Lawrence Wittner joins the show to talk nuclear weapons and the possibility of a nuclear-free world. He explains that the safety of mutually assured destruction has nearly failed several times, and that nuclear war is a very plausible threat to humanity. Beyond the massive casualties likely to result from the hugely increased power of today’s bombs, the smoke and ash could also rise high enough into the air that normal atmospheric processes can’t easily clear them away, causing a global nuclear winter. The consequences of this catastrophe would be even greater than any initial destruction. He also discusses the history of the NPT; that the United States and the Soviet Union sought nuclear monopoly by getting much of the rest of the world to agree never to pursue nuclear weapons, albeit in return for reducing their own arsenals. Wittner explains that while reducing weapons stockpiles is not so difficult (given the deterrent factor of even a small arsenal), eliminating them entirely is very difficult. Fortunately it seems most nations are perfectly happy not to pursue nuclear weapons at all.
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Lawrence Wittner is Professor Emeritus of History at Suny Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement. Follow him on Twitter @LawrenceWittner and at LawrenceSWittner.com.
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