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President Donald Trump's vow to hit North Korea with 'fire and fury like the world has never seen' is an unveiled threat to unleash America's most potent weapons of mass destruction onto the Korean peninsula.
According to many defence analysts, the risk of nuclear confrontation over Europe and the Indian subcontinent has also increased in recent years.
Turn - Events - Countries - June - United
In a more hopeful turn of events, 122 countries voted in June to adopt the United Nations Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons in New York.
The 'ban treaty' will make nuclear weapons illegal for ratifying countries, and many see it as an opportunity to kick start a renewed effort towards multilateral disarmament.
Supporters - Treaty - War - Crisis
Supporters of the treaty argue that even a limited, regional nuclear war would produce a catastrophic and global humanitarian crisis.
Equally, other analysts suggest that the reality is not as severe as is often depicted.
March - Year - Matthias - Eken - Researcher
In March this year, Matthias Eken, a researcher of attitudes towards nuclear weapons, wrote in The Conversation that their destructive power 'has been vastly exaggerated' and that one should avoid overusing 'doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic language'.
Eken argued that nuclear weapons are not as powerful as often described, on the basis that a 9 megaton thermonuclear warhead dropped over the state of Arkansas would only destroy 0.2% of the state's surface area.
Detonations - Planet - Civilisation - Risk - Weapons
He also observed that more than 2,000 nuclear detonations have been made on the planet without having ended human civilisation, and argued that if we want to mitigate the risk posed by nuclear weapons, we must not exaggerate those risks.
Eken's sanguine approach towards nuclear weapons stands in contrast to the more dramatic rhetoric of global humanitarian catastrophe and existential threats to humanity.
Basis - Latter
So what is the basis for the latter?
The greatest concern derives from relatively new research which has modelled the indirect effects of nuclear...
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