Wednesday, 10 September 2008

National (or global) Security

Something bothered me about this whole big CERN experiment thing. Well, not so much bothered me, but got me thinking.

I know there’s only
something like a one in 50 billion chance that the Earth will end as a result of this experiment. Or probably even less. (Incidentally, how mad would you be if you stuck a fiver on that? Just won £250billion and the world is about to explode/ implode/ end).

Anyway, the point is this. Say that the governments of France and Switzerland were fine with this experiment (which, of course, they are) and let them go ahead with it.

However, say another government (for the sake of argument Germany, since it is close) decided that these scientists were off their rocker – even with the smallest chance of destruction – and wanted them to stop the experiment before it began. But then the French and Swiss Governments refused to stop them. Say then, couldn’t the German government (again, hypothetically) consider this a direct threat to their existence - a national security threat if you will – and take action accordingly?

I know, I know. I’m talking hypotheticals. And the use of Germany as the opponent of the scientific experiment is bad for a couple of reasons – historically and practically.

But the point is this: If a country considers this a risk the future of the world, wouldn’t they be prudent in finding a way of stopping the experiment (by any means necessary)?

*disclaimer – I’m not proposing that there is any danger (don’t want to induce mass panic). It is a hypothetical!


Sam 10 September 2008 at 19:34  

Take what action accordingly? I suppose they could take it to the UN Security Council & ask them to declare it a threat to international security & authorise a Chapter VII intervention. But wouldn't France just use their Security Council veto? In which case Germany could attempt to justify a unilateral intervention on the grounds of anticipatory self-defence, which does have legal precedent.

But then France would presumably react to a German invasion by declaring war & using its nuclear weapons on Germany, unleashing nuclear war in Central Europe, killing millions of people, polluting an entire continent, destroying the EU and putting England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 into some kind of perspective.

Oh sorry you had a point. Yeah I'll have to get back to you on that.

Malc 11 September 2008 at 11:25  


I think that was kinda my point. If you are going to say yes to that question - "If a country considers this a risk the future of the world" - then you are saying that the American invasion of Iraq was justified.

It was a strange attempt at an allegory... I don't know. But, I guess there's a point there for debate, no?

Sam 11 September 2008 at 13:31  

There definitely is. I was being a bit overdramatic. But, (also making a strange attempt at allegory) I was suggesting that really what could you do? War isn't the answer because it wouldn't work. The lesson of Iraq is that you only pick on the countries that you know you can beat. Otherwise North Korea or Iran would have been the targets.

Malc 11 September 2008 at 14:27  

Perhaps. Especially with the news today that North Korea is testing other nukes. But the point is recognising a security threat - how justified are you in trampling all over sovereignty etc when you see a credible threat?

In my scenario, it is not just one state that is in danger, but the world. Does that make a difference to the answer?

Political Dissuasion 11 September 2008 at 14:40  

Are you instead, very subtly, suggesting to France that they nuke (a hypothetical) Germany as a self-defence mechanism?

Cunning, Malc.

Malc 11 September 2008 at 14:51  


If you can read into what I've said those words somewhere then... well, you are an incredibly strange individual.

Can I assure any CIA/ FBI/ Mossad/ MI5 (and the rest) agents who may be reading that was not my intention...

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