Existential Risk Does Not Touch Us

Existential Risk Does Not Touch Us

What Steps Prevent Existential Catastrophe?

Big Picture / History / World Since 1920 / Existential Risk

Sci-fi visions of a pandemic, nuclear apocalypse, climate apocalypse, ai and robotic warlords, the rise of a fascist leader, and the end of truth and trust, are so massive and abstract that they do not alarm us or cause any sense of urgency in the microsphere our daily lives.

The coronavirus pandemic and the slow but deliberate rise of Russia’s Putin — a weird and ruthless megalomaniacal dictator — should be lessons learned that

  • existential threats can sneak up and strike us in a most sudden, destructive and real way, and
  • Existential threats must be faced together in a united global effort, not by the failed notion of unilaterally Making America Great Again inside our gated communities, while democracies are attacked and human rights atrocities are committed with impunity.

The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats – and Our Response – Will Change the World by Ian Bremmer

Unfortunately, there is a global perception of human species exceptionalism supported by our religious concoctions. But along comes a hurricane, tornado, massive flood, raging forest fire, earthquake, volcanic eruption, or pandemic, and nature puts us in our place.

Nature is the true exceptionalism, not humans.

Will our arrogance cause us to stumble into existential disasters again and again, and we will eventually get what we deserve?

What are some practical steps to move the world away from catastrophe?

  • Establish global limits on nuclear weapons and delivery systems
    • Adopt no-first-use of nuclear weapons as a global policy
    • Invite Russia to rejoin the NATO-Russia Council for risk-reduction and escalation-avoidance
    • Eliminate the US president’s sole authority to launch nuclear weapons
    • Coalesce a world moratorium on nuclear tests, long-range missile tests, enriched uranium/plutonium production

Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate by M. E. Sarotte
The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War by Fred Kaplan

  • Accelerate decarbonization and sustainable development
    • Incentivize investors to redirect funds away from fossil fuel projects to climate-friendly investments
    • Provide more financial support and technology cooperation to developing countries
    • Hold all political, business and religious leaders accountable for addressing climate change

  • Work through the World Health Organization (WHO) et al to reduce biological risks of all kinds
    • Implement more effective regimes for monitoring biological research and development
    • Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

  • Identify and implement practical and ethical ways to combat internet-enabled misinformation and disinformation

Is America (with NATO) ready to accept the Nuclear Risk to stop Putin and save Ukraine?

Or will the world sacrifice Ukraine at the altar of Putin because we are stymied by the “Paradox of the Nuclear Threat”?


Is America (with NATO) ready to accept the Nuclear Risk to stop Putin and save Ukraine?