The Gadfly

The race to destroy ourselves


Who will win the race to destroy mankind and the other creatures of the Earth? The nuclear powers or the populous countries that waited too long to confront the coronavirus?

Nuclear weapons had a head start in 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union added to the U.S. few quickly enough. And then it was the UK, France, China and, unadmittedly, Israel, India and Pakistan in a different kind of race to destroy. The one-world movement got a strong beginning with intercontinental ballistic missiles aboard submarines and aircrafts and in silos from Siberia to Idaho.

When the coronavirus struck, it was an equal-opportunity pandemic, and different countries used different strategies. Norway, Germany, New Zealand and South Korea were most successful. The U.S. was late in having any strategy at all until May when people started wearing masks and keeping a six-foot distance. That is everyone except the President who seemed to double-dare the virus. Yet, in the UK, the Tory Prime Minister, Boris Johnson—ostensibly Donald Trump’s colleague-in-arms—was struck by the virus, even though the UK gave him the advantage of the National Health Service.

The coronavirus seemed to focus everyone’s attention on both the pandemic and nuclear weapons. The research labs made a bit of progress on finding a vaccine or two, and clinical trials with humans are ready to start. Which antibody-related vaccines are likely to do the trick remains to be seen. The scientists just do their work, leaving the speculation to the politicians.

At the UN, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organization ICAN announced that Belize just ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. So far 37 countries, including Belize, have signed up. The significance of the treaty is that once 50 nations ratify the treaty, it attains the force of International Law. That makes it only 13 nations to go. Some countries, even a few major ones, may yet join in. Many would like to claim they are in compliance with International Law—they feel it’s good for their image. It must be.

The Gadfly Revelry & Research Team recently met in closed session, masks and all, and decided on a new stratagem: to follow up on a successful vaccine with an endorsement of the treaty to prohibit the use (or even the possession) of nuclear weapons. A historian from the team suggested a return to the 1920s, the worldwide Outlawry Movement and the Kellogg-Briand Pact which is still in force in the U.S. We won’t have to reinvent anything—it’s all in the history books.


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