Friday, July 07, 2006

Ignoring Nuclear Logic

How strange to read commentary on the on-going confrontations between the U.S. and North Korea and Iran concerning nuclear technology. What I find unbelievable is that I've yet to read anyone who questions the underlying premise, which is that some countries have the right to certain technology while others don't. We're being resourceful when we develop something like germ warfare or suitcase nukes, but they're "renegade nations" who cannot be trusted with such things. Can someone explain the moral argument behind this? I don't think there is one.

Is there any doubt that the first Europeans in the New World did their best to keep the secret of their "fire-sticks" from the native Americans? The inventors of dynamite were surely jealous of their explosive new toy. Nobody wants potential enemies to have access to our latest weaponry, but sooner or later, they get it. Such is the nature of technological drift.

So we can assume, with close to 100% certainty that Iran, North Korea and anyone else willing to invest a bit of time and money will eventually have nuclear bombs if they want them. That cat got out of the bag decades ago. So why are we still trying to control something that is already way beyond our control?

Because the only other option is to shift to a new paradigm for international relations. This new paradigm will be characterized by global MAD (mutually-assured destruction). This time, it's not just a couple of countries who are capable of wiping each other out, it's pretty much everyone. We're in the transition from living in a town where only the sheriff and a couple of other prominent thugs have guns, to one of those Pakistani villages where absolutely everyone over the age of 7 is walking around with an AK-47. A very different situation, to say the least. And it's not a situation that bodes well for the sheriff, if he keeps ignoring the fact that he's not the only one with a gun any more.

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