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Young people today have not been sufficiently educated about the dangers of thermonuclear war. Some think a hydrogen bomb is just another weapon in the arsenals of the nuclear-armed nations. It is not. The H-bomb is far more powerful than an atomic bomb.

If our young are to have a chance to live full, happy lives, a fraught global nuclear landscape must be navigated. Nuclear diplomacy must be practiced with maximum skill.

In the past, Argentina and South Africa have agreed to give up nuclear weapons, thereby decreasing the risk of holocaust. Iran has been defanged for 10 years. Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, China, North Korea, and the United States are the nations with nuclear arsenals ready to go on trigger alert. All of them, except North Korea and Israel, which denies having nukes, have agreed, in varying degrees, to treaties limiting numbers and testing of nuclear weapons. Pakistan may be the most risky player, as Pakistani generals have independent authority to fire tactical nuclear weapons when they deem necessary. Of course, North Korea makes most of the news of late with its testing of missiles.

In response, the U.S. and other nations must work behind the scenes through third party diplomats such as Sweden’s, something we have begun to do. There is too much at stake not to do so. We must avoid miscalculations that the theatrics of bluster and counter-bluster can lead to. Such brinkmanship can end the world.

Gary Heath