Renata Dwan, the director of the United Nation’s Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), sounded the alarm that the world has never been closer to a nuclear war since the end of World War II. Dwan cited nuclear weapon modernization programs currently underway in many nuclear-capable countries and blossoming arms races between countries such as the U.S. and China as warning signs a nuclear exchange between nations may be on the horizon.
Dwan made these claims while speaking to the press in Geneva Switzerland, according to Reuters.
I think that it’s genuinely a call to recognize—and this has been somewhat missing in the media coverage of the issues—that the risks of nuclear war are particularly high now, and the risks of the use of nuclear weapons, for some of the factors I pointed out, are higher now than at any time since World War II.”
Another reason for Dwan’s assessment is the perceived lack of international effort to denuclearize. Although treaties such as 2017’s Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons garnered dozens of signatures, many of the most nuclear capable countries such as the China, Israel, India, Russia, and the U.S. have yet to sign.
“We are <…> not ready to support the efforts of some States to immediately ban nuclear weapons. We respect their position and understand motivations behind it. At the same time, we consider the elaboration of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to be a mistake,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister while speaking in New York earlier this month, according to the Russian news agency TASS. “This initiative does not contribute to nuclear disarmament, undermines the NPT, and provokes growing contradictions among its Parties.
The American public seems opposed to expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal. In a recent poll conducted by the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, 80% of respondents wanted the U.S. to extend the 2010 START treaty once it reaches its expiration date of 2021. The treaty, which applies to both the U.S. and Russia, limits each country’s nuclear forces to 2250 deployed weapons, Newsmax reports.
The poll also found that 80 percent of the respondents feel the U.S. needs a retaliatory nuclear arsenal, yet approximately 66 percent favored shrinking the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile force.