Gerry Caplan begins the New Year by asking the question, "Is Doomsday really upon us?" He recalls the last time we came to the brink -- the Cuban Missile Crisis:
We are rapidly approaching the same kind of escalation that led the world to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, with humankind on the very brink of nuclear war and nuclear destruction. I still recall it quite vividly. It was a uniquely terrifying moment in the lifetime of the world. Like everyone else, I too kept a sharp eye out for the very latest news to see how long we had left to exist.
I was in my first year of high school back then. I left to catch the bus that day, not sure I'd come home or if I'd have a home to come to. When the Russian ships turned back, the school pumped a radio broadcast through the intercom. The administration made no introduction. The report came on and we all breathed a little easier. But these are not times to make one breathe easier:
Surely no one would willingly entrust Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump with the future of humanity, yet neither seems controllable in the slightest. Who knows where their bizarre game of chicken may end up? It's perfectly plausible that one or another may stumble his way into launching the armed missile that would demand immediate retaliation by the other. The consequences, as we all knew back in the Cold War days, would indeed be mutual assured destruction. Who believes Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump can be trusted to choose sanity over nuclear Armageddon?
And, if Kim and Trump somehow manage to avoid running into each other, there is the explosion that is brewing just south of us:
There's no reason to believe that this summer's outbreak of violent anarchy in Charlottesville, Va., will be the last. Countless Americans are ready to erupt. It's estimated that hundreds of heavily armed neo-fascist militias threaten to unleash their power, knowing they have an ally in the White House. Both furious African-Americans and frustrated whites have had enough. America feels ripe for its second civil war, which, like the first, would unleash forces that can hardly be imagined. How can any normal sensible person fail to be shaken?
Something to think about.
Image: The Daily Beast