Sunday, December 16, 2012

Comparison Between the Spread of Slavery and Nuclear Disarmament

It's been about a month since I've posted anything on here, and I promise that will change in the near future. I have one week remaining until I return home for the semester, and when I'm churning over a lot of new post ideas for when that happens. But in the meantime, I had a brief and interesting though yesterday while studying for my Contemporary International Politics exam.

The debate over nuclear weapons reminds me of the debate about slavery in the 1850’s. Nukes are like slavery: something most agree is bad that we’re not sure if we can get rid of. Those who believe in deterrence are like the confederates who don’t see the problem with them spreading to places which had previously been slave/nuke free. Those who advocate nonproliferation are like the free soil northerners who thought the slaves/nukes we have now are impossible to get rid of, but we should not let them expand to new places. And those who favor a zero-sum nuclear game are like abolitionists, who think we have a moral obligation to get rid of this bad thing as fast as possible and ensure it never comes back - even if that means a centralized enforcement body has to encroach on the rights of some states.

This is an entirely meaningless observation for the effectiveness or desirability of any of those three stances. I just thought it was kinda neat how the same framework of opinions emerges for different issues across the centuries.

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