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Why are millennials fearing the outbreak of nuclear war?

Why are millennials fearing the outbreak of nuclear war?

Mehreen Zahra-Malik

According to a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the vast majority of millennials across the globe are fearful about the outbreak of a nuclear war within the next decade.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is an international humanitarian organisation that conducts yearly reports on social and political issues.

The bleak findings of the report

A recently released report conducted by the organisation shows that it surveyed 16,000 millennials — adults between the ages of 20 and 35 — in 16 countries and territories last year. These countries include: Afghanistan, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States.

It is worth noting that most of these states are already conflict-ridden, which could be one of the reason why the findings depicted a pessimistic mindset of it’s millennials. According to the report, the demographic is worried about what the future may hold and not looking forward to the upcoming decade.

“More than half of millennials — 54 percent — believe it is likely that a nuclear attack will occur in the next decade,” reads the report.

Malaysians most concerned about nuclear explosion

The report further indicated interesting statistics. Apparently, Malaysians are the most concerned about the outbreak of nuclear warfare, while Syrians are least concerned. Analysing this data is interesting, Malaysia is a relatively conflict-free country that has been facing economic prosperity for the past few years. It also has one of the highest standards of living. Ironically enough, this peaceful state of affairs may be the reason why Malaysian millennials are the most fearful for the outbreak of nuclear warfare. People living in peaceful times are far more concerned of external or internal factors disturbing that peace.

The statistic about Syrians paints a different picture. Syria has been facing internal and external warfare for years and the state of affairs in the conflict-ridden nation are incredibly austere. Due to that fact that Syrian millennials are living through a war and having experiences that the average millennial may not, they are likely more realistic in their worldview. Although one may assume that they may be more pessimistic, it is likely that they are able to see things for how they really are and predict the outcome of international crises’ a bit better. For this reason, they may not fear a nuclear outbreak because traditional warfare is enough to destroy a nation, as they’ve witnessed first hand. Additionally, nuclear warfare guarantees mutually assured destruction, which no nuclear nation would want.

What else was in the report?

The report details 12 different issues and asked millennials to vote on which ones they found most pressing and likely to occur. Although nuclear warfare was high on that list, it was beat out by unemployment, corruption and increasing poverty.

Still, the fear of a nuclear attack seems to be a trend. A January 2018 World Economic Forum survey of 1,000 leaders from government, business, and other industries, for example, identified nuclear war as a top threat.What’s causing this fear?

There are several reasons why millennials are so fearful about the outbreak of nuclear warfare. International tensions between North Korea and the United States are still high and with the former being unpredictable and combative, the possibility of nuclear warfare between them isn’t entirely eradicated.

Moreover, 2019 saw one of the most significant human rights crises in the decade. That being, the Kashmir issue. When the Indian government revoked the partial autonomy granted to the disputed territory of Kashmir, there was international outcry. The two nations have fought over this disputed land in the past and these recent developments and the continuous outpour of more alarming news from the region, such as the fact that the region is currently in the midst of a lockdown, can trigger the outbreak of a nuclear war at any time.

This is all not to mention the USA and Russia, two nations that have been on the brink of nuclear warfare since the Cold War era.

Millennials aren’t just pessimistic about nuclear war

Nuclear catastrophe isn’t the only thing bothering millennials these days. About 47 percent of respondents said they believed they would see World War III in their lifetimes, while 46 percent said they wouldn’t. It’s a relatively even split, but the fact that just under half of the world’s surveyed adults believe they will witness perhaps the globe’s worst-ever conflict is dark.

Dismal results

The responses led the organization’s president, Peter Maurer, to lament how millennials see the world. “Fatalistic, hopeful, worried and uncertain,” he wrote about the results in the report’s foreword. “Things are not likely to get easier for millennials: they are living in a world in which wars are becoming more and more complex.”

But as Maurer also notes, “Millennials are the politicians, decision-makers, strategists, and opinion-makers of tomorrow.” It’s possible their fears about what could happen might lead them to avoid the worst. In that sense, then, there is hope.

Hope for the future after all?

Interestingly, the study also found that “the clear majority of millennials think that wars and armed conflict are avoidable, with those from war-affected countries/territories more hopeful than those in conflict-free countries.” That’s quite a sign that maybe those who have seen horror know or believe that situations can only get better from rock bottom.

For the younger generation to feel so morbid about the world’s future perhaps says less about them and more about the current generations in charge.

Keep up to date with more news at ProperGaanda: Artistic expression under threat in Pakistan: 5 instances


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