The optimum number of nuclear weapons is zero, that’s the argument behind Countdown to Zero, a new film about nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, the world has around 23,000 of them, not all of them accounted for.
The film explores the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons, of black market arms sales, rogue states, and nuclear proliferation. The only safe course of action is to decommission them, one at a time, until there are none left.
It’s a view that is shared by Barack Obama, who has committed “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons”, while acknowledging that it may not be something we see in his lifetime.
Is a world without nuclear weapons possible? Certainly, but it’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be soon. Plenty of those that have them won’t be willing to give them up. Plenty of those without them are desperate to get them. The UK is one of the countries moving in the wrong direction, planning to renew the Trident missile system even in the middle of spending cuts. So far, South Africa is the only country to have developed nuclear weapons and then decided not to keep them.
If a nuclear-free world looks near impossible right now, then as far as I’m concerned that makes it all the more important to get involved. So catch Countdown to Zero at the cinema (UK) if you can. Organise a local screening. Sign the petition at Global Zero, and badger your politicians to keep disarmament on the agenda.