You can’t put the Genie back in the bottle. The twentieth century brought about a weapon of such magnitude that we now, for the first time in the history of our existence as a species, have the power to utterly destroy our entire planet. I’m not talking about fossil fuels, though their use ranks with many as a greater danger, but rather nuclear technology.
Of course, like many things, nuclear technology is in-and-of itself neutral. It can be used for good, providing clean energy to the entire world (solving Al Gore’s problem). It can also be used for evil, the creation and use of weapons with enough power to make the mind boggle. The United States is the only country in the world ever to have used nuclear weapons in war, and we have only done it twice during a single conflict (World War II). Thankfully, the nuclear powers of the world have thus far used discretion.
I can accept the existence our nuclear arsenal, since we are extremely unlikely to ever use it except in response to somebody else using nuclear weapons on us. I don’t mind Israel, for example, having nuclear weapons either, since they are clearly only going to use them as deterrent and defensive weapons. I’m a little more wary of Russia, China, India, and Pakistan having them, but I’m not too worried since their leaders have shown enough sense not to commit suicide (the doctrine of ‘Mutually Assured Destruction‘ is, indeed, still alive). India, Pakistan, and Russia are, at least nominally, democracies like Israel, the United States, and the nuclear-capable European powers. China is non-democratic, but its leaders for the last several decades have limited themselves to only committing evil acts against its own citizens.
Few things are scarier, however, than the prospect of nuclear-capable tyrants, dictators, and fascists. Thankfully there are none yet, but North Korea, Iran, and Syria are actively pursuing nuclear technology. Syria hasn’t gotten much attention from the world in this respect, but the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency finally noticed (more than a year after it happened) that the Syrian facility destroyed by Israeli military forces in September 2007 had all the hallmarks of being a nuclear facility. Maybe we should do something about that. Just a thought.
Radical Islamic fascism, like that practiced publicly by the governments of Iran and Syria (and less-publicly by individuals and communities worldwide), is truly the greatest evil we face today in free societies. We are in the unfortunate position, however, of fighting a losing battle. You can’t call modern Islam what it is without being accused of being a racist or bigot, and you can’t advocate fighting against it without being mindlessly branded a ‘neocon’ warmonger.
Appeasement and a worldwide reluctance to fight Nazi fascists and Japanese aggressors led to the worst military conflict the world has ever seen, the attempted annihilation of Judaism and the Jewish people, and the only wartime use of nuclear weapons ever. Now, with that nuclear genie out of the bottle and being sought-out by Islamic fascists and North Korean aggressors, we run a very real risk of history repeating itself.
But with nuclear weapons being potentially possessed by both sides in this brewing World War III, the stakes are even higher. Appeasement and avoidance didn’t work last time; it won’t work this time either. It is only a matter of time, in the absence of action on the part of the free world, before we are faced with our own annihilation.
God help us if we don’t see that soon and act accordingly.