Sunday, February 8, was another day. So it meant another North Korean threat. That was the thrust (pardon the expression) of the long-anticipated launching of a "satellite" by North Korea that took place last week. Sort of.
The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock will stay at five minutes to midnight for the year 2013, say the scientists and experts at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists who maintain one of the world's most famous time pieces.
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.
With the end of the Cold War, nuclear terrorism has displaced an attack by the Soviet Union as the prime nuclear fear. And that's not only reviving the specter of a traditional nuclear attack, but combining it with contemporary fears.
If threatened with nuclear attack, should a state, especially one that characterizes itself as founded on a respect for human rights, threaten to retaliate, thus ensuring massive loss of life on its own as well as the aggressor's side?