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Should the world go MAD?

  1. Oct 3, 2005 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Some may recall what kept us and the old Soviet Union from starting WWIII was MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction. We and the Soviets agree to maintain systems in such a way that if anyone launched a first strike, both countries were certain to be destroyed.

    Does the world need a similar policy to help prevent a first strike; perhaps a formal UN declaration that anyone who uses a nuke is automatically targeted by all other countries? A death sentence for countries?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2005 #2
    No.

    The world should strive to encourage humanity's *good* qualities. Living in fear, and threatening, is not part of that. I realize I sound pollyannish, but as long as we are in the "should" arena, I'll voice that opinion.
     
  4. Oct 3, 2005 #3

    cronxeh

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    Well its basic human instinct to understand fear, but rarely is the good a prevalent encouragement
     
  5. Oct 3, 2005 #4
    Well, during MAD, local conflicts were suppressed. And when it was over, there was the Balkan, Israel and the Middle East, Iraq, Somalia etc, again, at full impact. it occurs that MAD was good to keep those small conflicts down. But that is only perception; the main reason for conflict is enemy image building by those who have the desire to lead the flock. Mad only masks this. Better have dialogue and punch through the enemy image building process.
     
  6. Oct 3, 2005 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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  7. Oct 3, 2005 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    What worries me is the time... Eventually I think we can and will get past warfare, but for the next century or so, any rogue nation could strike first with a nuclear weapon. It seems a near certainty.
     
  8. Oct 5, 2005 #7
    I think MAD is impossible for any small country that dared attack a G8 nation. or most likely any other nation for that matter. They'd lob one over, and we (or russia or china, etc) would send 5 or 10, thus assuring our survival and thier destruction. I don't think worldwide MAD is a solution. Sooner or later someone will get trigger happy, or nervous- and then you're not just talking about 2 countries or a few billion people gone. That is exactly how you precipitate the end of the human race.
     
  9. Oct 5, 2005 #8

    Pengwuino

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    hehe, it wasn't necessarily an "agreement"... more of a "oops, look what we've done".

    What is the point of having such a perverse law? One rogue leader goes, gets a nuke, destroys another country's capital and runs off. Rest of world decimates his country while he escapes with his swiss bank account. Millions dead, real criminal walks free.
     
  10. Oct 5, 2005 #9
    I would only support a precision response. Nuking an entire country is not exceptable.
    Take out just the WMD caches and then immediately take what ever actions are necessary to arrest the individuals responsable keeping violent conflict to an absolute minimum.

    I'm actually currently reading a Greg Bear novel called Anvil of Stars with a similar scenario except on an intergalactic level.
    In the novel Earth is invaded by a fleet of destructive selfreplicating robots. Another group of selfreplicating robots arrives to fend of the invasion and protect Earth. The second group of robots takes as many humans as possible off Earth in a space ark. Eventually the Earth is destroyed but the war against the invading robots is won. The second group of robots indentify themselves as The Benefactors and tell the humans that they will terraform Mars for them to resettle there.
    They also the explain to the humans The Law. The Benefactors represent a group of civilizations (The UN) which formualted a universal law stating that any civilization which builds destructive selfreplicating robots and uses them against another civilization will be destroyed. The Benefactors (UN Coalition Forces) are to select a group of volunteers from the effected race and take them for this purpose. The Benefactors train these individuals for the purpose of seeking out, rendering judgement upon, and executing the responsable civilization. These individuals are given the training and the means and are expected to enact The Law themselves.

    It's an interesting scenario. I'm anxious to see how it pans out.
     
  11. Oct 5, 2005 #10
    If that does occur, it would probably most likely be an unwritten and/or unspoken rule, one of those things where if it does happen, the first response will be a retalitory attack.

    Targeting an entire country isn't really the best thing though, unless the country is so small that a single nuke will obliterate it anyway... :uhh:

    Nuclear warfare isn't the way to go though, unspeakable collateral damage.
     
  12. Oct 5, 2005 #11

    loseyourname

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    Given how close we came to actually being mutually destroyed several times during the Cold War, I don't know that I'd like this policy were it to be enacted. I think I have to go with patty on this one. Heck, I'd be in favor of shooting all weapons grade plutonium into deep space for good.
     
  13. Oct 6, 2005 #12

    selfAdjoint

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    Dearly Missed


    Several times? Cuban Missile Crisis and when else? I lived through it all and that was the only time I was scared. Oh, there was that time the Soviets misinterpreted a meteor as an incoming missile and went to their defcon 3, but that wasn't realy a threat, just an extended excercise.
     
  14. Oct 6, 2005 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    There were quite a number of false alarms. One of my old professors had a list of about sixty false alarms - flocks of geese, meteors, etc - that nearly caused a response. The last time that we talked, his biggest concern was that the automated systems threatening to come online would take us humans out of the decision making loop. I don't know if these systems were ever put into service.
     
  15. Oct 6, 2005 #14
    Yeah, get a worldwide mandate to not only encourage the use of nuclear weapons, but to require it. If this doesn't cause world peace I don't know what will.
     
  16. Oct 6, 2005 #15

    loseyourname

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    Well, maybe I'm overemphasizing some of the less dramatic incidents. Take that out, though, and my opinion of this doesn't change. Mutually assured destruction of the entire world doesn't seem to me like such a great idea.
     
  17. Oct 6, 2005 #16
    There is an interesting book called "The Hundredth Monkey" about the dangers of nuclear weapons that I read several years ago. It's filled with summery details about rather alarming false alarms and accidents that for the most part the public wasn't widely aware of.
     
  18. Oct 6, 2005 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: The reason it was called MAD...

    Keep in mind that I don't mean to promote this as a good idea, but in fact it did work. It seems to me that whatever the response might be it should be well planned and devastating. Chaos could be more dangerous than even a bad policy. And it seems to me that we really need some kind of deterrent. The irony is that unless we kick the current idiots out of office, the US may be the greatest threat of all. Note that Bush wants Nukes for bunker busters.
     
  19. Oct 6, 2005 #18
    :confused: What did work? as far as I'm aware it was never a rule or policy, but a mutually recognized threat. I don't really see how you can say that it worked just because it hasn't destroyed us yet.

    Past tense is confusing too. MAD hasn't gone away. If the US nukes Russia we all have a few hours left to live. No alternatives. The only difference is that tensions have gone down and people have stopped wanting to blow eachother up. Hense, closer to world peace. Initiating a mandatory rule of [nuclear] hostility between nations will not have any beneficial effect except possibly to throw the world into extreme panic every once in a while.

    What happens if a rogue nation gets on a nuke? What happens if it's a iron fisted dictatorship? Do we condemn the entire nation to death because of the actions of a few. Hell if you're afraid of terrorists getting their hands on nukes now will giving them the ability to start a nuclear holocaust make you happier? I should really say "the" nuclear holocaust, there's not going to be a second one. There won't be anyone left start one.

    Don't even get me started on the enviromental effects. Bottled water is already consumed more than fresh water in many places in the world. Dumping a few tons of radioactive rock into an ocean or even a lake will not help anyone at all.

    Encouraging any kind of violence in any way, for any reason, will always lead to far more wrong than good. Encouraging nuclear war is pure MAD-ness. :biggrin:
     
  20. Oct 6, 2005 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    It was a policy. This for example is why we agreed not to put nukes in space. It would upset the balance of power.

    We got past the crisis. It may have been an overstatement to say that it worked, but we didn't have a nuclear war. We don't know that it didn't work.

    Yes, it has. Our agreements with the Soviets no longer apply. There is allegedly still arms control, but this is more a matter of economics.

    I wouldn't be so sure.

    What is the deterrent against an attack by India or Pakistan against the other, besides each other? And what if one believes they have the upper hand and could win?

    The point is to prevent war. Prove to me that no response, or many uncoordinated unilateral responses would be better. How do you know that this wouldn't escalate the situation to much greater levels?
     
  21. Oct 6, 2005 #20
    The subject of discussion is an international agreement that, should anyone do something bad, we all get together and nuke them unanimously. And you're asking me to prove to you that that's bad?

    I have no idea what to say to that. Prove that it's not?
     
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