National Security

Centers for Disease Control to Prepare United States for Nuclear War

During the Cold War, nuclear war survival training was common at schools. Many cities had designated nuclear fallout shelters, emergency drills were frequent, and the world lived under the ever-present threat of nuclear war. Now, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is holding an event to discuss nuclear war preparation at the community level.

The specter of nuclear war has once again settled over the world. This time, it appears that North Korea presents the biggest risk.

On January 16th, the CDC will be hosting a session of Grand Round on the topic of “Public Health Response to a Nuclear Detonation.” This event will help public health leaders handle and respond to a nuclear weapons attack. According to the CDC website, the immediate response is crucial. People are advised to shelter in place for at least 24 hours.

The CDC’s event certainly doesn’t hint at inevitable war. After all, the CDC has held zombie apocalypse training events. (These zombie events were to raise awareness and publicity, while also teaching fundamental aspects of disease control and disaster events.) However, the CDC’s choice of topic isn’t completely random either.

The specter of nuclear war has once again settled over the world. This time, it appears that North Korea presents the biggest risk. However, some have also accused President Donald Trump of escalating the situation. Previous remarks made by the president and his apparent questions as to why the US can’t use nukes have raised fears among some experts. Some members of Congress even want to strip the president of his first strike capabilities.

Is the Risk of Nuclear War Rising? Many Experts Say So

Various analysts have argued that the risk of nuclear war has increased under President Trump and with the continued advancement of North Korean nuclear weapons technology. While most United States presidents have generally ignored North Korea or released carefully worded statements condemning the country, President Trump has frequently lambasted the country and its leader, Kim Jong-un, on Twitter and in the press. Are such actions increasing the risk of war? Some believe so.

In January of 2017, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board moved the clock forward from “three minutes to midnight” to “two and a half minutes” to midnight.

The “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists,” a publication for nuclear experts, maintains its famous “doomsday clock.” The doomsday clock is a symbol of how close humanity is to nuclear war. The closer the clock reads to midnight, the greater the risk of nuclear war in the eyes of the Bulletin Science and Security Board. If the clock were to ever strike midnight, that’d mean nuclear war was imminent.

In January of 2017, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board moved the clock forward from “three minutes to midnight” to “two and a half minutes” to midnight. This signified the second highest rating for the Doomsday Clock since 1953, when the Korean War still raged and tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were at a high.

The clock has generally trended closer to midnight throughout the 21st century. Let’s hope it doesn’t tick any closer.

The Bulletin Science and Security Board justified increasing the time due to incoming President Trump’s comments, as well as the continued advance of North Korea’s nuclear technology. The Board hasn’t updated the ranking for 2018. The Doomsday Clock also measures global warming.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the clock was set back to 17 minutes from midnight, the lowest time the clock has ever observed. In 2012, the clock was set at five minutes to midnight, and in 1998, it was set at nine minutes to midnight. The clock has generally trended closer to midnight throughout the 21st century. Let’s hope it doesn’t tick any closer.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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