Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Riddle Me This

I fear redundancy. I've written several times here about the manifest disconnect between the words of the Messiah and the reality of either his actions or the world we live in. For example, we've got the question of spending versus income and how it applies to a national budget. Or, maybe there is effort versus reward and the relationship of that to economic equality (whatever that means.)

He outdid himself this week-end. He spoke in truly inspiring terms about nuclear proliferation and taking the lead for the world to follow by rendering the country he is responsible for defenseless. While he was doing it, our enemies were graphically illustrating the ludicrous truth of his idealistic flight of fantasy. Their nose-thumbing was followed immediately thereafter by the global response of the Dis-United Nations. A collective "tsk-tsk" was heard from the Security Council followed by a deep and profound sigh.

Read this and weep:

Reality, I Divorce You

During the Victorian Era, diplomacy masked itself as a morality play. There were "good guys" and "villains" with your nation always being on the proper side of the ethical equation. During the first half of the Twentieth Century the United States rose twice to "save the world for democracy." That illustrates it perfectly.

But, then thinking shifted drastically. Folks like Hans Morganthau and Henry Kissinger postulated that nations acted rationally, not morally. They act in their perceived self-interest. They are like children, rambunctious but able to understand consequences and outcomes. They can be maneuvered by positive or negative reinforcement. Do what we prefer and you will get a cookie or a beneficial trade agreement. Do what we told you not to and you will go to bed without your favorite TV show or we will militarily deal with you. Self-interest determines how the child/nation then responds.

So explain this to me. If nations perceive nuclear weapons as a symbol of their technical prowess and military capability would they not strive for them? If they see nations in possession of nuclear weapons able to exercise considerably more power in relations with others, would they not wish to join the club? If they view nuclear retaliatory capability as life insurance for their people would they not seek it?

Are there fewer or more nations each day on the verge of nuclear capability? The answers to all of these questions are obvious. Then, if that is the case, how will unilateral nuclear disarmament by the US impact their choices? If we lead the way into passivity and defenselessness, will they blithely follow? Will terminating a purely defensive, non-nuclear, anti-missile system make us more secure? Will the world truly be a better place?

It takes no rocket scientist to know the answers. Certainly a Harvard graduate should be able to figure it out, particularly with the counsel of the alleged "smartest woman on the planet."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great entry, Ed.

BO is the Neville Chamberlin of the 21st century.

A pretty good overview of this shift in thinking can be found in Allan Bloom's _Closing of the American Mind_.

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