As pertinent today as it was in 1967:
It may seem like the days of the Cold War are long forgotten, and (as we’ve noted before
) fear of The Bomb is not what it was… but we certainly still care about who’s allowed to have it. Now the worry is the Middle East and North Korea, rather than China, but as Tom Lehrer wisely observes, once one person has The Bomb it doesn’t stop nuclear proliferation, but simply prompts us to ask ‘Who’s next?’
You’re more likely to see zombies or pandemics as the source of the apocalypse in modern science fiction, but there remains something particularly chilling about the threat of global thermonuclear war
. Because we’ve seen it. We’ve seen what we can do. And ever since the first bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945 the bomb has been as desired as it has been feared. Because it seems like the only way to be sure that no one will dare to drop a bomb on you is to make sure that you have one yourself.
Terrifyingly, having The Bomb seems to have been taken as a token of admission to being taken seriously on the world stage. Iran claims not to want The Bomb, and yet the ‘nuclear’ payload is still a political asset that Iranians covet: ‘God willing, we expect to soon join the club of the countries that have a nuclear industry, with all its branches, except the military one‘ Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,
former president of Iran, has said. And yet the rest of the world looks on with anxiety at their nuclear progress, thinking to themselves, well, if Israel has the bomb
… who’s next?
- Apocalypse Womble out.