A limited nuclear war, such as a conflict in South Asia between India and Pakistan, involving just 100 Hiroshima-size bombs -- less than 0.5% of the world's nuclear arsenal -- would put 2 billion people's lives and well-being at risk.
The local effects would be devastating. More than 20 million people would be dead in a week from the explosions, firestorms and immediate radiation effects. But the global consequences would be far worse.
The firestorms caused by this war would loft 5 million tons of soot high into the atmosphere, blocking out sunlight and dropping temperatures across the planet. This climate disruption would cause a sharp, worldwide decline in food production. There would be a 12% decline in U.S. corn production and a 15% decline in Chinese rice production, both lasting for a full decade. A staggering 31% decline in Chinese winter wheat production would also last for 10 years.
The resulting global famine would put at risk 870 million people in the developing world who are already malnourished today, and 300 million people living in countries dependent on food imports. In addition, the huge shortfalls in Chinese food production would threaten another 1.3 billion people within China. At the very least there would be a decade of social and economic chaos in the largest country in the world.
Each U.S. Trident submarine commonly carries 96 warheads, each of which is 10 to 30 times more powerful than the weapons used in the South Asia scenario. That means a single submarine can cause the devastation of a nuclear famine many times over. The United States has 14 of these submarines, plus land-based missiles and a fleet of strategic bombers. The Russian arsenal has the same incredible overkill capacity. Two decades after the Cold War, nuclear weapons are ill-suited to meet modern threats and cost hundreds of billions of dollars to maintain.
In 2011, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement called for its national societies to educate the public about these humanitarian consequences and called for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Seventeen nations issued a joint statement in May 2012 on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons that called for their total elimination. By this fall the number rose to 125 nations.
The peace movement however is deluding itself if it thinks that a capitalism free from nuclear weapons is possible. All wars in capitalism are in the interests of the capitalist class and the working class are the victims and cannon fodder of capitalist war. The abolition of global capitalism and the transformation to world socialism will remove the causes of war. If you really care about people you will want to campaign for their enlightenment; for an absence of nuclear weapons and war—in a word, for socialism.
Adapted From Here