Ernest J. Moniz, Energy secretary under the Obama administration, believes the world has become a more dangerous place in light of rising geopolitical tensions, such as those between North Korea and the West.
"I would say that the nuclear threats today are as bad (as) or worse than they had been since the Cuban missile crisis. North Korea's part of that, U.S.-Russia relations, India-Pakistan — so that's really an issue," Moniz told CNBC on Thursday at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.
"I won't speak entirely causally, but let's say the world has become a more dangerous place," he added.
The Cuban missile crisis, which took place in October 1962, was when the U.S. and the Soviet Union came "closest to nuclear conflict," according to the U.S. State Department's website.
It was a critical point in history, where leaders from both sides engaged in a tense military and political standoff over Soviet missiles in Cuba.
Fast forward to the present, and geopolitical tensions continue to leave their mark on the world, with global financial markets showing signs of nervousness this week.
On Tuesday, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that a ballistic missile fired by North Korea had passed over Japan — a provocation that was met with criticism from the United Nations and leaders worldwide.
Following the news, President Donald Trump released a statement saying that "all options are on the table".