Friday, July 09, 2010

The Russell–Einstein Manifesto

55 years ago, on this day, in London, a note was issued, urging world leaders to recognize and understand the threat of nuclear weapons in the hope of nuclear disarmament. It was signed by, among others, as the name itself suggests, Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell.

Today, the cold war is history, but if estimations are to believed, there exist about 23000 active nuclear weapons, in the form of either missiles that can be launched within a matter of minutes, or strategic weapons placed in different nations. One can seek consolation from the fact that their numbers have fallen from the total of 65000 active such weapons known to have existed in the year 1985.

Reduction in the number of weapons of mass destruction simply isn't a solution, for the threat nevertheless looms large. For instance, a gun with 3 rounds poses just about the same threat to life as another fully loaded one. Treaties such as START, SALT and the NPT, among others seek the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, however, they are not without flaws and bias!

The last time the world came dangerously close a nuclear conflict was in October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, nations and people have come to work closely with one another thanks very much to the politics of diplomacy. Yet, the threat of a dirty bomb is ever present, thanks to a rabid proliferation network established by the likes of A. Q. Khan with the complicity of intelligence services of China and Pakistan, to name a few that is!

Therefore, E. L. Doctorow couldn't have been more right when, at the thick of the cold war, he wrote, that "it was first our weaponry and then our diplomacy, and now it is our economy! How can we suppose that something so monstrously powerful would not, after forty years, compose our identity?"


Full text of the Russell–Einstein Manifesto

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