By Chris Barts
One decision. In the world of the nuclear bomb and the cruise missile, that's all it takes to destroy the world. China has stated it may make that decision, as has India. India's weapons are pointing at Pakistan and Bangladesh. China's weapons are pointing at Taiwan and at us. India justifies its current state by saying that Pakistan is stockpiling weapons, a statement that is true but not a good enough justification. Oddly enough, India's stockpile is Pakistan's excuse. China justifies its stockpile and threats by saying that Taiwan, considered by China to be a Chinese province, is talking about becoming formally independent. This nation figures into things because we have pledged our help to Taiwan, promised them any aid needed for them to become a successful capitalist, democratic nation. Both India and China would use their weapons, if given enough provocation, to eradicate all life in the opposing nation, effectively turning our most populated cities into "glowing parking lots." History apparently teaches human beings nothing.
The relevant history happened almost 55 years ago, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The weapons detonated there, while terrible, are small, weak, and inefficient compared to modern multi-megaton warheads currently in stockpiles here and in the former Soviet Union. And, possibly, stolen or purchased ones in China and India. Those weapons could easily level a large metropolitan region, flattening not just the most urban parts but large regions of suburbs as well. They would poison all land for miles around, all water that flows nearby, potentially hundreds of miles worth of lakes and rivers, and thousands of miles of air. Such weapons would decimate the population, in just the immediate region, by the hundreds of thousands, dealing a blow that could never be fully recovered from. Aftereffects could potentially double that number. And the economy, traditionally not the first concern when facing a nuclear war, would be ruined, if only because of how many fewer working people and businesses there would be.
But the economy, especially the global one created by the internet, may well prevent such a conflict. Large-scale trade makes war a very unprofitable prospect. Bombing people reduces the size of any market a nation may have. Having prolonged political troubles with another nation results in trade embargoes, definitely reducing the number of people able to buy from a nation. Nuclear war would result in all of those scenarios taken to extremes. India, China, and Pakistan all want trade with the rest of he world, but especially with this nation. Nuclear conflict would make the odds of that zero.
In the end, intelligent decisions by everyone keep the world alive. We have the chance to make a new day of peace, not the deadly false dawn of a nuclear weapon. We can either buy ourselves or stand tall. The choice is ours. We'd better choose right.