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Conversations on Money, Politics and Science

Posted: February 9, 2017 at 10:10 am by , in Commentaries

Conversations on Money, Politics and Science is a weekly segment with KGNU’s Maeve Conran and Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.

The Age of Enlightenment and the scientific and technological revolutions promised a world of reason, democracy, and prosperity. The fog of superstition would be lifted by the light of understanding. Yet, in the 21st century United States, science is so besieged even in the face of the existential threat of climate disruption. Beleaguered scientists are taking to the streets in protest. Nuclear weapons have remained in launch-on-warming posture, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Our goal with these conversations is to shed light on that evolution of the last 250 years by engaging in thoughtful fact- and science-based conversations on the state of the world and our place in it.

In this segment we discuss Iran’s recent missile test and the Trump administration’s response that it was putting Iran “on notice.”

“Iran is within its rights under the nuclear deal to conduct a ballistic missile test. I’d say it’s very provocative of them to do it knowing that the Trump administration does not like the nuclear deal, President Trump said so during the campaign, that he might withdraw from the deal – those statements have been moderated since then. But it’s unclear to me what this threat means.”

North Korea has also reportedly recently tested a ballistic missile. “The general consensus of people who monitor nuclear activities is that North Korea is now a nuclear weapons state. They have several, maybe 5 or 10 nuclear weapons, they are producing nuclear materials, plutonium and perhaps enriched uranium as well.”

Arjun says that a test of an inter continental ballistic missile could be provocative and dangerous and could lead in the direction of conflict. “At the same time there’s no discussion of re-engaging North Korea or the terms on which they might be persuaded to stop.” In South Korea there is ongoing discussion on inviting the United States to reintroduce nuclear weapons to the area. The United States had nuclear weapons in South Korea since the 1950’s until 1991, aimed at North Korea.

“Looking at the history of North Korea and when they’re bellicose and when they’re not, I think their top goal is to end the Korean war. They’re not going to give up their nuclear weapons but they may give up testing of an ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile.)”