How great a threat to humanity is a nuclear war? I’m assuming it is greater than ever, as confirmed by the Doomsday Clock moving closer to midnight?
Noam Chomsky (NC): It moved closer to midnight than it’s been since its first setting in 1947. The threat of nuclear war is one reason.
In August, President Trump dismantled the Reagan-Gorbachev INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty, and immediately tested weapons that violate the treaty.
He has indicated that he may not sign the new Start [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty], which essentially terminates the arms-control regime that has significantly lessened the dire threat of nuclear war.
Diplomacy, the only hope, has increasingly been sidelined in favour of provocation and force.
Unless this disastrous course is reversed, not just on the part of the world-dominant power, prospects for survival are dim.
How do you account for the unwillingness of the US and its allies to support international efforts to prohibit nuclear weapons, with the aim of abolishing them, via the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), for instance?
NC: Along with all other states with nuclear arsenals, the leadership ranks power above survival.
What would you say to those who argue Russia could make the first move?
NC: Or China, or India, or Israel — in all cases act to reduce the likelihood. That applies to ourselves, of course.
If re-elected, how likely is Donald Trump to further escalate the nuclear arms race by failing to renew the New Start treaty with Russia in 2021?
NC: He has called it a “bad deal,” but that’s just his term for any treaty that he can’t claim for himself. It’s uncertain, but there is very little time left for negotiations.
What should concerned citizens around the world be doing to try and encourage their governments to eradicate nuclear weapons?
NC: Something like the major popular campaigns of earlier years to reduce the terrible threats and to rid us of this curse.