Einstein had a famous quote: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Are we coming close to World War again, or at least getting close to World War scenarios? Almost on weekly basis throughout 2019, there seem to be public statements by some global leaders that highlight there are threats to global peace once again.
Scientists believe that in case of any such massive and extreme nuclear conflicts, a nuclear winter might occur on the planet, which is the severe and prolonged global climatic cooling effect hypothesized to occur after widespread firestorms following a nuclear war. Massive clouds of dust could be sent high into the stratosphere, blocking so much sunlight that global temperatures would plunge 20 C to 40 C for several months, and remain two to six degrees lower for a few years.
Following the settling out of most of the aerosols in a few years, the cooling effect could then be overcome by a heating effect termed as Nuclear Summer, which would raise surface temperatures rapidly by many degrees, enough to cause the death of much, if not most, of the life that may had survived the cooling, much of which is possibly more vulnerable to higher-than-normal temperatures
I consider my children to be fortunate in the sense that, unlike him, they have not been raised in the period and environment of the Cold War, which often had some elements of uncertainty. While Francis Fukuyuma thought that the Cold War had really ended in 1990, his teacher Huntington presented then the theory of clash of civilizations (1996), as per which conflicts may continue. Both political scientists might have been a little right, a little wrong, and none of them seem to have made a perfect assessment of thefuture. It is not possible to predict what human beings can do exactly, and in what direction nations and civilizations could move. Just like in the past, there are hawkish elements everywhere, which often like to move, consciously or unconsciously, both sides toward conflict.
As the world lost sight of the Cold War issue in the 1990s, very few people in politics, bureaucracy, military, and the public have continued to think about World War scenarios in the last three decades, as compared to the 1980s. In these circumstances, the situation could be dangerous, as just a few short-sighted think tanks can trigger debates, discussions, and events that could lead the planet toward complete disaster. Checks and controls are always there, but it is important that bodies like United Nations, global leaders, and global community members continue to play an active and greater role in the de-escalation of conflict.
It is very easy for parties involved in conflicts to blame each other, and to consider their viewpoint to be perfectly correct. Also, it is difficult for any party to show any weakness, particularly when both parties are strong in terms of arsenal, and have public support. However, it is important that public opinion continues to influence decision makers that global peace is generally in the best interest of the human civilization. This is a lesson that humanity has not perhaps learned perfectly after the First and Second World Wars.
Now, this column may have some impact regionally and globally, eventually. Perhaps it will be effective also because it is being written by a community member of the Peace region, a beautiful region of northern British Columbia, which has been able to keep out of global conflicts for decades. I do not want to wake up and know that a third World War has started, or started and ended instantly, and I am now in a different world, and I do not want to be evaporated as a result of it, because a series of events got out of control. As a writer, I can certainly write such articles and draw public attention towards the importance of peace.
Neither do I want to think of any nuclear winter or nuclear summer. I had a great summer working, relaxing, and gardening.
I wish my fellow regional and global community members to enjoy happiness and peace of mind, and to benefit from global development. All of us want our planet to be a better place for our coming generations, and hope the peace dove continues to enjoy its flight to all corners of the world.
Faisal Rashid is a global community member living in Fort St. John.