January 23, 2020

Wait Just a Minute: Rachel Bronson on the Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced this morning. In this episode, Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, takes a minute to explain how the Doomsday Clock works, examine if nuclear weapons make the world safer, and recommend her favorite movie involving nuclear warfare.

Wait Just a Minute: Rachel Bronson on the Doomsday Clock

What is the Doomsday Clock?

The Doomsday Clock is set by the Bulletin of the the Atomic Scientists every year, and it's an indication about how close we are to ending humanity through man-made threats. We focus on climate change and nuclear risks, and lately, increasingly, disruptive technologies.

Do nuclear weapons make the world safer?

No, and the more nuclear weapons we have, the greater the likelihood that we have an accident. But it's also very dangerous to have no nuclear weapons if one country has one of them.

What nuclear threat concerns you the most?

I am most concerned about accidents and misperceptions leading inadvertently to a nuclear exchange.

How hard is it to build a nuclear weapon?

The hardest part about building a nuclear weapon today is not necessarily the know-how, although that is difficult, but it is acquiring the materials needed to actually build the weapon. Especially because the international community has been trying to hold back the materials required to build one.

What's your favorite movie involving nuclear warfare?

I think everyone would probably have to say "Dr. Strangelove." But if you're gonna watch a second, I'd recommend Eric Schlosser's "Command and Control."


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.


| By Ian Klaus

Did the UNSG Say “Revolution”?

While there is nothing convenient about 2020, the upcoming Pritzker Forum on Global Cities has been helpfully anticipated by a series of publications that speak to the high stakes currently in play in cities around the world and the urgent need - from the perspective of both efficacy and equity - to adapt governance practices.

| By Laurence Ralph, Thomas Abt, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Police Reform Lessons from Around the World

Princeton University’s Laurence Ralph and the Council on Criminal Justice’s Thomas Abt join Deep Dish to explain why police brutality is not a uniquely American phenomenon and argue the strongest examples of successful police reform come from outside the United States.

| By Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Thailand’s Youth Demand Democratic Reforms

Political scientist Pavin Chachavalpongpun joins Deep Dish to explain how social media makes these Thailand's pro-democracy protests different than past movements and why the United States should see Thailand as a foreign policy priority when negotiating a rising China.

| By Maha Yahya, Emile Hokayem, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Can Lebanon Overcome Corruption and Crisis?

Carnegie Middle East Center Director Maha Yahya and the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Emile Hokayem join Deep Dish to examine the ongoing protest movement in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s role in the crisis, and how a system built on sectarian politics could be rebuilt.

| By Laura Rosenberger, Jacob Helberg, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Making Cyberspace Safe for Democracy

The Alliance for Security Democracy’s Laura Rosenberger and Stanford University’s Jacob Helberg join Deep Dish to discuss digital interference, misinformation, and data privacy within the lens of geopolitics.