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Originally published December 12 2014

Global nuclear war is increasingly probable, experts warn

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) With the end of the Cold War, you would think that the risk of global nuclear conflagration would have been dramatically reduced -- and, for a time, it was. With the U.S. as the only remaining superpower and a collapsing Soviet Union, most experts saw the risk of atomic war as minimal.

But times change, and so do geopolitical scenarios. Today, in fact, more and more experts see greater risk of nuclear war, not less, due to a proliferation of the technology and because existing nuclear stockpiles are often less secure than they need to be.

As reported by Britain's Independent newspaper recently:

Urgent action is needed to minimise the risk of a nuclear war, more than 120 senior military, political and diplomatic figures from across the world have warned.

Ahead of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which starts today, the experts wrote in a letter that the danger of such a conflict was "underestimated or insufficiently understood" by world leaders.

Tensions rising between major and minor nuclear powers alike

During the Cold War, the principle of MAD -- mutually assured destruction -- was what prevented America and the U.S.S.R. from engaging in a nuclear World War III. But economically desperate rogues states like North Korea and religious extremist regimes like the one ruling Iran make smaller-scale nuclear exchanges much more possible, the experts say.

Signatories to the Vienna Conference letter included people from across political spectra: conservative UK Defense Secretary Lord King, liberal Labour Party colleague Lord Browne, former Foreign Secretaries Margaret Beckett and David Owen, and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, the paper said.

Also, John McColl, a former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Lord Richards, a former Chief of the Defense Staff; and U.S. Gen. James Cartwright, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were also signatories.

But besides just rogue states becoming nuclear-armed, tensions are also rising between traditional nuclear powers, the experts noted.

"Tensions between nuclear-armed states and alliances in the Euro-Atlantic area and in both South and East Asia remain ripe with the potential for military miscalculation and escalation," said the letter, addressed to Sebastian Kurz, Austria's Minister for Foreign Affairs.

"In a vestige of the Cold War, too many nuclear weapons in the world remain ready to launch on short notice, greatly increasing the chances of an accident," the letter continued. "This fact gives leaders faced with an imminent potential threat an insufficient amount of time to communicate with each other and act with prudence."

"An incredibly dangerous situation"

The experts recommended the establishment of better crisis management in "conflict hotspots" as well as additional new security measures. The experts also warned that nuclear stockpiles were "insufficiently secure, making them possible targets for terrorism."

As for the great powers, tensions have clearly risen between the U.S. and Russia, and the U.S. and China -- the former over its annexation of Crimea and suspected involvement in fomenting conflict in Ukraine, and the latter over its rising aggression towards neighbors, most of whom are U.S. allies, in Asia.

But perhaps the most feasible of nuclear-war scenarios is a conflict between the U.S. and West against Russia, over its actions in Ukraine.

Helen Caldicott, an Australian physician, advocate of citizen action to address nuclear and environmental crises, the founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and a 1985 Nobel Prize nominee, warned in October that a new Cold War had begun between the U.S. and Russia, and that nuclear conflict was once again a major concern.

What's more, she says, the results of any such conflict would be devastating.

"It's an incredibly dangerous situation. ... If there's a nuclear war tonight, that's the Northern Hemisphere (of the entire world) gone," she said at the National Press Club Newsmaker press conference, as quoted by the International Business Times.


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