Speaking at a hustings event in Birmingham streamed live on YouTube at the end of August, UK PM frontrunner Liz Truss said she was ready to order the use of nuclear weapons. "I think it's an important duty of the Prime Minister, and I am ready to do that," she was quoted as saying.
Tellingly, she repeated, "I'm ready to do it", one more time. Those in attendance at the hustings and the onlookers in the audience were astounded not only by the remark itself but also by how devoid of emotion the future prime minister was when she uttered it. So much so that no one was left doubting whether she was prepared to do it.
Suppose you add Truss's words to her spectacular incompetence in geography as Foreign Secretary: the Russians could not help but discuss her mistake during the visit to Moscow shortly before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. She unwittingly gave away her complete ignorance that the Voronezh and Rostov regions near the conflict zone are a part of Russia. In that case, there is indeed much to be concerned about. A nuclear war could be triggered by those who are part of degenerate and utterly incompetent elites.
During her visit to Estonia, Britain's Foreign Secretary had a fun time riding a tank along the Russian border. Photo: The Independent.
It is generally thought that nuclear war was rendered inconceivable after the Soviet Union had gotten its hands on nuclear weapons and achieved global nuclear parity. While it is true that the vast nuclear arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union, capable of destroying the entire planet "several times over", constituted a powerful deterrent, and it was the fact that the states of the so-called "nuclear club" that includes both the original five nuclear-weapon states and those that had come into possession of nuclear weapons much later were led by responsible and experienced politicians and had stable political institutions, while also boasting strong professional and expert communities that served as the principal restraint.
Moreover, even in the "pre-nuclear world", at the peak of the most horrendous and harshest war ever fought, World War II, both the USSR and Nazi Germany were able to foresee the consequences of using chemical weapons and ultimately abandoned the thought altogether, despite owning vast stocks of these weapons and desperately needing them amid fighting their most challenging battles and suffering crippling defeats!
In other words, those politicians who had experienced World War I firsthand could restrain themselves. By contrast, the inept British Prime Minister in the making speaks matter-of-factly about being prepared to order a nuclear strike. Tellingly, her remarks were made during a discussion where there had been no talk of any existential threat to the UK itself. The statement came from a representative of a country that has been most active in pushing Europe and Ukraine to keep fighting and engaging in further provocations.
Europe is ready to fight the war to the last Ukrainian. Or, perhaps, to the last European? Photo: Reuters.
The catastrophic decline in the quality of elites witnessed these days is a risk factor capable of provoking a nuclear war. Unfortunately, this has affected a far greater number of countries than just the UK alone. Is there any guarantee that Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who had failed to even get a high school diploma, will not opt for attacking Iran with nuclear weapons? There's no certainty that he will not decide to react this way to the Iran nuclear deal that, in all likelihood, will be reinstated before long. But, really, why is this supposed to be such a big deal, Lapid may argue? In a single stroke, he will discipline Tehran and attempt to stay in office by framing this as a forced move. Does this scenario sound absurd and insane? Of course. But the deterioration of the elites amid a most severe global crisis would not rule out such an option, nor will it make it improbable!
Israel's prime minister is convinced that it is impossible to stop Iran by means of diplomacy. Photo: Times of Israel.
Besides, the nuclear "domino effect" could be triggered by "small and crazy" countries with limited nuclear capabilities. Take the United States. The infighting of the country's elites has escalated to a point where it cannot be ruled out that the Democrats would not be willing to take such a drastic step to hold on to the power that is slipping away from them. President Joseph Biden has long been exhibiting symptoms of severe mental issues. In contrast, vice president Kamala Harris, his potential "early successor", has been described by her team's defectors as someone unstable and erratic.
In mid-July, Biden said he was prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran as a measure of last resort. Would there be anyone else? Photo: CNN.
The danger of the United States getting drawn into a confrontation with Russia in Ukraine is so clear and present that scenarios of this kind have been analysed in detail in an article written for the influential Foreign Affairs magazine by John J. Mearsheimer, a witty professor of political science and someone who is known to be deliberately precise in his choice of words. According to the dramatic principle stipulated by Russia's world-famous writer Anton Chekhov, "if in the first act you introduce a gun, by the third act you have to use it," the very existence of nuclear arsenals suggests that their large-scale use is inevitable, sooner or later. After living in the bliss of nuclear parity for some 70 years, mankind has let itself doubt the appropriateness of extrapolating this Chekhov's maxim to the realm of nuclear weapons. But when forced to deal with insane and inept "scriptwriters" and "actors", the firing of a "nuclear gun" does become an almost inevitable prospect.