Given the urgency of the situation, the absence of mass demonstrations in major cities around the world once seen in response to the nuclear threat during the Cuban Missile Crisis and other Cold War flashpoints can seem puzzling and disheartening.
But the escalating Korea tensions, the US Nuclear Program Review refocusing on China and Russia, the massive increase in the US nuclear defence budget, and Trump’s eagerness to parade US military might have only recently begun to enter public consciousness, and we may well be on the threshold of a revival of the international disarmament and anti-war movement.
The growing alarm about a nuclear catastrophe is justified for reasons which extend beyond Trump’s bellicose and volatile personality where most attention has been fixated. Trump is the grotesque representation of a wing of the US ruling class which has calculated that a narrow window of opportunity to destroy the DPRK’s nuclear capability is rapidly closing.
The North Koreans have developed missiles which can reach the continental United States, but reportedly do not yet possess the warhead technology or a sufficient arsenal to credibly deter US threats.
US military strategists and their political allies don’t want to give the North Koreans the time to complete their nuclear weapons program; hence the talk of giving the North Koreans a “bloody nose” using massive bunker-busting conventional bombs or tactical nuclear weapons at some point after the current Olympics lull.
A lot of the talk is aimed as an ultimatum to China to disarm its Korean ally - or else.