Monday, April 06, 2009

Not Another Cold War?

Over the weekend, North Korea’s government took a lot of heat over their test launch of a rocket. They claim it was going to put a satellite in space, other countries on the other hand see it as a potential threat. The rocket actually crashed in the ocean over part of Japan.

There is good reason to worry about North Korea – for several years they have been working on developing their own nuclear technologies. They’ve always insisted it was for the greater good – to create nuclear power, and for use in nuclear medicine.

Many other countries see it as a real threat to global security and safety, as the North Korean government is anything but a friend to the democratic western world. North Korea’s government has had a long and bitter battle with many other world leaders, and there is a lot of fear about the use of rockets to launch nuclear war heads.

The real cause for alarm is the potential of another Cold War. When the United States and Russia were locked in the midst of the Cold War, people really were scared that one side or the other – or worst case scenario both – would destroy our home, planet Earth, by simply pressing “the button.”

I grew up during the Cold War, and I remember the fear. And it was a fear that spread right through to those very people who ultimately decided the fate of the world.

I remember hearing several stories back then, about just how close we were to global annihilation. One commonly known story I remember very clearly. NORAD’s radar screens went ballistic with what appeared to be a Soviet nuclear attack against North America. NORAD quickly scrambled its fighter jets to investigate, but because of the wicked weather conditions at the time, the fighters weren’t able to take a direct route. Apparently, there was a lot of heavy storm activity in the area.

NORAD was placed on its highest alert, commonly known as DEFCOM (military speak for defence readiness condition), the president of the United States was notified, as were military leaders in both the Canadian and American governments.

Everyone was anxiously awaiting word from the fighter jet squadron. Those who have access to launch the nuclear missiles were literally waiting with their fingers reader to fire – all while the blips on NORAD’s radar screen drew closer and closer.

Just as these flashing streaks of light were about to enter North American air space, finally the lead fighter pilot radioed in.

Turns out, a flock of Canadian geese had almost started a nuclear war – we could have faced global destruction over a handful of birds.

Their lies the real dangers of the controversial test launch of North Korea’s rocket this weekend – fear.

Yes, if North Korea does develop nuclear weapons that would be a very bad thing. But a far greater threat is the fear caused by such a development.

Imagine if nuclear weapons were fired off back during the Cold War, because of those geese. The “Ruskies” would have a legitimate reason for firing back, destroying much of North America – just as our missiles would destroy much of the Russian and European continents.

The truth about nuclear war is obvious – no one wins. The Cold War was all about fear, and a lot of talk. Both sides alluded to the possibility of using their “nukes” against the other, but both sides equally knew the real outcomes should they actually carry out that threat. But back during the Cold War, neither side knew this, that’s where the fear factor really came in.

Here in North America, we were led to believe that the Soviet “empire” was ruthless, and would stop at nothing to continue the spread of Communism, even if it meant destroying part of the world. Meanwhile the Russians were taught much the same thing about the American’s.

It was this constant fear on both sides which really could cause an inadvertent nuclear holocaust – with both sides so caught up in the propaganda, all it took was a flock of geese, a volcanic eruption, even weather balloons all were said to have put NORAD on edge, and ready to fire.

The Cold War thankfully ended years ago, but we could be starting all over again – thanks to North Korea, and that “f” word – fear.

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