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« A Millionth of One Percent | Main | Molecular Nanosystems »

July 24, 2006


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The Western nations are not parents to the rest of the world... if anything, they are the children. I think peers are a more appropriate parallel - perhaps bullying peers. We do not have an inherent position of authority over the rest of the world - we assert control.

Tom Craver

Just a point - the world's powerful nations don't tell nations they can't have nuclear power. They tell nations they can't have nuclear weapons, and deny them support for nuclear technology if they suspect they want to use it to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran might be telling the truth - maybe they only want peaceful nuclear power. But given the often radical nature of Iran, the West can't really afford to believe that Iran won't build nukes.

There seem to be three choices: Let Iran do as it wishes (risk: 5-10 years from now, a nuke goes off in Israel, and Israel retaliates 10 fold); Bomb the processing facilities (triggering an immediate, but non-nuclear war); or compromise - let Iran have the peaceful nuclear power it claims to want, by agreeing to resume shipments of refined uranium fuel in return for Iran agreeing to destroy the refinement facilities. The problem is - could Iran's factions agree to such a compromise, and would Bush&Co be wise enough to offer it? Or maybe Europe will decide to do something for a change. I'm not optimistic.

The analogous approach for MNT would be that radical nations would be allowed import nanoblocks, and if they continue to behave rationally, they could eventually get a facility to produce nanoblocks using hard-wired atom precise fabrication equipment. Atom precise MNT will probably be a tightly held technology, if the powerful governments have anything to say about it.

Brian Wang

Mike asks: Is it fair or reasonable for the world's most powerful nations to say to one developing country, 'No, you may not', and to a different developing country, 'Yes, you may'? Is it fair or reasonable for a parent to say to one child, 'No, you may not', and to another child, 'Yes, you may'?

Yes it is fair and reasonable. If one child already has a criminal record and/or has been hooked on drugs/alcohol, tortured and killed his own pet dog, or teenager who was DUI.

Should a teenager be allowed to have or be given weapons. Maybe he can make his own fertilizer or pipe bombs.

Nuclear power is not a necessity of development. A developing country should just use it as a bargaining chip. Swear off nuclear development in exchange for equal or better supplied tradeoffs and better trade terms.

There are countries with nuclear weapons that are still dirt poor and economically screwed up. N Korea, Pakistan etc....

Clay Falter

Maybe the situation is EXACTLY like parents and children. They don't listen and parents never really 100% grow up.

And it has nothing at all to do with right and wrong -- only fundamental (primitive) socio-psychological survival drives turned loose in the modern world.

Look at history. China may represent the younger liberal parent in in the nuclear community (equivalent to handing out condoms and the Kama Sutra). But in general the US and USSR (oldest parents) and most mature nuclear nations have said "no" to all children. Just like children you become parental community after breaking barrier for a few years.

Of course for a while you may be the experienced juvenile and supplier to much younger juveniles groupies. That is the Pakistan role of still not being an approved parent in the world community but too much knowledge to stop spreading the word. And spreading the word for much the same reasons as older but immature juveniles spread the sex story -- insecurity and building own power base outside the "adult" structure.

But children will steal sex manuals, convince a concerned parent to give controceptives from a responsible source because they are already getting it from a disreputable source, etc.

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