Only madmen choose to beat the drums of nuclear war

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War may be the stuff of dreams for the shareholders of the military industrial complex, but for the rest of the world, it is nothing short of a nightmare.

While the bulk of the Greatest Generation has passed on, there are plenty of Island residents who can recall being told to pray for the safety of individual pilots during the Battle of Britain. They can recall the lamentations of mothers whose children had fallen on the beaches of Dieppe and Juno, they count among their grandfathers some of those men who returned with lungs devasted by the gas attacks of the First World War. 

When nuclear weapons filled the arsenals of the world’s great empires, for a brief moment in time people clung to the fervent hope that war was no longer thinkable. The Cold War, with its recurring brinkmanship and a host of client conflicts, spoke up loud and clear—think again.

We are still within a single generation of those days when children were being sent home from schools bearing letters to their parents explaining school board policy in event of nuclear attack—you are on your own. That was only in 1962 when the Soviet Union and the United States faced off over the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Duck and cover became a meme of its time—albeit without Tiktok, Facebook or Instagram to magnify the reach.

The unthinkable has once again become all too thinkable among the elites of our world—we are beset by madness and madmen are ruling the roosts of power.

Those who fail to study the past are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, those who do study the past, it seems, are doomed to watch those who haven’t studied the past make those mistakes. Unfortunately, those unschooled in history seem to be ascendant these days in the halls of power once again. Last week, Russian President Putin ordered his nuclear arsenal on high alert.

Even more frightening is the realization that, judging from Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recent interpretations of history and the present, a man with his finger on the nuclear launch button seem to be ungrounded in any kind of reality—and many of us thought other madmen were the world’s greatest threat.

As in 1962, 60 years on, children in school, even Little Current Public School, are concerned with the news of President Putin’s threats and are asking teachers about these rumours of war.

We can only hope and pray, like the school children during the Battle of Britain—that calmer and saner heads prevail.