"The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our thinking. Thus, we are drifting toward catastrophe beyond conception. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive." (Albert Einstein, 1879-1955.)
The cynic might wonder if, when UK Prime Minister Theresa May spent so much time clutching Donald Trump's hand on her January visit to the White House, she contracted a virulent strain of Trumpitis, an apparently incurable and uncontainable desire to erase swathes of fellow human beings from the planet, if not all life on earth.
Trump, various Generals with incomprehensible psychedelic bits of cloth adorning their clothing and varying spokespeople, terrifyingly, will not "rule out" a nuclear strike on North Korea (population just 25.16 million v US population 321.4 million, incidentally) which could ignite a nuclear war.
Five times draft evader Donald Trump seemingly lacks even a miniscule concept of the apocalypse even "conventional" weapons unleash. When he launched - arguably illegally - forty nine Cruise missiles which rained down on Syria (Thursday 6th April) whilst having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he remembered he was eating "a beautiful piece of chocolate cake", but forgot the country he was attacking, muddling Syria with Iraq, so lightly was the unthinkable undertaken. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross was quoted as calling the strike "after dinner entertainment."
If Trump read and was thoughtful (the first apparently absent from his activities and the second seemingly fatally flawed) he might have reflected on North Korea's genuine fears. Near erased from the earth by the US (1950-1953) constantly threatened over subsequent decades, Trump might have recalled the words of Joseph Rotblat, co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize with the Pugwash Conferences, for: "their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international affairs and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms."
Rotblat observed that:
"If the militarily most powerful and least threatened states need nuclear weapons for their security, how can one deny such security to countries that are truly insecure? The present nuclear policy is a recipe for proliferation. It is a policy for disaster."
Another aspect of Theresa May's Trump-like affliction is her equal lack of reflection. Determined apparently that she can play the world annihilation game with Trump led her Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, to announce that she would fire the UK's nuclear weapons as a "first strike", if necessary.
"In the most extreme circumstances, we have made it very clear that you can't rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike", he told the BBC's Radio 4.
The reaction of Russian Senator Frants Klintsevich, Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament's Defence and Security Committee, was to call Fallon's comments "disgusting", saying they deserved a "tough response." He gave it in no uncertain terms pointing out that: "Britain, not having the biggest territory", would "literally be erased from the face of the earth", were it to launch a preemptive strike. He asked pointedly: "Against whom is Great Britain going to preemptively use nuclear weapons?"
In context, there is no proof whatsoever that North Korea has an integrated nuclear weapons programme (ie the weapons with the system to fire them.) It certainly has a nuclear bluster programme developed out of fear resulting from near seven decades of threats, with a vast US arsenal just across it's border with nearing 30,000 US military personnel, twelve US bases, one provocatively named "Red Cloud" - and since 2006 further isolation in the form of sanctions. Now of course, there are also Donald Trump's threats and declared "armada" of war ships, bristling with more nation erasing armaments.
Senator Klintsevich added witheringly that if Britain intended to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state: "then probably English people desperately want to share the laurels of the USA who threw nuclear bombs at defenceless Hiroshima and Nagasaki" (in 1945.)
"But those times have gone for good, as has the era of the greatness of the British Empire."
However, undeterred by Russia's warning, in a speech at London's Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) the following day, Fallon again confirmed: " ... we have made it very clear that you can't rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike."
The authoritative political on line publication The Canary, asked in what circumstances impending Armageddon would be triggered, he replied: "They are better not specified or described, which would only give comfort to our enemies and make the deterrent less credible."
The Canary's article is in stark contrast to the casual talk in Washington and London of unleashing the unthinkable, it is headed:
"The Conservative government just signed the UK's death warrant. Quite literally."
"It's already clear that part of the Conservative government's general election strategy is to peg itself as 'militarily tough'. And to prove that, Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon has made an astonishing claim. One that essentially signs the UK's death warrant.
"The UK will, he asserts, not hesitate to fire nuclear weapons in a first strike. That means the Tories won't wait until the UK is under attack in some way to start a global nuclear war. It will just start firing at will. This is a complete break from the UK's historical stance. And it's one that, considering the UK's size, could conclude with the country lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
"The UK's nuclear arsenal (Trident) is up for renewal, which will potentially cost taxpayers over £200bn. Its renewal is in violation of the UK's commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). But a number of politicians and their backers profit from Trident's existence. So, unsurprisingly, it's quite popular in parliament.(Emphasis added.)
"The largely US-owned Trident system puts two hundred and fifteen nuclear warheads at the UK's disposal, according to the Arms Control Association (ACA)."
The Canary article also throws up the further unthinkable and leads to wondering if the threats to North Korea are either a red herring or a proposed practice run in this new, legally unconstrained, morally and reason-free political zone:
"... in terms of defence, there has been one country firmly at the forefront of UK ministers' minds over the last few years: Russia. It was the hot topic at a Commons Defence Committee meeting in December 2016. A session where Fallon asserted we'd be ready for war with Russia by 2018/19. In 2015, meanwhile, the country received a listing as a top-tier threat in the UK's National Security Strategy (NSS). And, of course, NATO has stationed troops (including ones from the UK) directly on Russia's borders."
However, Mrs. May-hem and Defence Secretary Fallon have apparently forgotten that: "Russia ... has seven thousand nuclear warheads (with) four thousand five hundred either deployed or stockpiled ... around thirty three times more warheads than the UK has."
Further, for example, Russia's Satan 2: "can allegedly carry up to a dozen warheads and level an area the size of the UK in one hit." The UK's population (2015) is 65.14 million. (Emphasis added.)
Prime Minister May's endlessly repeated mantra "Brexit means Brexit" (ie., Britain leaving the European Union) takes on a whole new meaning: she is prepared to trigger the UK departing the planet. It is reported that male Tory activists call her "Mummy." (Independent, 28th April 2017.)
This week she announced that her government is to install psychiatric care workers in schools across the country. It would seem they are more urgently needed in the Cabinet, the Defence and Foreign Office Ministries and most essentially in the Prime Minister's Office.
I have always been fascinated by movies and television shows depicting the exploits of con artists. Many of these have a "Robin Hood" type of theme...