All we are saying is ‘give peace a chance’

07 Aug 2020 / 11:38 H.

RECALL Jonathan Swift’s classic work Gulliver’s Travels? The tale revolves around a war in Lilliput between opposing sides which disagree over how an egg should be cracked before it is eaten.

Just like the Lilliputians, we have fought over trivial matters as much as over ideology and religion. Man is, by nature, an aggressive species. Perhaps it is in our DNA.

War has been waged to subjugate as much as it has been waged to liberate.

Added to this aggression is man’s ingenuity in designing the arsenal necessary to give one an advantage.

In prehistoric times, wars were fought with maces and spears. Today, nuclear weapons remain the single biggest threat to human civilisation.

As seen in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the first atomic bombs were dropped, the damage was not just devastating, but also everlasting.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the bombings that led to the end of the Second World War, perhaps we should reflect on not just the damage done but also the threat of more to come.

Despite its already deadly nature, or perhaps because of it, man’s arsenal has only become more destructive, thanks to vast improvements in nuclear technology.

To make matters worse, more countries than ever are in possession of such weaponry – from the United States and Russia to China and India, the arms race has caught public attention for the better part of the last few decades.

The risk of a nuclear war has only heightened with a young upstart, such as the man in Pyongyang, with one finger on the nuke button.

And with a leader who has a temperament no one can predict just across an ocean, we may just as well be served a cocktail for disaster.

There was an attempt at disarmament by the two nuclear powers at the time when Ronald Reagan was US president and Mikhail Gorbachev, his Soviet counterpart.

As an article in a January 2016 issue of The Atlantic said, both men shared an aversion to the “logic of mutually assured destruction”.

Unfortunately, the attempt to rid the world of nuclear armaments failed over the details. Nonetheless, there has been a precedent. This is the time to take up the two men’s proposal again, and see it to a decisive and desirable conclusion.

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