Re: New Utopia

den Otter (
Mon, 29 Jun 1998 23:19:06 +0200 wrote:
> den Otter [] wrote:
> >You don't need any nukes to defend yourself from suckers
> >like that, for example an old diesel sub with a couple of torpedoes
> >would blow them out of the water in no-time. Or what about a remotely
> >controlled plane with a couple of rockets and machine guns? Or a
> >remotely controlled gunboat?
> At which point, at the request of the Tongan government the US sends over
> a few stealth fighters (aka small stealth bombers) with laser-guided bombs
> and you don't wake the next morning.

Why would the US bother to help some little dictator in a far away,
obscure part of the world? Unless there's oil or tons of white
powder to be had, no-one's interested. Besides, "stealth" is highly
overrated. It can't have rain, and the planes can be made visible
if you tweak your radar a bit. Then they're just billion dollar
sitting ducks. Anyway they're not gonna waste their expensive bombs
on some remote, insignificant little island with a bunch of nerds
on it.

> Surely you can't honestly believe
> that any US president is going to sit by quietly while you set up a free
> country anywhere on the planet?

If you practice some basic discretion he (and others) won't even know
about you, and even if anyone knew, what would they care? They may be
great assholes, but even the US military don't blast private islands at
sight. What if you have lawyers. Oh dear, what bad PR that would be if
it leaked out.

> Either you stay within their definition of
> "freedom" (e.g. no selling drugs, no gun-running, no bioweapons, no "child
> porn", no giving haven to "terrorists") or you're going to become Global
> Enemy #1. And you can't prevent those things in a free country.

I wouldn't even *try* to prevent such things out of principle. There is
no problem as long as your island is simply a place to live for just
100 - 300 or so individuals, and business is conducted elsewhere from
boats or other platforms. No-one's going to bother a remote retirement
community where consenting adults (no kids in this place) take some
dope or read porn every now and then.

> >Unlike in any regular country, you can use
> >virtually any means you want to defend yourself successfully, and *not*
> >be arrested afterwards.
> Oh yeah, you can use anthrax and nerve gas on passing warships and no-one
> is going to take action against you. Get real.

Gassing warships? Really, I don't think that will be necessary. The
only likely problem are pirates, and even those prefer to operate
close to coastlines, not on the high seas where there's no cover etc.
As with regular isolated islands, hardly anyone ever comes by, or
knows that they're there alltogether.

> >And *should* they cause
> >trouble after all, they're as vulnerable as anyone to retaliatory
> >attacks (with for example the plague, anthrax, nerve gas or something
> >more subtle) by the surviving islanders/their comrades in other
> >countries.
> Exactly. But such tactics are only possible if you already have those
> weapons ready to use. The only tactic which will keep the US government
> out of your country is to call up the President and say "hey, we've got
> nukes in various major cities which will detonate if we don't send them
> a valid code every ten minutes. Attack us and they go off." Only immediate,
> massive retaliation will stop them, not a vague threat of future attacks.

Of course, once you've arrived at this point you've in fact already
failed. I can almost guarantee you that the US, or any other big state,
would take its chances and nuke you out of principle. No way that
you could blackmail them for any significant period of time. Only
massive countries like the former USSR can (could) do that, and even
they came close to open conflict when they got too bold. Nukes are a
quick ticket to your extinction, and too expensive and difficult
to obtain anyway (if you want to get noticed, try to buy a nuke).
Nerve gas or biological agents are considerably easier, but would
probably also cause more trouble than they would solve. Basically,
it's the pure arrogance of countries like the US that gets in the
way. Obscurity is a much better weapon.

> As Erwin Strauss says, don't even think about it without weapons of mass
> destruction at your command, *and* the willingness to use them in defence.

In the case of an island, I think that's a bit too extreme. Things will
really get interesting when the space race begins for real. In the case
of a planet, space station or asteroid, nuke defense *does* make sense.
A relatively small group of pioneers could claim Mars for example, and
there wouldn't be much anyone could do about it.