Most of the information available on nuclear weapons seems to be expert level analysis of weapons systems and nuclear diplomacy.
While experts can be admired for their professional mastery of such technical information, one doesn’t need to be an expert to understand something crucial about the process of examining such details. Once we free our minds of a thousand details a quite simple bottom line comes in to view…
Expert Analysis Of Details Doesn’t Work
Experts have been grinding away on the technical and diplomatic details related to nuclear weapons for 75 years, and modern civilization is still only an hour away from being nuked in to radioactive rubble, just as has been the case every day since the 1950’s. 75 years of expert analysis, and we’re still right where we started.
Expert level analysis of weapons systems, particular geo-political situations, this treaty or that treaty, and other such details is not getting us where we need to go, the elimination of all nuclear weapons, the protection of modern civilization.
The experts will tell us that their work has led to great strides in reducing the numbers of nuclear weapons, which is true. But partial reductions don’t really matter because it would only take 50 nukes to destroy America’s fifty largest cities, which would in turn lead to a collapse of the food distribution system, mass starvation, social and political chaos, and who knows what other horrors.
Just fifty nukes. Game over.
To make matters worse, it’s possible that the experts, those we look to for answers, are the least qualified people to squarely face the failure of a focus on details, because their expert status, careers and thus bank accounts depend upon continuing such a focus.
If you doubt that such a bias for detail exists among the experts, try presenting this article to a group of experts, and see what happens.
What’s The Alternative?
If it’s true that expert analysis of details is getting us nowhere, what else is there?
What if we flipped our paradigm around? What if instead of trying to make incremental changes with this or that weapon, Country A or Country B, this treaty or that treaty, one detail or another, we started with the big picture?
What if we took a break from an expert focus on details and turned our attention to addressing the bottom line, which is…
Why Does The Bottom Line Matter?
Here’s why focusing on this all important bottom line matters.
Imagine for a moment that we succeeded at getting rid of all nuclear weapons. Civilization is saved, right? No, sorry, wrong, civilization is not saved.
If nukes were gone violent men seeking power would just turn their attention to other tools of mass chaos.
If he can’t have a nuke, he’ll reach for some other tool of horror, and the knowledge explosion will hand it to him.
As just one example, as the knowledge explosion proceeds it’s only a matter of time until some genetic engineer figures out how to create lethal viruses which can be targeted at specific populations.
If we did have a perfect success in ridding this planet of nuclear weapons we’d just be trading one tool of mass destruction for some others. And we’d be in that situation because we failed to focus on the bottom line machinery which is generating all the threats.
An Example Of Success
Here’s an example of a success which arose from a focus on the bottom line.
Saddam Hussein is dead.
Saddam Hussein is dead, thus there is no need in Iraq for on site WMD inspections, diplomacy, negotiation, treaties, sanctions, gradual reductions in WMD requiring verification, expert analysis, and all of that.
All these details were solved at once because one of the key elements of the threat generating machine, a violent man, was removed from the equation.
Here’s that bottom line equation again.
In Iraq, instead of starting with the details and having experts work their way towards a solution (like we’re doing in Iran), we started with the bottom line, thus making the details irrelevant.
The Iraq WMD threat is solved. The bottom line approach worked.
The Iran WMD threat remains unsolved. (Obama’s treaty with Iran just kicked the threat can down the road a few years until after he was out of office.) Expert analysis of details is not working.
A Change Of Focus
What I’m suggesting is that we shift some focus from the expert analysis of details, which are just symptoms of the disease, to a better understanding of the underlying mechanism which is generating all the threats.
Until we address this bottom line both we and the experts will be condemned to an eternal cycle of confronting threat after threat after threat as they roll off of the knowledge explosion assembly line, at a faster and faster pace, in to the waiting arms of violent men.
If we refuse to focus on the bottom line, it will only be a matter of time until we can’t keep up and lose control of the threat generating machine.