The prospect of nuclear war haunted my childhood, and slowly but consistently diminished from 1989 onwards. And 1989, what a year, what a triumph! In my immature understanding of risk, the fact that we did not have a full scale nuclear war was incontrovertible proof that the path of brinksmanship strategically chosen was the right one.
The national security reporter Fred Kaplan has a new book out profiling the risks, aptly titled The Bomb. He was on the Sam Harris Making Sense podcast this week and it’s a powerful 80 minutes. How can error-prone humans have the capacity to do such immense destruction of a global war, how close did we come? The anecdotes and processes as defined are, even if for sake of argument, overblown. Is the risk just as high today, even if our consciousness and conscience are dormant on the topic?