Weingarten: Doomsday Clock, only 100 seconds to midnight


Courtesy of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe.

Caleb Weingarten, Columnist

Global tensions are escalating to frightening levels, and all the while, we remain idle and ineffective, debating and complaining about issues that have almost no global importance when it comes to the preservation of humanity. 

The Doomsday Clock has placed us at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest we have been since its inception in the 1940s. This means that, metaphorically, we are 100 seconds away from the end of the world given the man-made technologies we have across the globe. 

The Russia-Ukraine conflict displays our blatant ineffectiveness on the stage of foreign policy, and now, with the emerging details of the China-Taiwan conflict, the situation has become much muddier. 

In a speech Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping didn’t rule out using force to take control of Taiwan, as China sees the self-governing island as a fundamental part of Chinese hegemony. 

All of this, however, has gone virtually unreported in the midst of the Ukraine war, which is also heating up by the day. Most recently, Putin has launched attacks on Ukraine’s energy grid, knocking out roughly 30% of Ukraine’s power stations and forcing the country and its citizens to attempt to conserve energy as we approach the winter months. 

The World Health Organization predicts that a devastating humanitarian crisis is possible, and a wide-scale effort to provide aid to the region is imperative.

Now, the effort to balance the war-mongering personalities of the West and the quest for domination by countries like Russia and China requires thoughtful and urgent negotiation and policy implementation that hasn’t transpired.

Even war criminal Henry Kissinger is opposed to continuing this war, saying, “Pursuing the war beyond [this] point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.” 

Secretary of State Andrew Blinken spoke at Stanford University Monday, warning of the potential lengths China is willing to go to in order to secure Taiwan. If Beijing is not able to gain control over the island, then it is likely they will use coercive force.

This comes as Nancy Pelosi’s reckless visit to Taiwan and President Biden’s claim of the U.S. willingness to defend Taiwan practically ruins the strategic ambiguity that had proved to be a decent stabilizer under the One China Policy.

Furthermore, we should have no reason to believe that China will be accommodating, as the U.S. has “waged low-grade economic warfare against China for at least four years now  —  firing volley after volley of tariffs, export controls, investment blocks, visa limits and much more,” Jon Bateman of Foreign Policy said. 

This “low-grade economic warfare” has been perpetuated by both the Trump administration (tariffs) and the Biden administration with a larger effort toward technological decoupling and “extraterritorial limits on the export to China of advanced semiconductors, chip-making equipment and supercomputer components,” with the U.S. having, “a single-minded focus on thwarting Chinese capabilities at a broad and fundamental level.

The goal of the United States is simple: to be the sole hegemonic force in the world. 

A status we have been chasing since the development of globalization and the formation of a world economy. Many consider the United States to be the world police, interfering in foreign affairs that are highly complex and seemingly fraught with lies and deceit. 

To this point, there is menacing unpredictability about the future of the war in Ukraine and the potential battle brewing for world hegemony. If there is anything that we need to acknowledge, it is that the past few years of foreign policy have been disastrous and dangerously enacted — which to no surprise, has been poorly related to the American public.

As the elections approach, rather than target opponents due to ideological basis, attempt reconciliation with your fellow voters and citizens. Aim to criticize the poor attempts by our government to provoke and stir the pot on a global situation that has the potential for catastrophe never seen before in human history. 

In short, choose to be on the right side of history, whatever that may mean.