Friday, June 10, 2005

Nuclear Evolution

Evolution was once part of the ideology of progress - creatures evolving along a chain of perfection, successively adapting in new and better ways - are not men better than dogs? Are not Sheep better than bacteria?

Such a view, was, of course, nonsense. Natural selection through deescent with modification does not imply improvement or hierarchy, merely adaptation and suitability to an ecology. Everyone knows this now, except creationist numbskulls and their religious nutjob assistants.

Now, so far as I know, zoologists define altruism as not attacking first. Giving the opponent the opportunity to attack puts any creature at a disadvantage - ask any bareknuckle street fighter. In any ecology, therefore, there will be a drive to have suitable defensive capacities, i.e. the ability to land the first blow.

Where am I going with all this? North Korea claims it has nukes. Arse. Another tinpot dictatorship with epic level destructive weapons. We shouldn't be surprised, really - the science is out there, it wouldn't take too long to develop a means of making cheap nuclear weapons a vile totalitarian regime could, say, chuck at Japan. Oh, no no no no no.

This brings the current list of nuke wielders to:
North Korea
United Kingdom
United States
With Israel and Iran both likely to be near or actual but undeclared nuclear states. The list is growing, so much for non-proliferation.

The actual logic, though, is clear: nukes bring respect. They bring offensive capacity to the table, they bring evolutionary advantage in the international ecology. The technology exists and is relatively simple, given a few caveats such as access to uranium. If even North Korea has them, anyone could have them.

Somewhile ago, Phil at Actually Existing published a post about Just War which I thunked was reaonably insightful. The main point is this:
Which brings us, indirectly, back to the 'last resort'. Suppose that people and nations determine one another's actions; suppose that some of these 'determinations' are acceptable and others not. The 'last resort' is then the point at which 'unneeded, unwanted and oppressive' determinations cannot be removed or alleviated, other than by force or the threat of force.
A worthile point on Just War theory (although self defence is actually a problematic area I've dealt with on this blog before). My point in citing it though, is the idea that interactive determinations lie behind war, the compulsion to go to war in order to remain in existence - it isn't about blame or who gets the first shot in, it's about the situation where two actors are placed in a situation where they need to forget altruism - the hallmark of human polity - and go to war.

If that inter-actor context promotes war, it promotes securing the means to acheive and win war, in a world where nukes are possible, that means getting nukes, as most of Asia has (over half the world's population lives in nuclear states now, unless I miss my mark).

Opposing nukes won't get rid of them, only opposing the situational logic that creates them.


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