Thursday, May 28, 2009
I know that North Korea's nuke technology came from A.Q.Khan, but does anybody know where they learned to build missiles? We keep being told what a hopeless, backward country this is, yet missiles are very tricky, engineeringwise. Anyway, just wondered. But, meanwhile, here is John Bolton, the man in permanent disguise, dishing out the hard line on nuclear strategy and here is Seamus Milne selling the soft touch scenario. Neither is quite credible. Bolton blames Obama for adopting a weak position towards Russia and then says the Russians have refused his approaches; probably they saw something Bolton doesn't, his view being obscured by his ludicrous facial hair. Milne thinks North Korea is negotiation-ready. I doubt it. The fundamental difference is between the nukes are here to stay, be realistic, analysis and the nukes provoke more nukes and we can get rid of them position. Humans being what they are, I tend towards the former though not if the appalling Bolton is running the show. Banning nukes seems historically implausible and aggressive disarmament by the nuclear powers will convince others that this is their big chance. On the other hand, proliferation is now certain and that means, at some point, nukes will be used in anger. We can only hope millions rather than billions die. Edward O.Wilson said that if hamadryas baboons had nukes the world would be destroyed in a week. Individuals may have their virtues and gifts, but humanity as a whole is a baboon colony. And so my conclusion is: nukes are like women - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.
PS. All of which made me forget a superbly appropriate joke. What do you call a monkey in a minefield? A BaBOOM!
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:06 am