Stanford faculty were joined by Governor Jerry Brown to discuss the nuclear menace.
Nuclear arms hold an exceptional place in the gamut of weapons technology. Their entrance onto the world stage has consolidated global hierarchies, intensified state rivalries, stymied foreign interventions, and, on occasion, brought the world perilously close to an as yet unprecedented level of destruction. In light of this last in particular, it comes as little surprise that the debut of the atomic bomb also precipitated the birth of the Doomsday Clock and introduced the phrase “five minutes to midnight” into our cultural lexicon—all this even though, in the entirety of their nearly 60-year lifespan they’ve only been detonated in an act of war twice.
Recently, California governor, Jerry Brown, joined Stanford professors Martin Hellman, David Holloway, and Jean-Pierre Dupuy in a panel moderated by Jon Christensen to discuss the nature of the nuclear threat and what current world conditions could portend for the future use or non-use of such weapons.
"The first step is to break open denial and bring awareness that the threat of nuclear menace is real."
“The first step is to break open denial and bring awareness that the threat of nuclear menace is real,” said Governor Brown—whose comments set much of the tone for the hour-long panel. While panelists devoted attention to both well- and lesser-known close-calls with the nuclear brink in recent decades, much of the conversation zeroed in on the tenuous insurance of nuclear deterrence and the prospects of moving toward disarmament at a moment of political and popular apathy on the subject of nuclear arms.