Thursday, May 16, 2024



Yesterday in my car I was listening to Maine Public Radio’s discussion on Russia’s threat to use a nuclear weapon in the Ukraine war.   The consensus was that we are closer than we have ever been since Nagasaki to another nuclear weapon being used against a civilian population.

The question was posed, what would happen if Putin dropped a nuclear bomb in Ukraine in order to bring about immediate surrender and an end to Russia’s war?

The answer was unanimous: Nothing.  

The United States and other Nuclear nations would be afraid of escalating into an all-out nuclear holocaust.   There would be talks and sanctions and condemnation, but there would be no military response. 

Russia has the largest nuclear stockpile in the world, and the largest yield nuclear weapon: the Tsar thermonuclear bomb.  The United States has the second largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, but enough to bring about a mass extinction. 

When I read American Prometheus, the story of Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the first atomic bomb, a small paragraph stood out to me.  The mathematicians had decided that there was a small chance that the nuclear explosion could cause a chain reaction that would ignite the atmosphere rendering earth a dead planet.  When pressed for a statistic the answer was “not zero.”    Yet Oppenheimer and the scientist pressed ahead.  Just before the bomb was exploded the scientist were taking bets as to the yield, but Enrico Fermi, in a little graveyard humor, was taking bets the atmosphere would ignite. 

Where am I going with this?   Fucked if I know. 

But a Casandra warning: There are enough nuclear weapons stockpiled on this earth to bring about a mass extinction – many times over.   What could possibly go wrong?

The Ol’Buzzard


1 comment:

COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."