The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Was Tulsi Gabbard’s nuclear war warning during Democratic debate hyperbole, or all too real?

In a rapid-fire question-and-answer portion of the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday evening, each candidate was asked about the greatest geopolitical threat to the U.S.

Multiple candidates mentioned nuclear weapons or nuclear proliferation, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii — a combat veteran who served on the armed services and foreign affairs committees — went further, claiming that “we’re in a greater risk of nuclear war today than ever before in history.”

Gabbard’s language might seem hyperbolic, especially to Americans who as children may have participated in “duck and cover” drills amid fears of a Soviet nuclear volley during the Cold War. But experts are split on whether she’s actually that far off — with one saying the nuclear war threat is as dire as ever, and another calling Gabbard’s assessment “nuts.”

“It is not clear that the risk of nuclear war is greater than ever before, but it is clearly higher than it needs to be or should be,” Jon Wolfsthal, director of the Nuclear Crisis Group and former senior White House National Security Council official under President Barack Obama, told ABC News.

Wolfsthal noted that the unnerving “Doomsday Clock” created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which has tracked the threat of nuclear disaster since the late 1940s, is currently set at two minutes to midnight, where it’s been since January 2018. The Bulletin says that’s “as close to the symbolic point of annihilation that the iconic Clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War” due to the dual threats of nuclear weapons and climate change.

“This suggests that things are as bad as they ever have been, but not worse,” said Wolfsthal, who sits on the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board.

In April, a United Nations expert on nuclear disarmament, Izumi Nakamitsu, warned the international body that the threat of nuclear weapons being used, “by accident or through miscalculation, is higher than it has been in decades.”

Read more at ABC News

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Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.