Re: Give a man a fish... Give a man a nuke...

The Low Golden Willow (
Wed, 3 Sep 1997 22:53:16 -0700 (PDT)

On Sep 3, 7:03pm, "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:

} Now, the U.S. knows this as well as I do. So do all the other governments.
} They will revert to the tried and true doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction.

Not so tried and true. Recently I read Freeman Dyson's _Weapons and
Hope_. According to him, the US claimed to be operating under MAD --
"launch nukes at us and we blow both of us up." Doomsday deterrence.
Otherwise known as "in case of fire, kill lots of Russians."

The Soviets thought this was immoral and insane. Their policy was
'counterforce' -- "show us that you're willing to use any nuke and we'll
do our best to wipe out your arsenal." "In case of fire, do our best to

NATO disavored "first strike" -- initiating use of strategic weapons --
but had (has?) official plans allowing "first use", the use of tactical
nukes to deter a conventional invasion of Europe. The Soviets disavowed
"first use" but allowed themselves "first strike." So they could have
invaded Europe, which would have caused us to use tactical nukes (our
strategy for saving money on tanks) which would have used them to use
strategics to try to wipe out our missiles (because we'd used nuclear
wepoans near their territory) which would have caused us to use
strategics to wipe out their cities (because they were using strategics)
which would have killed everything.

English having a larger vocabulary than other languages, Dyson claims
that the subtleties of our "deterrence" collapse to "intimidation" in

I liked Dyson's arguments for a "live-and-let-live" strategy, otherwise
known as "tit-for-tat". If someone uses nukes against us, use similar
amounts in response. Also work on terminal phase defense systmes to
defend our cities from incoming missiles. (Not to be confused with the
boost-phase defenses of the "Star Wars" program, which was silly.)

I'm not sure what the relevance of all this for nano is yet, but I
figured I'd spread some Dysonism.

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"Foreign aid could be delivered by ICBM."
-- Larry Niven, "The Roentgen Standard"