At the Brink of Nuclear Annihilation Once Again

Avatar Christos Metaxas
Member since May 16, 2016
  • 6 Posts
  • Age 17

I am no political scientist or national security expert; I am simply a young student watching from the sidelines as the world falls back to the cold war era and the threat of nuclear annihilation once again becomes real. Originating from Cyprus I have always known that before I even turn 18 I will be conscripted into the armed forces and therefore joining this 'shadow-world' as I like to call it as, despite the fact that it keeps our world balanced, we ignore its existence almost every second of the day. However, sometimes while zapping you turn CNN or BBC on and it just hits you how fragile our daily lives are. That's exactly what happened today when I found myself staring at news coverage of the nuclear threat from North Korea and it became evident to me how although the world has been in the same position before, we have failed to learn anything from our mistakes.

In the 45 years following the Second World War, the population of the USA, the Soviet Union and their allies went on with their daily lives knowing that in any moment of the day they could be turned to dust with no prior warning whatsoever. Imagine living your last day over and over again and going to bed not knowing if you'll live to see another sunrise. That is what nuclear war means. The closest the world ever came to an all out nuclear war was in the 13 day-period of October 1962 which came to be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. I am no historian either but I know that when Washington got word of the presence of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba every single one of J.F. Kennedy's national security advisors advised him to invade Cuba, a move that would certainly lead to the launch of nuclear missiles. Nonetheless, Kennedy insisted on continuing diplomacy and rather imposing a 'quarantine' around Cuba. During the period of negotiations, a Soviet submarine that was submerged took a hit by a small American charge that was meant to signal the submarine to immerse. However, the accidental hit was interpreted as a strategic one by the Soviet crew of the submarine which thought that war had broken out and set the wheels in motion to launch its nuclear missiles. The decision to launch required the agreement of all three officers on board and although two high ranking officers ordered the launch, another, Vasili Arkhipov, objected and so the launch was narrowly averted. A few days later, the US and USSR reached a consensus which, although at the time was unpopular with the people, ultimately saved the world from nuclear annihilation.

The importance of this historical event is undoubtedly more evident today than ever before. The patience and unconditional belief in the power diplomacy of a few people overshadowed the immature and belligerent behaviour of two colossal nations and their military leaders. When looking back at 2017, the future generations will either remember Mr Trump and Mr Un as the incapable leaders whose hateful rhetoric resulted in a nuclear war that annihilated a tremendous percentage of the population or as true leaders of the modern world who rose above their political agendas and sacrificed the pride of their countries to save millions if not billions of people around the globe. It is unknown what the future holds for us but if we stand united in our diversity in accordance with the democratic values that define us then we will finally demolish the walls of thorns that have been separating us for centuries.

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