My supertanker right or wrong

John K Clark (
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 20:37:40 -0800 (PST)


>>Me:Even if these economic problems could be overcome we'd still only
>>exist at the whim of the superpowers, if we were not good little boys
>>they'd send a torpedo up our ass and sink the ship so fast it'd
>>bounce off the bottom.

>This might be an opportunity for the kind of nuclear 'insurance
>policy' that Erwin Strauss wrote about in 'Basement Nukes';
>someone sets up a nuclear-armed insurance organisation and the
>ship-owners pay an annual fee so that if a nation does attack them,
>the insurance company will nuke the capital of the attacking nation.

I see problems with this approach, even if you make the unlikely assumption
that the identity of the country that shot the torpedo and sunk the rust
bucket could ever be determined. It's clear that if the directors of this
nuclear insurance company are sane then their statement that they'd
incinerating millions perhaps billions of people with H Bombs to avenge their
late clients can be nothing but an empty threat. The success of the deterrent
would hinge entirely on whether the directors were great actors or not,
whether they could convincingly pretend to be insane.

On the other hand, if they were sincere in their threat then they'd really be
insane and so render contracts made with such a company problematic at best.

>Obviously they must be decentralized enough that the nation can't
>nuke them back

The head of this insurance company would have to be a very brave man, and
he'd have to buy life insurance from his own company because nobody else
would sell him a police. He certainly wouldn't have to worry about the
infirmities of old age, I'd give him a half life after the nuclear attack of
about 3 hours.

John K Clark

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