Nuclear Warheads as Hostages

in

Column by Paul Bonneau.

Exclusive to STR

In earlier times, victors in a war would take the sons of the vanquished rulers back home, to raise them as their own. This provided incentive for the rulers of the now-vassal states not to raise Hell any more (after all, it is the rulers, not the people, who start wars). I wonder if a modification of this hostage concept could not be applied to nuclear warheads, as a way to similarly reduce incentives for strife?

Imagine that the American and Russian governments wanted a substantial reduction in the number of nuclear warheads, in order to reduce the possibility the whole planet could be wrecked. The problem is always, whether the other side can be trusted.

Why not create a Russian storage base outside of, say, Reno, Nevada, and an American storage base outside of, say, Volgograd, Russia? These bases would act as extensions of their respective embassies and would thus be actual Russian soil in America, and American soil in Russia, and would be staffed by the most trusted personnel from the respective countries. Now, the Russians would start removing the warheads from their missiles and shipping them to the Reno base, while the Americans would remove an equal number of warheads from their missiles and ship them to the Volgograd base. The transfer process would be monitored by both sides through the entire trip to ensure no faked warheads were shipped. Any time the Americans wanted to inspect the Russian warheads they could do so, and vice versa, but the warheads would never leave the possession of the nation that created them.

Why bother with this?

The Russian missiles that the warheads were taken from remain in Russia. There is no way to sneakily get the warheads back on them. In fact to be extra sure, the missiles might be taken out of their silos and submarines and stored in a Russian base adjacent to the American storage base in Volgograd, also available for inspection. Likewise for the other side.

Of course this does not address the creation of new weapons systems at all, which would need to be handled some other way. But it could bring a substantial drawdown of the massive existing systems with confidence on both sides that there is no cheating.

Once sorted out, the concept could be repeated for other pairs of nations, like America plus China.

9
Your rating: None Average: 9 (1 vote)
Paul Bonneau's picture
Columns on STR: 101
n/a

Comments

Samarami's picture

Paul, many of us I'm sure recognize your nice little essay as tongue-in-cheek, so I'll refrain from taking jabs at the concept presented. Fun or serious jabs.

On the other hand, I suspect you've covertly (intentionally) brought up certain libertarian/anarchist concepts that should without doubt find their way to the surface if forums like Strike-The-Root are to survive. Because the issues go back to the idea of one individual(s) proclaiming to have somehow acquired "jurisdiction" over other individuals ("the-people" -- often lamented with teary eyes). Without question a religious notion indeed. You referenced that phenomenon in your link.

I believe this reality probably needs to be emblazoned foremost in the mind of the anarchist who truly wants to experience "...freedom in an unfree world...". I'll use Murray Rothbard's footnotes to "Anatomy of the State" to explain, as he quoted from Oppenheimer and Nock (footnotes 4, 5 & 6):

    [4] Franz Oppenheimer, The State (New York: Vanguard Press, 1926) pp. 24-27:
      "...There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one's own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. . . . I propose in the following discussion to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others, the "economic means" for the satisfaction of need while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the "political means". . . . The State is an organization of the political means. No State, therefore, can come into being until the economic means has created a definite number of objects for the satisfaction of needs, which objects may be taken away or appropriated by warlike robbery.

    [5] Albert Jay Nock wrote vividly that

      "...the State claims and exercises the monopoly of crime. . . . It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien.

    Nock, On Doing the Right Thing, and Other Essays (New York: Harper and Bros., 1929), p. 143; quoted in Jack Schwartzman, "Albert Jay Nock - A Superfluous Man," Faith and Freedom (December, 1953): 11.

    [6] Oppenheimer, The State, p. 15:

      "...What, then, is the State as a sociological concept? The State, completely in its genesis . . . is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group of men on a defeated group, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors.

I've had to resist temptation to become dogmatic after having read and digested the works of the late Delmar England -- an obscure and unknown anarchist writer who produced two pieces, (1) and (2), (that I know of -- the latter posthumously). Then he up and died without fanfare, or much in the way of "libertarian notoriety".

England showed me the need to recognize that how I form my perceptions will determine how free I can become. I can't eliminate those that Oppenheimer describes as using robbery as their means for satisfying desires ("political means") -- which form the foundation for the existence of war and nuclear warheads. But I can practice methods to sidestep and circumnavigate them -- and their mode of thinking -- without being dogmatic in insisting that you or anybody else "should" do (or think, or write) exactly as I do (in order to "..remain a member of STR.."; l-rd have mercy!).

For example, I've come to abstain use of the English language as you've used it above:

    "...Imagine that the American and Russian governments wanted a substantial reduction in the number of nuclear warheads, in order to reduce the possibility the whole planet could be wrecked. The problem is always, whether the other side can be trusted..."

This is reification. Governments do not exist. People exist. Some of them, so I understand, exist within a large land mass that is called "Russia". Others in the place called "America". Many of them on both land masses fall under the category of that group of robbers who use the political means for the satisfaction of their desires. A Dr. Kevin Barrett referred to that specific group of individuals as "psychopaths". I think he (and Delmar England) was correct.

I believe that, in order to free myself, I must cease thinking of land masses in which those groups of psychopaths reside as "countries" or "nations" that actually breathe, with hearts and souls and minds -- capable of logic and reason. They do not and they cannot.

But my believing this does not mean you should not continue to present us with good essays. Or that your reason and logic (which is genuine and valid) should be "banned". Or that you "...are not libertarian..." because you don't subscribe precisely to my dogma or my reality. Thankfully, I've not seen fit to produce articles and/or essays regarding the liberty I've acquired by reading Harry Brown, you, Jim Davies, Alex Knight, Mark Davis, et al. Because I would in my dotage probably fall into the syndrome of "...my way or the highway..." had I achieved prominence. That would be disastrous -- for me. And not very healthy for you either. You'll notice that I often provide lots of links in my comments -- none to anything I wrote. I'm grateful for that.

You've given us many good essays and comments, Paul. You've hung in when the going at STR was tough. Please keep it up. Sam

mishochu's picture

That could've been an article unto itself. It is rather freeing to accept that not everyone should see things the way I do.

Samarami's picture
    "...It is rather freeing to accept that not everyone should see things the way I do..."

You've heard my belly-button thesis on "individualism", Mishochu, but I'll repeat it: The world revolves around my belly-button, not yours. My world. Your world revolves around your belly-button -- whether you admit it or not.

This gives me lots of freedom. I can know that you didn't get up this morning with plans to denigrate or chastise me for any reason. You're far more concerned with your worries and cares than to concern yourself with any philosophical differences you and I might have.

Same here. It's not that I never think about you (I do -- along with many of my other cyber-friends here at STR), but I spend much more time thinking about me than I do thinking about you.

The fact we're both here at this forum indicates we share similar views of the world and have no reason to be at loggerheads with each other. This is no arena to spar over dogma.

Sam

mishochu's picture

This just shows how poorly I convey ideas at times. I meant to say that your comment could've been (and probably should've been) an article on its own. Particularly so that others who find STR and some form of freedom may know that their form does not have to be my form.

I particularly like this excerpt:

"But my believing this does not mean you should not continue to present us with good essays. Or that your reason and logic (which is genuine and valid) should be "banned". Or that you "...are not libertarian..." because you don't subscribe precisely to my dogma or my reality. Thankfully, I've not seen fit to produce articles and/or essays regarding the liberty I've acquired by reading Harry Brown, you, Jim Davies, Alex Knight, Mark Davis, et al. Because I would in my dotage probably fall into the syndrome of "...my way or the highway..." had I achieved prominence. That would be disastrous -- for me. And not very healthy for you either. You'll notice that I often provide lots of links in my comments -- none to anything I wrote. I'm grateful for that."

Samarami's picture
    "...This just shows how poorly I convey ideas at times..."

As I just now commented to Paul, Mishochu; increasingly (in my dotage) that which I write does not stack up properly with my intentions. My diatribe ("belly-button thesis") was my way showing appreciation for your nice comment. Sam

Paul's picture

Hmmm, I'm having trouble understanding the points here.

Governments may not exist, only people may exist, but it's also true that people with bombs exist. Yes, I used the term "Russian government" rather than "those psychopaths who try to control what other people in a place normally designated Russia say and do"; but it was just shorthand, not that I think "Russian government" thinks and acts.

Of course if one of those people have calculated they want to drop a bomb or start a war, then the war will happen. But having fewer nukes out there is still a good thing, if that end is attainable. And with the hair-trigger we are living with these days, it can also happen that simple mistakes might start a war.

Philosophy cannot exist without people. It makes no sense to talk about freedom or anarchy with the missiles raining down.

Of course one might say that whatever we peons think or say is not going to affect what people with bombs do in any case, and that point is certainly arguable. Yet it's also true that concepts have made their way into the world that have not originated in the ruling class - and even sometimes in the face of their opposition.

This might just be another example of my lack of affinity for the doctrinaire. But mostly it is just an idea that occurred to me, so I threw it out there.

Samarami's picture
    "...I'm having trouble understanding the points here..."

Sometimes I'll write something, read it a few days later, and have trouble understanding MY OWN points. So don't feel bad :-) . My singular point is simply that a dogmatic view ("reification", in this specific example) that I have does not make you "wrong" if you don't share the same view.

That's the point.

No reason to engage in personalities or rancor in a forum for discussing freedom and liberty. And then commit aggression by trying to have anyone with whom I disagree "banned" from the discussions. Over dogmatic trivialities.

Duh!!!

Was trying, in my own senile way, Paul, to compliment you -- not to denigrate you. But, increasingly, my points often fail to fall in line with what's goin' on inside my old cranium.

Sam

Paul's picture

Oh, Sam, I don't expect you to agree with everything I say. How boring that would be. :-)

Anyway, I know what you mean about not understanding your own points. Happens to me too.

Also, I have a thick hide by now. Nice thing about getting old is that a lot of rain rolls off one's back, like a duck.