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  • So you know when you're doubled over in pain

  • and you're wondering, is it your appendix

  • or maybe you ate something funny?

  • Well, when that happens to me, I call my friend Sasha --

  • Sasha is a doctor --

  • and I say, "Should I rush to the nearest emergency room

  • in a panic?

  • Or am I OK to relax and just wait it out?"

  • Yes, I am that annoying friend.

  • But in September 2017,

  • friends of mine were suddenly calling me

  • for my professional opinion.

  • And no, I'm not a doctor,

  • but they were asking me questions of life and death.

  • So what was going on in September of 2017?

  • Well, North Korea was suddenly and scarily all over the news.

  • Kim Jong-un had tested missiles

  • potentially capable of hitting major US cities,

  • and President Trump had responded with tweets of "fire and fury."

  • And there was real concern that tensions would escalate

  • to a potential war

  • or even nuclear weapons use.

  • So what my friends were calling and asking was:

  • Should they panic or were the OK to relax?

  • But really, they were asking me a fundamental question:

  • "Am I safe?"

  • While I was reassuring them that, no, they didn't need to worry just yet,

  • the irony of their question dawned on me.

  • What they hadn't really thought about

  • is that we've all been living under a much larger cloud for decades --

  • potentially a mushroom cloud --

  • without giving it much thought.

  • Now it's not surprising that friends of mine

  • and many others like them don't know much about nuclear weapons

  • and don't think about them.

  • After all, the end of the Cold War,

  • the United States and Russia, tension abated,

  • we started dismantling nuclear weapons,

  • and they started to become a relic of the past.

  • Generations didn't have to grow up with the specter of nuclear war

  • hanging over their heads.

  • And there other reasons people don't like to think about nuclear weapons.

  • It's scary, overwhelming.

  • I get it.

  • Sometimes I wish I could have chosen a cheerier field to study.

  • (Laughter)

  • Perhaps tax law would have been more uplifting.

  • (Laughter)

  • But in addition to that,

  • people have so many other things to think about in their busy lives,

  • and they'd much prefer to think about something over which

  • they feel they have some semblance of control,

  • and they assume that other people, smarter than they on this topic,

  • are working away to keep us all safe.

  • And then, there are other reasons people don't talk about this,

  • and one is because we, as nuclear experts,

  • use a whole lot of convoluted jargon and terminology

  • to talk about these issues:

  • CVID, ICBM, JCPOA.

  • It's really inaccessible for a lot of people.

  • And, in reality, it actually sometimes I think makes us numb

  • to what we're really talking about here.

  • And what we are really talking about here

  • is the fact that,

  • while we've made dramatic reductions in the number of nuclear weapons

  • since the Cold War,

  • right now, there are almost 15,000 in the world today.

  • 15,000.

  • The United States and Russia have over 90 percent of these nuclear weapons.

  • If you're wondering, these are the countries that have the rest.

  • But they have far fewer,

  • ranging in the sort of 300-ish range and below.

  • Adding to this situation is the fact that we have new technologies

  • that potentially bring us new challenges.

  • Could you imagine, one day, countries like ours and others

  • potentially ceding decisions about a nuclear strike to a robot,

  • based on algorithms?

  • And what data do they use to inform those algorithms?

  • This is pretty terrifying.

  • So adding to this are terrorism potential,

  • cyberattacks, miscalculation, misunderstanding.

  • The list of nuclear nightmares tends to grow longer by the day.

  • And there are a number of former officials,

  • as well as experts,

  • who worry that right now, we're in greater danger

  • than we were in various points in the Cold War.

  • So this is scary.

  • What can we do?

  • Well, thankfully,

  • ["Duck and Cover"]

  • we don't have to rely on the advice from the 1950s.

  • (Laughter)

  • We can take some control,

  • and the way we do that

  • is by starting to ask some fundamental questions

  • about the status quo

  • and whether we are happy with the way it is.

  • We need to begin asking questions of ourselves

  • and of our elected officials,

  • and I'd like to share three with you today.

  • The first one is,

  • "How much nuclear risk are you willing to take or tolerate?"

  • Right now, nuclear policy depends on deterrence theory.

  • Developed in the 1950s,

  • the idea is that one country's nuclear weapons

  • prevents another country from using theirs.

  • So you nuke me, I nuke you,

  • and we both lose.

  • So in a way, there's a stalemate.

  • No one uses their weapons, and we're all safe.

  • But this theory has real questions.

  • There are experts who challenge this theory

  • and wonder: Does it really work this way in practice?

  • It certainly doesn't allow for mistakes or miscalculations.

  • Now, I don't know about you,

  • but I feel pretty uncomfortable gambling my future survival,

  • yours, and our future generations',

  • on a theory that is questionable

  • and doesn't allow any room for a mistake.

  • It makes me even more uncomfortable

  • to be threatening the evaporation

  • of millions of people on the other side of the Earth.

  • Surely we can do better for ourselves,

  • drawing on our ingenuity to solve complex problems,

  • as we have in the past.

  • After all, this is a man-made,

  • human-made --

  • I shouldn't say "man," because women were involved --

  • a human-made problem.

  • We have human solutions that should be possible.

  • So, next question: "Who do you think should make nuclear decisions?"

  • Right now, in this democracy, in the United States,

  • one person

  • gets to decide whether or not to launch a nuclear strike.

  • They don't have to consult anybody.

  • So that's the president.

  • He or she can decide --

  • within a very limited amount of time,

  • under great pressure, potentially, depending on the scenario,

  • maybe based on a miscalculation or a misunderstanding --

  • they can decide the fate of millions of lives:

  • yours, mine, our community's.

  • And they can do this and launch a nuclear strike,

  • potentially setting in motion the annihilation of the human race.

  • Wow.

  • This doesn't have to be our reality, though, and in fact,

  • in a number of other countries that have nuclear weapons, it's not,

  • including countries that are not democracies.

  • We created this system. We can change it.

  • And there's actually a movement underway to do so.

  • So this leads me to my third question:

  • "What do your elected officials know about nuclear weapons,

  • and what types of decisions are they likely to take on your behalf?"

  • Well, Congress has a very important role to play

  • in oversight of and interrogating US nuclear weapons policy.

  • They can decide what to fund, what not to fund,

  • and they represent you.

  • Now unfortunately, since the end of the Cold War,

  • we've seen a real decline in the level of understanding,

  • on Capitol Hill, about these issues.

  • While we are starting to see some terrific new champions emerge,

  • the reality is that the general lack of awareness

  • is highly concerning,

  • given that these people need to make critically important decisions.

  • To make matters worse,

  • the political partisanship that currently grips Washington

  • also affects this issue.

  • This wasn't always the case, though.

  • At the end of the Cold War, members from both sides of the aisle

  • had a really good understanding about the nuclear challenges we were facing

  • and worked together on cooperative programs.

  • They recognized that nuclear risk reduction

  • was far too important to allow it to succumb to political partisanship.

  • They created programs

  • such as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program,

  • which sought to lock down and eliminate

  • vulnerable nuclear material in the former Soviet Union.

  • So we need to return to this era of bipartisanship,

  • mutual problem-solving

  • that's based on understanding and awareness about the challenges we face

  • and the real nuclear dangers.

  • And that's where you come in.

  • Public pressure is important.

  • Leaders need a constituent base to act.

  • So create that constituent base,

  • by asking them some simple questions.

  • Ask them, "What do you know about nuclear weapons?"

  • "Do you have a nuclear expert on your staff?

  • Or, if not, do you know somebody you could refer to

  • if you need to make an important decision?"

  • Start to find out what they believe

  • and whether it aligns with your own views and values.

  • Ask them, "How would you choose to spend US national treasure?

  • On a new nuclear arms race

  • or another national security priority,

  • such as cybersecurity or climate change?"

  • Ask them, "Are you willing to put aside partisanship

  • to address this existential threat that affects my survival

  • and your constituents' survival?"

  • Now, people will tell you nuclear policy is far too difficult to understand

  • and complexed and nuanced for the general public to understand,

  • let alone debate.

  • After all, this is "national security."

  • There needs to be secrets.

  • Don't let that put you off.

  • We debate all sorts of issues

  • that are critically important to our lives --

  • why should nuclear weapons be any different?

  • We debate health care, education, the environment.

  • Surely congressional oversight,

  • civic participation that are such hallmarks of US democracy,

  • surely they apply here.

  • After all, these are cases of life and death that we're talking about.

  • And we won't all agree,

  • but whether or not you believe nuclear weapons keep us safe

  • or that nuclear weapons are a liability,

  • I urge you to put aside partisan, ideological issues

  • and listen to each other.

  • So I'll tell you now what I didn't have the guts to tell my friends at the time.

  • No, you're not safe --

  • not just because of North Korea.

  • But there is something you can do about it.

  • Demand that your elected representatives

  • can give you answers to your questions,

  • and answers that you can live with

  • and that billions of others can live with too.

  • And if they can't,

  • stay on them until they can.

  • And if that doesn't work,

  • find others, who are able to represent your views.

  • Because by doing so, we can begin to change the answer to the question

  • "Am I safe?"

  • (Applause)

So you know when you're doubled over in pain

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【TED】Emma Belcher:關於核武器我們應該問的3個問題(3個關於核武器的問題,我們應該問Emma Belcher)。 (【TED】Emma Belcher: 3 questions we should ask about nuclear weapons (3 questions we should ask about nuclear weapons | Emma Belcher))

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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