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How nuclear war could happen

A former secretary of defense explains

What nuclear war would look like, according to an expert

This segment originally aired Mar. 6, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

As Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, Bill Perry has spent most of his life watching the world prepare for nuclear war. And given the current political climate, he thinks the world isn’t nearly as scared as it should be.

Since the dawn of the nuclear age in the 1940s, most of the worlds nuclear capability was split between the U.S. and Russia. The umbrella of American protection meant that its allies didn’t have to develop nukes of their own.

But that appears to be changing.

President Donald Trump has been less hawkish about standing up to Russia. Now, European Union is reportedly considering a nuclear deterrent of its own. During the first week of March — after reports came out that as he left office, President Barack Obama warned Trump that North Korea would be “the most urgent” problem — North Korea fired four missiles that landed just 200 miles from Japan.

All of this has experts, including Perry, worried about an era of renewed nuclear threat from jittery states and rogue actors. Perry often talks about his nightmare scenario: a small amount of enriched uranium falling into the hands of a terrorist group.

“I think of all of the nuclear catastrophes that could happen, this is the most probable,” the 89-year-old said. “I think, I would say, there’s probably an even chance, this would happen sometime in the next 10 years.”

 

 

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