Saturday, November 29, 2003

No 40.

And suddenly it’s day again
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done
Two suns in the sunset
Could be the human race is run

Song: Two Suns in the Sunset
Album: The Final Cut

When this song was written, people till saw the threat of nuclear holocaust as a very real thing and the lyrics describe the moment that the first bomb goes off. With the end of the Cold War the chances of a global nuclear war fell away to virtually zero, so it's unlikely that there will come a point where we annihilate all human life and make the planet virtually uninhabitable. Phew.

That's not to say the threat of nuclear weapons has completely disappeared. They are still around and could conceivably be used. Worse, countries who might not be so inhibited when it comes to using them for their own ends, such as North Korea and Iran, may be starting to acquire them. How would we react if one of them attacked America or another Western country with a nuclear bomb? Could we be restrained enough not to retaliate in a like manner? I don't know.

Then, of course, there is the other threat that has risen to prominence since the end of the Cold War. Terrorism. While terrorists lack the ability to launch large scale attacks on other countries or regimes, they are small enough to be able to move around almost unnoticed and so often have the strength of surprise on their side. Their other main advantage is there is no easy way to retaliate against them, because they can melt into the background and disappear with ease. That was demonstrated with the war in Afghanistan, which was largely unsuccessful in dealing with Al-Quaeda.

So what can we do to rid the world of these threats? I wish I knew the answer to that question. I don't think the hard line being taken by the United States will actually do the job - it will just garner more enmity towards the west even as it smashes regimes and terrorist cells. There has to be another way. I just don't know what it is.

No comments: