Discover more from The Newsletter of Dr. Bandy X. Lee
Millions So Far, Billions Ahead?
The “millions” and “billions” I am referring to are not about money. Rather, I am talking about human beings, in terms of recent, and maybe future, “war deaths.” Let me enumerate, and let me loudly warn.
The numbers coming from new studies released this month serve to underscore my own advancement of the Doomsday Clock earlier this year to 60 seconds, and more recently to 50, the official count notwithstanding, as the actual annihilation of human civilization becomes an ever greater probability.
The official Doomsday Clock keepers are quite restrained, because of their establishment connections and funding, but the rest of us should not be any less than tremendously concerned. It was in January 2020 that the Doomsday Clock keepers, for the first time ever, advanced the countdown to seconds rather than minutes. Then, quite negligently, there was no clock movement at all, despite numerous reasons to do so, until January of this year, when they seemingly reluctantly advanced the clock to 90 seconds.
Before I get back to the “millions” and “billions”, I would like to highlight two university studies that have come out this month. Something crucial about “arms control” has also happened this month: it is essentially gone. There is no more meaningful arms control. The U.S. and NATO countries are flooding Europe with more and more advanced bombs, missiles, planes, and troops, building a whole new generation of super nuclear bombs and advanced unstoppable delivery systems. The Russians have responded this month by formally ending all restrictions on their own production and placement of arms, including hyper strategic and advanced nuclear weapons. China is responding as well with a rapidly escalating weapons buildup and considerable nuclear arms expansion—essentially in response to the U.S. pushing the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization” into the Pacific by creating what is in effect an anti-China Pacific NATO, now including Japan, the Philippines, Australia, South Korea, and beyond. Even South Korea has entered into a landmark deal with Washington last month, to have the U.S. periodically deploy nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea in unprecedented ways.
In addition to military bases and land forces, all major powers are now vastly expanding their submarine, naval, and space forces, in addition to cyber and chemical or biological weapons—all essentially preparing, so they actually proclaim, to “fight and win” the Armageddon War.
The level of this delusion is now beyond the practical, so as to be psychological and even psychiatric. In January 2018, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists briefly mentioned psychological factors in terms of “reckless language” as playing a role in advancing us toward our metaphorical midnight. The Doomsday Clock must be acknowledged to be ticking faster and louder, and with far more powerful, super weapons than could have been imagined when it was created in 1947, right after World War II.
Now about MILLIONS. New and admittedly very conservative and minimal estimates, coming from a Brown University study, are that, as a result of the post-9/11 “War on Terrorism,” some 4.5 million humans have perished, with far more injured and suffering.
Now about BILLIONS. A major study at Rutgers University has released conclusions this month about the likely consequences of limited, regional, and great-power nuclear war: A limited exchange between India and Pakistan, for instance, beyond immediate deaths, has the potential in addition to radioactivity to decimate global food supplies, leading to rampant ongoing death and suffering worldwide for years to come. Such a “regional” war involving less than 3 percent of the world’s stockpiles of nuclear weapons could as a result kill one-third of the world’s population in just two years. If there were a large-scale nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia, the conflict would likely result in more than 6 billion, three-fourths of the world’s population, perishing in just two years.
As “insane” as our world seems to be (I will further explain this term below and in future articles), also this month a public report from the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concludes with the expectation that Russia is being pushed to use tactical nuclear weapons, and probably will, in Ukraine, breaking the taboo and creating an ominous escalation situation. Indeed, just as this report was being released, Russia publicly declared that U.S. and NATO policies were creating a “colossal risk” situation, and Russian media are overflowing with threats to use nuclear weapons against the U.K., other NATO countries, and the U.S., if need be.
And so this is the situation in which, and the reasons why, I and my colleagues, unconstrained as are the official Doomsday Clock keepers, have on our own advanced the clock of Ultimate Violence and Armageddon to 50 seconds.
At the very moment that humanity needs to be pooling its resources and talent to confront climate destruction, to feed and clothe the poor and exploited, to prepare for the next pandemic, we are instead devoting our resources and talent to preparing ever deadlier war weapons with truly insane ideas about “winning” World War III.
Insanity! Are we “lemmings”, marching toward extinction? The spread of this phenomenon is one of the reasons I have introduced the phrase, “death spiral” into our collective discourse. “Insanity”, like “unfitness”, is a functional term, decided on by governmental bodies once mental health experts make their medical assessments. However, no body is consulting the most critically-relevant experts on the most consequential issues of our day. As a result, we sever ourselves from real solutions and choose a world that is truly spiraling out of control. The further we descend this “spiral”, the more irrational and self-destructive our decisions will become, and the only logical consequence is collective death.
These “Ultimate Violence” issues and concerns will be the subject of my next special, additional “Ask Dr. Lee” session, to happen on June 3, 2023. Please subscribe for more information, and encourage your colleagues and friends to join as well.