More than 200,000 people died in the bombing then and both cities were literally annhilated.
In fact the threat of a nuclear catastrophe against the humankind is greater today than during the Second World War looking at the advancement of nuclear technology and the big number of nuclear arsenal in the world.
Currently there are about 16,300 nuclear warheads all over the world, with 7,300 of them belonging to the United States (US) while Russia has 8,000, China (240), France (300), United Kingdom (225), Israel (80), India (80-100), Pakistan (90-110) and North Korea (1).
About 4,400 of these weapons are on high alert and ready to be deployed antime.
“It will probably take four to eight minutes for a certain general or president to decide whether to launch a weapon or not”, said Professor Gareth Evans during a forum held by the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) in Wisma Putra recently.
ARMAGEDDON AT THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON
However, the former Australian Foreign Minister pointed out that the probability of a nuclear war to kickoff was not so much due to a cold blooded move by a certain crook, but more to system or human error, because of misjudgment or miscalculation.
“So why there is still no nuclear bomb erupting and killing us all so far has nothing to do with strict management or administration. We are actually depending on sheer damn luck”, said Evans.
He added that even a ‘limited’ regional nuclear war will cause catastrophic global consequences affecting the whole world including Malaysia.
According to the book “Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play”, the risk of nuclear war has grown despite that there are fewer number of nuclear weapons today than during the Cold War.
This is due to more countries in more unstable regions, as well as increasing number of terrorist groups, who continually seek to acquire these weapons.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Datuk Hussein Haniff said in the same event that it was still a sad reality that nuclear disarmament which becomes the highest priority of the international community, is still a long way away from being fulfilled.
“The lack of political will continues to plague efforts towards reaching consensual and productive outcomes in the various machineries dedicated towards disarmament”, he said during the UN General Assembly in New York in Oct.
Evans elaborated that all the present nuclear-armed states; including the five; China, France, United Kingdom, Russia and US, who as members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty supposed to be committed to ultimate nuclear disarmament, but at best pay only lip-service to that objective.
He said that none of the nuclear-armed states has committed to any specific timetable for the major reduction of their nuclear stockpiles, let alone abolition.
Nuclear stockpiles are also growing across Asia namely in North Korea and in addition to that is the Iran’s nuclear programme, he added.
“Confronted with these realities, it is tempting to become overwhelmed with pessimism, and to abandon the whole disarmament enterprise as a hopelessly lost cause for the foreseeable future. But that would be a counsel of despair”, said Evans.
FAITH IN THE NEXT GENERATION
Evans however remains optimistic and urges the younger generation to take the baton for action.
Among important measures that can be taken through the long, winding road, to a nuclear weapon free world, is to counter-argue the arguments for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
For example to break the believe that nuclear weapons actually serve as peace stabilizer among the major powers. This has to be done continuously by speech and writing, to get the message to sink into the policymakers.
He also stressed that focus should be given to the minimisation process of nuclear weapons before setting up a timeline for total disarmament.
“We have to frankly recognise that we will not get to zero in a straight-line process, and we certainly won’t get to it by anything like 2030.
“There has to be two distinct stages, first ‘minimisation’ then ‘elimination’, with some inevitable discontinuity between them, because of the reality, when it comes to moving from low numbers to zero, that there are not only psychological barriers, and geopolitical barriers (in the world as we can envisage it for the foreseeable future), but serious technical barriers – of verification and enforcement – as well”, he said.