The Unthinkable—Could It Happen?
Because of the awesome reprisals, it was considered unthinkable for a nation to start a nuclear war. However, recent developments in armaments have shown that this “balance of terror” or “deterrence” is no real basis for confidence.
As mentioned before, the accuracy of intercontinental missiles has dramatically improved in the last several years. The magazine Nation tells why this has frightening implications:
“Moreover, the type of weapons the United States is now developing hints at something other than simple ‘deterrence.’ The cruise missile, when deployed, will hit within 15 to 30 yards of a target 2,000 miles away. . . . The point is that weapons that accurate are not necessary for a ‘second strike’ retaliatory attack on cities and populations. A bomb that can come within a half mile or so of its target is more than adequate for simple ‘deterrence.’ Accuracy becomes important, however, when a nation plans a surprise first strike that will deprive the adversary of his response. The greater the accuracy the fewer bombs needed to demolish enemy missile silos hardened by thousands of tons of steel and concrete.”—May 27, 1978.
Also an increasing number of nations are developing nuclear weapons. The obvious danger is noted in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “It is widely believed that the more nuclear weapon powers there are, the greater the probability of a nuclear war. . . . The technology of nuclear weapons is now so widely known that the current concern is that terrorist groups will construct nuclear explosives, let alone governments.”—September 1979.
When you see nations that possess such hideous arsenals become embroiled in conflicts where their vital interests are seriously jeopardized, do you not have the uneasy feeling that one of these will use nuclear firepower, regardless of the consequences? You would not be alone in your feeling.
For several days in May 1978, 30 scientists, military men and government advisers from 10 nations met in closed sessions in Toronto, Canada, to consider seriously the theme “The Danger of Nuclear War by the Year 2000.” “The most striking thing about this conference,” stated chairman John Polanyi, “was the sense of agreement that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.” Since then, other gatherings of experts, including “the first nuclear war conference,” held in the United States with over 300 participants, have reached the same conclusion.
Even a “close confidant” of Soviet President Brezhnev revealed a concern over the near future by reporting: “Opinion in the Soviet Union is that there is a need for urgent measures, otherwise war might come.” (Emphasis added)
From a completely different quarter come a surprising number of religious persons who likewise believe nuclear war is near. However, they say that their conclusions are based on the Bible. For example, one religious professor, commenting on a Bible verse that says the ‘earth would be destroyed by fire,’ stated: “The present stockpile of Atomic devices gives a touch of realism to this passage.”—2 Pet. 3:7.