Former US defense secretary William Perry warns that there is a greater risk of a nuclear catastrophe threatening the entire planet now than at any point during the Cold War.
Perry says that rogue states and unpredictable leaders coupled with regional conflicts and terrorism is leaving the world vulnerable to an accidental nuclear Armageddon.
During a a lecture at Stanford University he said: “Today the danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”
Daily Express reports:
He said there was a risk that North Korea’s warmongering rhetoric and attempts at building a nuclear-ready ballistic missile could easily switch from “bluster” to a “real threat”.
Branding Pyongyang a “festering sore”, he said: “If it erupts it would very likely entail some use of nuclear weapons.”
Dr Perry, who served at the Pentagon during President Clinton’s administration from 1994 to 1997, also highlighted the threat from Russia and its President Mr Putin.
He said: “Putin is diverting attention from these domestic problems by playing the national card and that could lead to real danger.
“The danger … is that (Mr Putin) will take actions which could cause him to blunder into conflict.”
Another threat is a regional war that spills over into neighbouring states and sparks a nuclear response, he said.
Dr Perry named India and Pakistan as a potential flashpoint, warning: “This is the nightmare of how a regional nuclear war could start.
“That would literally involve tens of millions of deaths…and could start a nuclear winter that could cause widespread tragedies all over the planet.”
But perhaps the most unpredictable threat comes from nuclear terrorism, which is “much, much more dangerous than most people understand”.
In his new book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, the retired official sets out a terrifying scenario which he said was “based on facts” where a nuclear device was detonated in the heart of Washington, killing 80,000 instantly including the President and members of Congress.
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