| Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Since the end of the Cold War, there has never been a time that a threat of nuclear war hangs thick in the air until now. Many are unaware or may have forgotten that after the Second World War, we have lived in a world where the balance of power among the superpowers hinges on a strategic military doctrine called Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD. Simply put, “you kill me, I kill you.” For decades earth has enjoyed relative peace despite the collapse of the former Soviet Union and regional conflicts that erupted now and then.
In the intervening years, several smaller or less developed countries have acquired their own nuclear arsenal. This development has complicated the already fragile detente between various coalition forces. We can put the players in the nuclear arms race in two major categories: democratic and autocratic leaders.
Nuclear countries with strong democratic institutions are less worrisome because there are hurdles to overcome for leaders in an open society to pursue a war plan. On the other hand, autocratic leaders have very few constraints, which are in full display today in the Russian-Ukraine war.
“Until nations renounce nuclear and weapons of mass destruction, we will never achieve the full measure of humanity and the brotherhood of men. We will continue to live under the primitive laws of the jungle with the trappings of modern technology.”
Besides the form of government as a factor in the predisposition of a country to start a war, the temperament and personal agenda of a leader is a deciding factor. Man’s political instinct has not progressed enough for us to count on a “philosopher-king,” as Plato had envisioned in the Republic, chosen to be a leader of a country and be responsible for keeping the peace or pushing the “red button.” It has always been man’s precarious predicament.
It is hard to call ourselves civilized when what keeps the peace is the ability of a country to bully and another to acquiesce on the basis of who holds a bigger stick. As a civilization, we are supposed to have emerged out of the dark ages. Yet, we see a nation reduced to ashes from a whimsical war waged by a delusional autocrat who holds the world hostage by his threats of unleashing weapons of mass destruction. Sadly, we are not a true community of nations when a country covets his neighbor’s land-based on some historical fiction concocted as an excuse to trample the rights of a sovereign state.
Until nations renounce nuclear and weapons of mass destruction, we will never achieve the full measure of humanity and the brotherhood of men. We will continue to live under the primitive laws of the jungle with the trappings of modern technology. We are no different from the predators and prey that roam the dark places of the earth. We need to recognize that human life is sacred not for the stripes that mark a man, the space he occupies, the language he communicates, the customs he practices, the gods he worships, or the dreams filling his nights. We are born into these things not to make us separate as human nature makes us believe. We look at the world with the mind’s blinders of prejudice and pettiness that divide and set us apart.
Until then, we’ll continue to live in a world gone MAD!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at email@example.com.