It has been maintained since 1947 by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists . . . including 18 Nobel Laureates. The closer they set the Clock to midnight, the closer the scientists believe the world is to global disaster.”
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia needs to modernize its nuclear weapons. But the next day he indicated that Russia already has been involved in a program of modernizing its nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons arsenals can deteriorate. U.S. President Barak Obama has had a plan to upgrade the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal during the next decade at the huge cost of $1 trillion.
Hours after this first Putin revelation, U.S. President-elect Donal Trump tweeted, “the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” Much speculation followed about what Trump meant. That’s because he often speaks in generalities, leaving listeners guessing about specifics. Trump’s unusual habit of making constant announcements on his Twitter account is a contributing factor to such guessing about what he means since it allows him to avoid answering media questions. So, there was debate as to whether or not he advocated a nuclear arms race. The next day, Trump seemed to clarify himself by saying in a telephone interview, “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” Another nuclear arms race would not be good.
Putin then responded. He said he would not be drawn into an arms race with the U.S. He also said Russia had improved its nuclear capabilities so that it can overcome any missile defense system the U.S. now has and has given to its allies. If that is true, why does Russia object so strongly about the U.S., as a member of NATO, placing missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, which it claims is for the purpose of being prepared against Iran if its has nuclear weapons.
This admission by Putin seemed to be new information that the U.S. has not addressed. Putin added that Russia has made such improvements to its nuclear readiness without violating New Start. This treaty with the U.S. involves nuclear disarmament.
In March this year, during Donald Trump’s campaign for U.S. president, he mentioned the rogue state North Korea with its nuclear weapons testing. Japan and South Korea are U.S. allies that have treaties with the U.S. to guarantee their protection against an enemy attack, such as from the belligerent North Korea. (Japan has no military due to an enforced restriction after WWII.) Trump said, “Japan and North Korea need to get their own nuclear weapons.” He said this because of his penchant that the U.S. should no longer provide such costly protection for its allies. For example, ever since the Korean War, the U.S. has kept nearly 40,000 troops in South Korea near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which divides the two Koreas. And Trump has said that the U.S. should no longer fund NATO as it does, providing about one third of its budget.
With this latest nuclear rhetoric by Trump and Putin, it appears they may scrap New Start. This possible new direction toward a nuclear arms race could lead to a FALSE START, in which both sides could be more susceptible to a mistaken nuclear exchange.
If the U.S. and Russia renew the nuclear arms race that the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in vigorously during the Cold War, which lasted a generation, it could spark arms races between other nations, such as Japan and South Korea with North Korea, Saudi Arabia with Iran, and Pakistan with India, both of whom have nuclear weapons. Also worrisome would be further nuclear proliferation to non-nuclear weapons nations.
It seems to me that because of this rhetoric by the world’s two leading heads of state next month, the Doomsday Clock will soon be moved closer to midnight. That reminds me of my several posts about Bible prophecies of wars being fought in the latter days with primitive weapons. This requires that before that happens, the world will rid itself of not only all nuclear weapons and other Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), but all conventional weapons as well. I speculate that in order for this to happen, the world may not do as Trump said Thursday, “until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” until the world experiences them again, perhaps far greater than it did in 1945. To read more about this horrendous possibility, see my following posts about future world disarmament: North Korea’s Growing Nuclear Capability Is Worrisome; The Doctrine of Imminence Prevents Abolishing Guns, Nuclear Disarmament Goes to World Court, Someday No More Guns.