Events of the past few days involving the underground nuclear test by North Korea, and the reactions by many countries, especially ones in that region, remind many of drama movies about the horrors of nuclear war. Some of these films, made during the darkest periods of the Cold War, include Fail Safe, Dr. Strangelove, On the Beach, and the U.S. TV movie: The Day After. The latter two of the four mentioned “Nuke Flicks, dramatize life in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust.
On the Beach, made in black and white more than 40 years ago, and more recently updated with a color version, paints a world in which virtually all life north of 30 degrees longitude, a line which runs through the bottom third of Australia and virtually all of the other inhabited continents, has ceased to exist in the aftermath of a strategic nuclear war. A lone U.S. nuclear powered submarine, the U.S.S. Swordfish, that happened to be at sea when the bombs went off, is the long survivor of the entire American naval fleet â€“ as well as the country itself. Finding that the air near Melbourne Australia is still relatively free from contamination, the Swordfish and its crew surface and head for Melbourne for some welcome R & R. What happens afterwards, for all who remember this movie classic is both sad and very thought provoking, as in the end, the radiation does reach this last haven of safety and results in the death of everyone by either radiation sickness or by suicide (mostly by swallowing a pill that “ends it”).
The other movie, The Day After, centers around the lives of two families living in Lawrence Kansas, about 20 miles west of Kansas City and home of the Univ. of Kansas. Following a series of dramatic political events, not unlike what is presently occurring today, WWIII breaks out after NATO forces invade East Germany to free Berlin from a Soviet Union induced stranglehold. The result is a strategic missile shootout between the two major superpowers, and virtual elimination of most major population centers in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The two families, who are related, take refuge in a fallout shelter; but things go wrong when two of the family members leave the shelter prematurely and are exposed to deadly radiation. Though there are survivors from this confrontation, the aftermath of this war, with Kansas City literally turned to dust and most survivors suffering form radiation sickness and hunger is a reality what makes one wonder if it is worthwhile surviving at all.
OK, North Korea is not the former Soviet Union, and perhaps a global nuclear holocaust would not be triggered by this country. But, other countries, like Iran, also want to join the nuclear party; and see a lack of concrete action against the North Koreans as a sign of weakness among countries like the USA. This can mean a run-away nuclear arms race that could very well result in a regional, if not global nuclear war. Though Israel is not threatened directly by the North Koreans, the indirect possibility via Iran is definitely feasible.
The stakes are much too high to try watered-down diplomacy; as up to now, this simply hasn’t worked. While an all out invasion of both North Korea and Iran may not be the answer either, a joint effort by major world bodies is needed to convince these two ‘rouge republics’ that they simply will not get their way. If this is not done, then all of us can speculate on what the ultimate outcome might be: either On the Beach, or The Day After.
October 15, 2006 at 7:39 am
I reckon there’s not much to comment on in this story.
The ‘results’ are clear enough!