Saturday, August 05, 2006

I'm So MAD

Mutually Assured Destruction

An old doctrine from the cold war. The idea goes that if your opponent has nation-destroying weapons, then so should you, because if your opponent strikes first and annihilates you, you can do the same in retaliation. It was supposed to act as a deterrent. Each side claimed they were only stockpiling weapons in case the other attacked first. And so it went that the US and USSR each amassed WMDs, each hoping to have just as many - if not more than - the other. Yes, several decade ago people thought it was a good idea to have enough WMDs to destroy every city on the face of the earth three times over (and that's just with what the US had). If you reduce your stockpiles, decommission just one nuke, you won't be able to strike back as effectively. Your only option is keep making more nukes to be more and more threatening. The old looney tunes cartoon where they keep pulling larger and larger weaponry out comes to mind here.

The trick is, how do you get out of this? Let's step out of our roles as Americans, or even as Russians, and approach this problem starting with what we both have in common. Both are human. Both feel pain. Both would rather NOT be radioactive ash. I'm willing to bet that most of the Russians in the USSR had never met an American, and vice versa. If they were to meet, and if they had any sense, they would realize that they had no real reason to want to kill the other. Neither would have anything to gain by participating in the first strike, and, more importantly, a retaliatory strike WOULD NOT BRING BACK THEIR LOVED ONES. How does killing millions of innocent people in an exchange resurrect millions of innocent people?

It doesn't. Our two hypothetical friends finally meeting each other would have all the lies and hatred inherent to their country, based solely on the propaganda of their respective states. If they can see past the bullshit, and reach down to the core of their beings, they would see that death and destruction brings nothing but more of the same. Why would they want that?

They don't. But the old men who run their respective countries want them to think this, because fear is a powerful motivator, and makes people act irrationally. (If you don't believe me, look at Bush's poll numbers right after 9/11). Don't trust the old men. They want your emotions so they can control you. They want you to be dependent on them. They make you distrust those they deem to be your enemies. They make you hate them, think of them as less than human. They make you believe that it is right and just to vapourise millions of people. So, in the end, its all a ruse to consolidate power and make the peasants suck on the tit of the state, mewling and crying in fear. The sick thing is, it worked.

And that's what makes me so MAD.


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