How Close Are We to Self-Destruction?

While some claim we’re living in peaceful times, the Doomsday Clock ticks on. Two anthropologists get to the bottom of this contradiction. 01.16.2018 / BY Dean Falk EACH JANUARY, the science and security board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists unveils an estimate of the likelihood that humanity will self-destruct. They do so by marking the time on a metaphorical “Doomsday Clock,” on which midnight represents the apocalypse. In 2017, the clock stood at a frightening two and a half minutes to midnight; this month could easily see the minute hand creep even closer to doom. Is panic warranted? And if so, can we … Continue reading How Close Are We to Self-Destruction?

The 10 Companies That Dominate the Global Arms Trade

The 10 Companies That Dominate the Global Arms Trade The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays. The world puts $1.69 trillion towards military expenditures per year, and about $375 billion of that goes towards buying arms specifically. Whether it is guns, tanks, jets, missiles, or ships that are on your shopping list, in the international arms community, there is a supplier for any weapon your country desires. ARMS DEALERS, BY SALES Today’s chart organizes the world’s top arms companies by sales, location, and arms as a percentage of sales: Rank Company Country Arms sales (2016) Arms … Continue reading The 10 Companies That Dominate the Global Arms Trade

How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan

After 16 years and $1tn spent, there is no end to the fighting – but western intervention has resulted in Afghanistan becoming the world’s first true narco-state. By Alfred W McCoy After fighting the longest war in its history, the US stands at the brink of defeat in Afghanistan. How could this be possible? How could the world’s sole superpower have battled continuously for more than 16 years – deploying more than 100,000 troops at the conflict’s peak, sacrificing the lives of nearly 2,300 soldiers, spending more than $1tn (£740bn) on its military operations, lavishing a record $100bn more on “nation-building”, … Continue reading How the heroin trade explains the US-UK failure in Afghanistan

The deterrence myth

Detonation of nuclear device ‘Annie’ during Operation Upshot-Knothole, 1953, Nevada. Courtesy Wikipedia Nuclear deterrence continues to dominate international relations. Yet there is no proof it ever worked, nor that it ever will by David P Barash is an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington. His most recent book is Out of Eden: The Surprising Consequences of Polygamy (2016). With his wife, the psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton, he is currently writing a book that critiques nuclear deterrence. Edited by Sam Haselby In his classic The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (1989), Lawrence Freedman, the dean of British military historians and strategists, concluded: ‘The Emperor … Continue reading The deterrence myth

Lies We Tell Ourselves

Authored by Major Danny Sjursen via, Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, and we were young. — A. E. Housman, 1859-1936 Seven of my soldiers are dead. Two committed suicide. Bombs got the others in Iraq and Afghanistan. One young man lost three limbs. Another is paralyzed. I entered West Point a couple of months before 9/11. Eight of my classmates died “over there.” Military service, war, sacrifice – when I was 17, I felt sure this would bring me meaning, adulation, even glory. It went another way. Sixteen years later, my generation … Continue reading Lies We Tell Ourselves

Why North Korea succeeded at getting nuclear weapons — when Iraq and Libya failed

This undated photo distributedby the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un celebrating what was said to be the test launch of an intermediate-range missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP) By Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer North Korea was considered too poor, authoritarian and vulnerable to succeed with its nuclear and missile programs. And yet Pyongyang has acquired advanced nuclear weapons capabilities — and, at the end of November, tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.Why has North Korea succeeded when other countries such as Iraq and Libya have failed?Three factors are central to North Korea’s success. This analysis draws on findings … Continue reading Why North Korea succeeded at getting nuclear weapons — when Iraq and Libya failed