In a recent article, journalist Aisling Chater described the slow response of the Omicron fighters and experts after it was clear that a hydrogen bomb had been exploded.
She rightly concluded that, from the faces that are being present at the time, it is obvious there were many who failed to do much more than merely shrug their shoulders.
But we have come to believe that it was not just the scientists and the officials who failed. There was a split among the champions too.
Though many sought to avoid responsibility for the lack of action, none were bold enough to say, “even if something had happened we would have needed to be first on the scene, it is not enough for that nation or group to say, ‘we had this or had that’. They must have to show they had committed to go and confront the situation. We would need evidence, and it had to be readily available. It may not have been enough to rush to judgement, there was not enough to prove to the outside world what we did do.
Many experts and advocates of nuclear disarmament, who had for so long called for the abandonment of nuclear weapons and have for years tried to prevent new ones being built, could no longer speak. They were hesitant. They saw a community divided, in which those closest to the cases were no longer able to speak.
This is all the more upsetting as it is the case of missiles that themselves fall within the control of governments. Facing the matter in terms of sabotage, it is very easy to rationalise that it would be worse to let them be at risk. If we then bring in any kind of moral code to the issue, we know that the ground in which those moral rules have to be applied is wider than simply the protection of civilians. It is the rule of law, the prerogative of governments. It is about surrendering our privileges and our systems of thought to be a part of a larger system of action – through the process of law enforcement.
We would never accept that the interests of our own identities should be given priority over the interests of another’s, and so we would struggle to do so now when someone else is asking the question of what their own interests are. We would expect to be able to answer that question with an unequivocal yes. If not, we would have reached the end of our moral compass. To stop now is to seriously doubt our own authority, our own credibility and our own ability to act.