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Keeping us in Fear

The weapon to end all wars – by keeping us in fear

FBaOur blog for February is by Francis Benell, an S6 student at St Columba’s High School in Dunfermline. He hopes to study law, with a view to being a criminal lawyer. He takes a keen interest in current affairs and his insight into the possession of nuclear weapons is pertinent to the stance taken by Russia and NATO countries right now. A new generation lives in fear.


“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” This is what J. Robert Oppenheimer said after witnessing the first detonation of the atomic bomb he is credited with inventing.

So why have nine of the world’s governments decided they too would become “the destroyer of worlds” by arming their states with nuclear weapons that have continuously been developed to be deadlier and more destructive?

 There are currently 13,000 of the most inhumane and indiscriminate weapons in arsenals around the globe within world superpowers such as the USA and China, and in the UK, and with an additional thirty-two other nations endorsing these weapons, which could lead to a greater number added to these arsenals.

 Manufacturing and owning nuclear weapons is against international law, and with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons coming into effect on 21st January 2021, the motivation to remove the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons has vastly increased, leading to many questions about why we have them in the first place. The only times nuclear weaponry has been used was on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945. Ever since then we have lived in constant fear of their use.

 This was especially so during the Cold War which my mum lived through in the USA. She has told me how she felt and how many others in the USA thought that one day a nuclear weapon could be detonated at any time. They lived with that constant threat looming over them. This Is even more relevant today with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons if any UN nation entered Ukraine – clear evidence that whoever has nuclear weapons can keep the world in “peace” by creating a constant state of fear.

 More than ever, I feel that nuclear weapons could one day be used again, whether by Russia in apparent retaliation or North Korea with their frequent displays of long-range missiles being shot over its neighbours. I now live my life like my mum once did, in constant fear that one day the country I live in will be obliterated by a nuclear weapon all because a world leader pushed the “big red button.”

 I have grown up in a world with conflict, and as a US citizen I am bound legally to register for selective service, once I turn 18.  This means that I am now at a greater risk of being involved in a conflict that would put me closer to a nuclear situation.

 I believe that nuclear weapons are unlawful and have only completed their mission to “end all wars” by luring us into a state of ongoing fear and paranoia at every conflict and global quarrel.

The weapon that is to keep us in global peace only does so by removing our personal peace.

Francis Benell

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