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    We Stand to Lose Everything

    We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

                                                                                                                      -Carl Sagan

             As the 100th anniversary of World War I rolls around, dignitaries and diplomats are commemorating the costly victories and tragic losses of that brutal and gaseous four-year melee which resulted in the deaths of somewhere between ten to sixteen million people.  World War I set the stage for its horrific sequel, World War II, which showcased another four years of cataclysmic and agonizing destructive mayhem, replicated genocides, the ghastly human penchant for mass murder, and the creation of a Hell on Earth in which millions of people died on battlefields, in death camps, and of disease, starvation, and lack of sanitation in galactic pits of unfathomable misery and suffering.  World War II then set the stage for the Cold War, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, and eventually other jingoistic nuclear powers held humanity hostage by means of threatening the aggressive use of apocalyptic warheads capable of annihilating human life on Earth.  In the Cold War, the U.S and the U.S.S.R sparked numerous conflicts fought vicariously through various third-world states in a series of proxy wars that galvanized and stimulated the lethal weapons industry which then, as in now, fed off the manufacturing of bombs, tanks, war planes, guns, landmines, and bullets, and has killed millions of innocent men, women, children, and other beautiful forest and sea-dwelling creatures that had nothing to do with the insane quarrel between the bipolar megalomaniacal superpowers and the psychopaths who dragged the world the brink of thermonuclear oblivion.  Due largely to these three conflicts (WWI, WWII, and the Cold War) and the implementation of economic policies stemming from flawed ideological bulwarks (Capitalism and Communism), as well as the flat-out neglect and heartlessness exhibited by the haves and projected upon the have-nots constituting the bulk of the global community (in 1945, the global population stood at 2.5 billion; by 1970 it was 3.5 billion; today, it is 7.2 billion, with 220,000 people added each day), the 20th century is calculated to be the bloodiest in human history where upwards of a hundred-million people are estimated to have died violent deaths.  Enter the 21st century.   Despite the ostensible end of these major conflicts, and within the context of a temporary, albeit mercurial, equilibrium of geopolitical power in the international arena, nine countries are currently stockpiling and maintaining an arsenal of over 16,000 nuclear weapons which can obliterate civilization on Earth instantaneously.   

            Today, as conflicts rage and tensions flare between nuclear powers (the United States, Russia, Pakistan, Israel, India, China, North Korea, the UK, and France), humanity stands the same distance from the edge of a nuclear holocaust as it stood during the height the Cold War, when weapons were being tested, developed, and shuffled around the world in planes, trains, and submarines by crazy men wearing suits and uniforms who perceived all those that appeared different from them as subhuman enemies, and treated the world as giant game of Risk.  If the current course of international political affairs is maintained – with all these senseless and devastating wars, these inhumane conflicts that bring out the very worst in our species and see us reduced to cold-blooded barbarians on the battlefield and apathetic, desensitized, tax-paying automatons who do not see the indirect consequences of our decisions and actions at home – we will bear witness to the aggressive detonation of nuclear weapons between nations and it will likely set back the advancements made by our species by a thousand years.  It is an absolute miracle that since August, 1945 a state has not yet again dropped a nuclear weapon on another state, but the laws of probability dictate that an eventual outcome of the deadly formula operating within the international arena will be nuclear war, it is only a question of when and where.  Once this happens and humanity spirals into its darkest hour, we may realize what we have lost.