Nine years after then-U.S President Barack Obama committed America to the pursuit of “a world without nuclear weapons,” nine months after the U.N. adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and five months after the Nobel Peace Prize Committee conferred one of the world’s highest honors on the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, nuclear war looms larger than it has in more than half a century.

The Doomsday Clock stands at two minutes to nuclear midnight, with the journal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists having moved it 30 seconds forward in January. The last time the clock showed midnight this close was in 1953, shortly after the United States and the Soviet Union tested their first thermonuclear bombs. North Korea was then an infant state, war-torn and impoverished. It still is impoverished, if living standards are the measure. But it is no longer war-torn, and it is nuclear.

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