It wasn't the mutants. It was humans that caused the Cuban Missile Crisis. Only luck saved us from nuclear war. But other than that, the new film, X-Men: First Class, gets a lot right about the historic crisis that is central to its plot.
The use of nuclear weapons in any part of the world would affect every living creature. Their use is simply unthinkable. Yet the United States and Russia maintain thousands on hair trigger alert. And terrorists actively seek their use.
The light shining on the safety of nuclear energy as a result of the Japanese nuclear crisis has been of such powerful wattage that it's even flushing safety issues with nuclear weapons labs and manufacturing facilities out of hiding.
"The Great Atomic Power" was first recorded in 1952, the year that the hydrogen bomb was first tested. The song may have provided some comfort for those listeners aware that the nuclear arms race was at its height.
We're under the gun: we need to make use of the nuclear taboo as a springboard to disarmament before its expiration date. But there exists another nuclear taboo against discussing the destruction caused by nuclear weapons.
No matter the short term benefits to security, when the West severs the ties that bind disarmament to nonproliferation, it further undermines the trust of the developing world and long-term prospects for international security.
Whether or not we disarm has no bearing on the plans of states that hope to acquire or develop nuclear weapons. Whether or not disarmament discourages proliferation is immaterial -- it's our only recourse.
Perhaps bewitched by Tea Party-style incoherence, Republicans guided by Jon Kyl have placed themselves in the unlikely position of bucking the national defense establishment, to which traditionally they've been joined at the hip.