A hair’s breadth

Some definitions:

“START” is a key nuclear arms reduction treaty between the US and Russia

Mutually Assured Destruction (“MAD”). The MAD doctrine assumes that each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side and that either side, if attacked for any reason by the other, would retaliate without fail with equal or greater force.

How long does it take to destroy the world? A hair’s breadth (or the misspelling hare’s breadth) denote a miniscule time frame.

Below is a quote from an article by AJ Vicen at Mother Jones:

“On a call with the Russian president, Trump reportedly had to ask aides what the New START treaty was… This is the guy who now has a military officer shadowing him everywhere he goes,” he says, “carrying a 45-pound black briefcase that can be used by the president to transmit the launch codes to strategic command in Omaha to launch as many as 900 nuclear warheads in under 10 minutes, and no one has to agree with Mr. Trump about doing that.”

I was reminded of the 2014 Danish documentary, The man who saved the world, about just how precarious and contingent life on earth is. The Cuban missile crisis and the 1983 incident in the documentary both point to close calls which brought us within a hair’s breadth of global nuclear catastrophe. It looks as though under Donald Trump, the world once again approaches the precipice – only this time not with trepidation and caution, but with gung-ho hubris. What Trump fails to see is that in this show, the day he gets to say to his enemies, you’re fired, the whole show is over. There will be no more games to play in a post-apocalypse wasteland, and no one alive to play them.




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