Monday, September 27, 2010

Mutually Assured Destruction - A New Hand Is Dealt - The War On Terrorism

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Mutually Assured Destruction -A New Hand Is Dealt

Acknowledging The Unforeseen Wild Card

Dear Friends, Futurists and Fellow Internationalists:

As a youngster growing up in the United States during the early 1960's (post -Hiroshima, but hearing frightening murmurings about the Vietnam "Conflict" and its inevitable metastasis), our teachers would speak to us of the notion of Mutually Assured Destruction ("MAD").

The safety factor, the line which would never, ever be crossed by warring nations was the threat of total nuclear devastation, and the annihilation of both warring parties; perhaps even the entire world. With the major superpowers having the means to launch nuclear weapons capable of destroying eachother, there could, in theory, be no victory. Neither party would survive.

The classic model was of two rational (a subjective term) nations, each wanting to attack the other, but each afraid of the devastation of the inevitable counterattack. With the technology of that era, Moscow could launch a barrage of nuclear missiles at Washington, DC, but they would be instantly detected by the vigilant folks at the Pentagon, who would fire a barrage back at Moscow and other strategic points in Russia. Both parties would be destroyed. It did not make any sense for either party to strike if it knew that its adversary would automatically, in a knee-jerk response, counterattack.

The angry party pushing the button would be committing suicide. And reasonable persons (politicians were considered persons at that time), in reasonable times would prefer to live, and enjoy what life had to offer.

This threat of MAD would keep everyone in line -- or at least restrict the parties to such less-destructive reconciliation and petty power-grabbing strategies as espionage, detente (diplomacy), third-party intervention (i.e., calling upon the United Nations of the world to adjudicate the dispute and warn the naughty parties of sanctions or banishment) "conventional" warfare (no nukes allowed!) and a great deal of bluffing and gamesmanship.

Sadly, all of these latter strategies depend upon the assumption that neither party wanted to die...that neither party wanted to have the blood and ash on his hands of millions of vaporized, innocent women and children due to a hasty call...that neither party could want to be eternally consigned to the lowest levels of Hell (or its metaphorical equivalent) fi indeed there was an afterlife. Purely egomaniacally, neither party wanted to be remembered in the lengends and lore of "future cavemen" as the doomsday demon who ended all prospects of joy on an entire planet.

Where reason is involved, there is usually a combination in some ratio of 1) either the opportunity to maximize gain or minimize loss, and 2) the will to continue living, and to enjoy some of the potential pleasures and possibilities that life may hold in store...the sweet prospect of brighter days, of new experiences, of raising families, of tasting victories, of witnessing wonders.

In the hand that has now been dealt us, MAD is irrelevent. When people are willing (or ever eager) to die for a cause as well as to kill for a cause; when people view this world merely as a launching pad to nirvana; when people can so resolutely relate those who do not believe as they do to sub-human or demonic status; when people are devoid of any hesitation or compassion when it comes to decimating entire cities of living, breathing, non-combatants, MAD is a nostalgic fiction.

Terrorists are usually not born to be terrorists -- they are transformed though a bitter combination of poverty, repression, isolationism, ignorance and fatalistic, hateful and violent indoctrination. Life is so unpleasant that it is a sweet mercy to dream of ending it to enter a newer, better heavenly afterlife. A life unseen, but yet rumored to be filled with glory and rewards for those who have committed unspeakable acts of cruelty upon their fellow Human Beings while martyring themselves in the center of the gruesome process.

A life of poverty, repression, isolationism, ignorance and fatalistic, hateful indoctrination does not yield rational people. It yields living, walking time bombs. Beings with nothing worth living for except killing others in the name of a cause which they are convinced will justify immeasurable carnage and ultimate suicide.

The "War On Terrorism" cannot ever be won so long as the percentage of the world's population who are poor, ignorant, repressed, hungry and hopeless continues to grow. You cannot negotiate with a true terrorist - his target has already been acquired and he is compelled beyond all reasoning to complete his mission. He is so profoundly programmed that his fate, and perhaps the fate of all of those around him, is sealed.

The only way to truly fight terrorism is to keep it from developing and proliferating. And, regardless of how you may feel about terrorism, it cannot be fought when it has already blossomed. It must be stopped by changing the environment that breeds it -- if people have more to live for, and a better quality of life, they are much less likely to embrace the ways of terrorism.

Ironically, the way to fight terrorism in its formative stages, and to ultimately defeat it and render it extinct, is with Humanitarian Intervention. I'm not being nice - I am being pragmatic.


Douglas Castle  

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Douglas Castle
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