Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Brazil joins axis of evil :-) How soon before the Americans start bombing?

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Brazil to produce enriched uranium

It's not funny really. I have a horrible suspicion that the world is gearing up to go back to nuclear power when the petrol runs out. There must be the technology to make smaller, cheaper and safer nuclear power-plants. But it's still a bloody risky game. They should be investing in proper alternatives.

The second reason this isn't funny is that although I'm joking about the Americans bombing ... there is something. Basically the logic of the paranoid Project for the New American Century is that America musn't allow anyone else to become militarily a threat. Somehow, other countries must be prevented from gaining military power. To ensure US security.

I seem to remember George Bernard Shaw parodied this attitude in his play about the suffragettes. At one point some old buffer of a general says "You must admit [somethingorother] is essential to our security" to which the response is "[Somethingorother] is essential to the security of the principality of Monacco but they aren't going to get it!".

Most people in most of the world are never going to have the security that powerful nations think they deserve. But they manage, of necessity, to live without. Now we have an age of imagined terror. Statistically we're safer than ever (proof : we live longer, look at the demographics) Yet we still clamour for extra reassurance.

The US wants to feel safer by denying other countries powerful weapons. The other countries want to feel safer by having them. The West wants to secure it's economy and economic dominance by prioritising it's interests in the WTO. The rest of the world want something else.

But we can't all have this kind of security through strength. The result is just an arms race that makes everyone less safe. The logic of powerful countries jostling for the status of "top nation" and "best armed nation" is what led to the first world war. Right now, too many people remember the second world war and talk about the danger of appeasing crazy dictators. Not enough people remember the first.

Actually that link is a good read. It's very easy to dismiss conspiracy theories about the people in power. After all, c'mon, politicians can't really get away with lying, faking document, and manufacturing wars simply for politcal reasons. That doesn't happen, right?

Well Bismarck did it. Less than 200 years ago. And he used these tricks to set up a network of diplomatic alliances (individualistic contracts) between countries to preserve the stability of his German empire. When those aliances were triggered, the resulting "great war" was so catastrophic that people have rejected diplomacy in favour of international law and institutions like the UN ever since.

Until now ...

No comments: