The prospect of a nuclear holocaust has always been terrifying. But in the last years of the Cold War and the three decades that followed its end, the existential challenge of nuclear weapons became less of a clear and present danger.
Sure, in the post-1991 era, nuclear war could still happen by mistake. It could break out between two actively hostile nuclear powers like India and Pakistan. It could be triggered by a disgruntled new nuclear club member like North Korea. And, of course, a conflict between the superpowers themselves—United States, China, Russia—could escalate to a nuclear exchange because of miscalculation, misinformation, or simply a few missing synapses in the brains of the leaders.
But what had once been a front-and-center obsession during spikes in Cold War tensions—from backyard bomb shelters to films like The Day After—had become in recent years more like ominous but muted background music. Meanwhile, other existential crises stepped to the fore, like climate change, pandemics, and artificial intelligence run amok. Apocalyptic ends have still loomed large in the public imagination: not so much with a bang any more but a whimper.
Now, after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, nuclear war is once again competing to become the planetary …read more
Source:: Institute for Policy Studies