Nuclear war has become thinkable again – we need a reminder of what it means

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The last couple of weeks in trending news has brought the concept of war close to home. As Trump faces down North Korea, it's an alarming idea to think that most of the world's nuclear warheads are now in the hands of men who aren't afraid to use them. Last week, President Donald Trump deployed his superweapon Moab, known as the “mother of all bombs.” The 10-ton bomb detonated in mid-air killing 94 Isis militants (at least that's what the trending news tells us). The Russian trending news immediately reminded everyone that they also had a thermobaric bomb known as the “father of all bombs," and their bomb is four times as powerful. Nothing is quite as scary as the possibility of nuclear war. A Trident missile carries up to eight of these warheads, and military planners may drop them in a pattern around one target, creating a firestorm along the war lines that conventional Allied bombing was created in cities like Hamburg and Tokyo during the second world war. It is a scary time in the news because at present the majority of the world's nuclear warheads are in the hands of men who aren't afraid to use them.

It was August 6 and 9 in 1945 that at the order of U.S. President Harry Truman, nuclear weapons were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, during the final stage of World War II. The two bombings killed at least 129,000 people, and remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history. The nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima measured 15 kilotons, and it destroyed everything within 200 yards and burned everybody within 2km. The warhead carried by a Trident missile delivers a reported 455 kilotons of explosive power.

The scary thing is that for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, dropping a nuclear bomb is thinkable, and for Russia's leader Vladimir Putin it is also thinkable. And on December 22, 2016, both Trump and Putin announced, almost simultaneously, that they were going to expand their nuclear arsenals and update their technology. Right now, there is a US aircraft carrier strike force steaming towards North Korea (the DPRK) to menace Kim Jong-un's rogue regime. People don't know what secret diplomacy went on between Xi Jinping and Trump at Mar-a-Lago, but the US sounds confident that China will rein the North Koreans in. What we do know presently is that President Donald Trump has been obsessed since the 1980s with nuclear weapons, and he refuses to take advice from military professionals. It seems that President Donald Trump does not understand the core Nato concept of nukes as a political deterrent, as opposed to being used as a military superweapon. This sudden mania for speaking of nuclear warfare, among men with too much power, should be top trending news item on the news, and the most important concern of democratic and peace-loving politicians.

Hopefully, the world gets lucky, as it might be the Chinese leadership that is prepared to put serious pressure on North Korea to prevent Kim Jong-un's regime staging some provocation against the United States Navy. Or the world might get unlucky as the DPRK has a nuclear weapon, even if the missiles needed to deliver the bomb are unstable. It is human nature, given the scale of devastation a nuclear war would bring, to blank out the possibility from our minds. This trending news story can be found on The Guardian site. On the site, you will find other trending videos, new trending news, trending videos, football, business, lifestyle, new tech and so much more. **

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