Re: POLITICS: Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy
Mon, 20 Jan 97 20:10:01 GMT

Mark Grant wrote :

>>UN seems to be the power least likely to use weapons of
>>mass destruction for unfair aggressive warfare, if it
>>possessed them.

>Your last sentence is a matter of opinion on which we are
>nowhere near consensus.

I agree that this is a matter of opinion. But you would
probably agree that it is *one of* the most trustable powers
in this respect? And that among the trustable powers, it is
the one most likely to be supported by a large number of
people from many different nations and cultures. (Or could
you name a more likely candidate?)

>> And the share limitation of the *number* of
>> excluding all individuals and all rough states
>>(and possibly all nation states) from the control of
>>technologies that
>> could be used to cause massive destruction,
>>would also > increase the odds that we can avoid
>>the disaster.

>This is likewise a matter of opinion. Some of us suspect
>that a situation in which military power is spread out
>among several different competing centers is far less
>dangerous than a situation in which most military power is
>concentrated in the hands of a single agency. Why else do
>you think that there is so much fear and hatred of the US
>federal government all over the world?

Well, I think that there are many reasons why many resent US
dominance. One is that they don't want to be dominated by
any alian power. A democratic UN would presumably be more
acceptable to these people. (Another reason is that they
think that many of USA's action are wicked, while in fact
they may be just shrude adaptations to the real political

Let me ask you a question. If there were a little machine
which one could have in one's pocket, and which could cause
you and me and all our friends to die immediately, would you
prefer that only one or two persons got hold of such
gadgets, or would you feel safer if 50 000 individuals and
organisations had them?

As long as weapons are of relatively limited destructive
capacity, it may be debatable whether concentration or
defusion would make for a safer world. But when the weapons
become so advanced that they can bestow upon a single agent
the power to cause immense damage, possibly even to
terminate the human species, then we have a different

Nicholas Bostrom