April 22, 2024
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Is CO2 a Bigger Existential Threat Than A-Bombs?

Yossi Kuperwasser’s commentary “Implications for Israel of a Return to the Dangerous Iran Deal” (March 31, 2022) brings up the much broader issue, not just to Israel, of worldwide nuclear arms in the wrong hands. Russia, with its massive nuclear arsenal, is in a costly fight with Ukraine, and it is not going well. Meanwhile, the rest of the world and the U.N. are looking on, mostly from the sidelines, with passing reference to the Russian nuclear capability. The world is more myopically fixated on climate change as the greatest existential threat to humanity. A look at history should give a more sobering look at the greater threat.

The only country ever to use nuclear weapons was the United States, to bring an end to the catastrophic World War II. Germany was defeated only after using every advanced weapon it had in its arsenal, including highly sophisticated, advanced missiles. I for one have no doubt that if Hitler had nuclear weapons, he would have used them to stave off ultimate defeat. That is the grave danger when unstable madmen have access to terrible weapons of destruction. In moments of desperation, they may use them, no matter the ultimate consequence.

Today’s “axis of evil” comprises China, Iran and Russia. China is steadily expanding its sphere of influence around the globe, but is not involved now in any armed conflict. Iran is stirring up trouble in many places including the Middle East, but does not yet have nuclear capability.

That leaves Russia, which is militarily involved, and has a massive nuclear capability. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not going as Putin expected, and he must do something spectacular to save face. The use of nuclear weapons, while seemingly unimaginable to the rest of the world, may not be off the table for Putin.

So, the bottom line is whether global warming due to a possible slowly creeping carbon dioxide buildup is a greater existential threat to humanity than a nuclear Armageddon initiated by a desperate madman who does not want to lose an ill-advised war that he himself started.

Max Wisotsky
Highland Park
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