As the nastiness between Russia and Georgia (and Europe and the US) grows nastier, we aught to keep in mind the picture below: (From Metamagical Themas, p792, designed by Jim Geier and Sharyl Green in 1981)
Click on it to see it more clearly. The caption below describes it: each dot is equivalent to the total firepower of the second world war, including the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The total picture represents the worlds nuclear armament. Two squares are enough to destroy all large and medium sized cities on the planet.
Hofstadter devotes the final chapters of Metamagical Themas to discussing the ludicrousness of the nuclear situation at that point. This was at the height of the cold war, when it seemed that the world was just a slip-up away from apocalypse. I feel like talking about such things has become pase, as if when the Soviet Union collapsed the problem was solved. Given the apparent rising nationalism in Russia, the fact that a major part of those weapons still exist, and that there's now plenty of other nuclear-armed nations, its probably time to begin reviving such discussions. Humanity really, really can't afford to mess this up.
Its a scary and unpleasant thing to talk about, but I feel like the lack of dialog about it the campaigns is a scarier thing.
I read today that this Nuclear pact with Russia is failing. I don't know too many of the details, but it talks about building a world bank of nuclear fuel to deter smaller nations from developing the full enriching technology (thus limiting the spread of weapons making capabilities). Seems like this is an outmoded solution to the problem. Understandable, and perhaps ingenious at some point, but it seems like it would be better all around to use whatever investment is involved in that program and install a bunch of solar panels in these countries that apparently need cheap energy.