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Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's
war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars"
defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make
the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an
application of science be successful? Is a militarized space
inevitable, necessary or impossible?
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(1599 previous messages)
- 03:14pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1600
rshowalt - 07:32am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#266 of 396)
Ridding the world of nuclear weapons, this year or next year.
What would have to happen?
Given sufficient understanding (and hence motivation) among the
main participants, primarily the U.S. and Russia, almost all nuclear
weapons could be dismantled in about four weeks time, with rapid mop
up and convergence to a nuclear weapon free world thereafter.
The massive arsenals of the U.S. and the former USSR could be
dismanted by the military forces responsible for them, with the
opposite side, in every case, observing and assured that the weapons
could not be used as part of a first strike trick in the course of
stand down. Trust or good will would not be necessary nor would they
be assumed. Distrustful checking and deterrence would be used to
provide the vital assurances the nation states would properly need.
Leaders would "live in a fishbowl" during the full nuclear stand
down. Major leaders of each country would have to be "fully
observed" by the other side during stand down, so that tricks large
enough to constitute first strikes could not go undetected. Leaders
would be wired for sound that the other side could monitor, and
visual inputs also would have to be monitored by the other side.
Direct observation of nuclear weapon destruction by the enemies,
U.S. and Russia, would be as open as it could be made to be, and
still be fast.
Hostages from high status families in the two countries would be
exchanged for the duration of the stand down, treated as honored
guests who would nonetheless be killed if a first strike occurred.
These conditions, together, would rule out a first strike, and so
make the nuclear weapon elimination possible. Conventional
arsenals would remain intact.
rshowalt - 07:33am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#267 of 396)
After full nuclear disarmament of the U.S. and Russia, the US
and Russia, working together, and with their conventional military
forces intact, would see to it, through ordinary negotiation and the
coordinated use of force, that other nuclear weapon holding nations
destroyed their nuclear weapons, in ways that could be clearly
Rogue nuclear forces would be hunted down, with Russia, the US,
and other forces acting in coordination to confiscate their nuclear
weapons, and with rogues punished in memorable ways.
Full nuclear disarmament that leaves other military forces
intact is technically easy, and could be done quickly.
- 03:15pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1601
rshowalt - 07:35am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#268 of 396)
To motivate this nuclear disarmament, the following things
would have to happen.
People would have to see how bad nuclear weapons are, and how
first use of nuclear weapons is worse than anything that Hitler did.
IT IS NOT ALL RIGHT TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
For effective elimination of nuclear weapons, and to establish
conditions so that they stay eliminated, I believe that artists and
other people must make it memorably clear how bad nuclear weapons
are, so that no one wants to make them again. So that no one
condones their use again. If people remember this, anyone trying
to make a nuclear weapon is overwhelmingly likely to be caught and
punished. It should be the tradition that the property rights and
moral rights of anyone making nuclear weapons should be dismissed,
and any and all force mobilized to prevent the building of nuclear
weapons or their use.
The technical part of full world disarmament isn't especially
difficult for the nation states that would have to do it. The
motivation to eliminate nuclear weapons is the harder part.
rshowalt - 07:36am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#269 of 396)
Human actions work best according to the following pattern:
" Get scared .... take a good look ..... get
organized ..... fix it .... recount so all concerned are "reading
from the same page ...... go on to other things."
I believe that elimination of nuclear weapons should proceed
according to this pattern, with details well crafted enough so that
the pattern worked for almost all people in the world. It would be a
major challenge to disarm in a way that was aesthetically pleasing,
and understood to be honorable, by all concerned. I believe that
people are artistically perceptive enough to meet this challenge.
I believe that we could do it soon, and that we should do it
- 03:16pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1602
beckq - 09:19am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#270 of 396)
rshowalt - 07:36am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#269 of 269)
name any technology in human history that has been developed and
rshowalt - 10:38am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#271 of 396)
That shouldn't be too hard - the history of medicine is full of
technical patterns - which are technologies - that were used for a
long time, found to be useless, or less useful than something new,
and eliminated. The history of manufacturing is full of technologies
that spring into use, and are then replaced, often in quite short
times, by other technologies. Go to the Patent Office, search
patents more than fifty years old, looking at patents that were
actually worked, and you'll find that MOST of these patented
technologies have been eliminated. How many do you want, and what do
you want them for? Can I get something out of YOU (say your name,
and some work, and some honest checking) if I supply specific
You should have known the answer to that question, I believe. Was
ths just hazing?
In the building trades, asbestos was much used for a long time.
It was found to be dangerous, and it is being eliminated. Lead in
pipes and paints is a similar case. Want more examples?
rshowalt - 10:41am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#272 of 396)
Nuclear weapons are unacceptably dangerous, for reasons that have
not been well enough understood - FAR more dangerous than asbestos.
They've had historical uses, but they should be retired. It would
take the militaries of the world a little time (though
proportionately less inconvenience than the building trades have
taken handling asbestos) to eliminate nuclear weapons from the face
of the earth.
The damn things are dangerous, they have no workable military
use, they are expensive, and they could destroy the world.
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