[ExI] The Nuclear Huns

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Tue Sep 30 20:54:11 UTC 2008

On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 5:06 PM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Oh, yes, indeed I do think that if, say, France and Germany have to
> undergo a financial meltdown or else the U.S., I'll prefer the former.
> But I would never *argue* that from a biased perspective.
> One must put forth objective reasons in a forum such as this.

Couldn't an objective reason enough for such a choice be that you are
a US citizen? It used to be considered "noble" to take side for one's
community, simply because it is one's own, including at a detriment of
one's own individual interest. I find it funny that sometimes it is
considered normal, and praiseworthy, to care first for oneself, second
(possibly) for the "humankind" - nice specieist concept, btw - and a
distant, embarassing third, for whatever medium term may exist in term
of religion, nationality, culture, region, persuasion, etc.

> Well, the U.S. was going to blockade Cuba, and maybe invade
> it. That is not exactly correctly described as "unleashing a nuclear
> apocalypse". Yes---it is risky, because one thing can lead to
> another. But to never be assertive is to risk being taken advantage
> of at every turn. (Precisely the same principles apply in daily life.)
> Wouldn't it have been the U.S.S.R. that would have had to "unleash" a
> nuclear war to stop the blockade or to stop an
> invasion of Cuba?

Well, in the theory of games, escalation is exactly interrupted when
somebody is not able to persuade the other party that he would be
ready to go the next step, thus deterring it from taking the relevant

ì> (Strangely, I find you somewhat eager to ascribe selfish motives to
> the U.S., even when I believe I'm arguing from a world perspective,
> and yet not hold North Korea to the same standard. Or is it just "to be
> expected" in their case, but not in the case of the U.S., because the U.S.
> is open to criticism, and the criticism may be
> effective?)

Not at all. I have no doubt that NK government's priorities are first
the interest of NK government, second - if this does not conflict in
the least ith the first - the interest of NK. At most, I may find
irritating that the US government, while being led by not-so-different
guidelines is always so insistent on being "on the side of the
angels"... :-)

> You are saying that their situation is *so* desperate financially that
> they must turn to extortion?

"Extortion" is a crime provided that a system of law exists which
recognises and enforce it. In the field of int'l relationships is a
very vague concept, since after all every move is dictated your own
bargaining power and that of the other party. Did the US "extorts"
with the threat and practice of violence the reliquishment of American
colonies by the English crown? Are the US government trying to extort
from Iran the relinquishment of a technology that they already own and
have no plan to drop with diplomatic and economic blackmail?

>They should reform their government
> instead, and set up a sound market economy.

... which is no guarantee for success, especially in the short term.
Market laws are perfectly compatible with the existence of depressed
areas, famines, wild colonisation by stronger economies, exploitment
of local resources and workforce, etc.

>[1]  What would you say if the
> U.S. did the same thing concerning its own financial meltdown? Turn to
> extorting money out of other countries to stave off the possibility of
> financial collapse?  In *that* case, instead of saying it was "brilliant",
> I imagine you'd be somewhat critical.

In fact, I was already under the impression that such an implicit
blackmail does exist, and is governing the behaviour of most central
banks, including those of countries that are not strict allies of the
US... :-)

Stefano Vaj

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