Friday, October 26, 2018

The Final Solution: Armageddon

Bombing of  Nagasaki (photo: Charles Levy from B-29)
There have been moments when civilization is a hair’s breath from Armageddon. On September 26, l983 Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Air Defense Forces judged that the signal of an incipient United States attack was false. It had been a particularly tense period due to the shooting down a Korean Airlines plane. But how many other close calls have gone unreported? In Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick created a satire that was hauntingly realistic, replete with a Wernher von Braun doppleganger in the form of the film's title character and the mushroom shaped cloud at the movie’s end appearing to the score of “We’ll Meet Again." Russian roulette, not realpolitik, seems to be the best way to describe the pressure pot of international relations. Now bombs are being lobbed by a nameless adversary against avatars of liberalism from former presidents, to a network, an actor and an outspoken congresswoman. A Saudi prince orders the mutilation of a columnist in broad daylight. Santayana said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Remember that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in a backwater named Sarajevo sparked the beginning of World War I. The fission reaction of the H-bomb is ignited by lesser nuclear device. You don’t need a full-fledged altercation between superpowers to result in mass destruction and now with the stakes, like a Mega Millions jackpot, growing exponentially higher, the sky appears to be the limit.

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