Thursday, 15 December 2011

The only living witness...

Depressing as it is to read speculations about China one day launching electromagnetic pulse bomb attacks against the United States, I suppose at least this pic offers a salutary reminder that things could be even worse if a omnicidal maniac ever had the means at their disposal to deliver destruction on an even larger scale. So don't tell me that this blog never looks on the sunny side of life, right?

There's no way for me to be sure of course, but I'm constantly amazed at the numbers of requests for help I've noticed editors get from Chinese students looking to get into MIT and the like to study computer science. Many of the applicants refer to their interest in hacking/security issues, so I can't help wondering if the ulterior motive is sometimes to later use this knowledge for cyberwar (including accessing the knowledge bases of foreign corporations to learn how they make their products, so their Chinese competitors can attempt to copy and improve them).

I don't want to make this sound like Sinophobia though, not least because I think the political  science and computer science departments of any university in the West you can name are in all likelihood equally complicit in state security issues. With regard to political science, for example, one need only consider the critiques of South East Asian Studies as being too closely aligned to the objectives of the U.S. State Department, given its downplaying of the significance of revolution as a developmental logic in this region, in the interest of emphasizing functionalist systems theory instead.

Having said that, the fact remains that China's comparatively low ranking on the Press Freedom Index indicates it is inherently more difficult for its Fourth Estate to "witness" and thereby preempt the kind of realpolitik I've referred to in this post.


HellCombatant said...

Oh well! The devil would only laugh at our faces! After Hiroshima and Nagashaki made perfectly clear wha the consequences would be at large, it sounds like a joke to come back and ask for "responsibility"! It even makes all that fancy Sci-Fi interval of the last 6 decades to sound like a "smoking is allowed in the bar" signal in the middle of the "movie". Bu ha ha! Better read what Gunter Anders has written already

Anselmo Quemot said...

Thanks for the link! There is something admirable about a person about to channel a trauma in that way, especially when there is really no way to benchmark your experience of having destroyed so many lives with such a weapon.

Looks though as if the military are now brainstorming ways to make that kind of response an anachronism (this from "the danger room" on

"The Pentagon this week announced an $11 million grant doled out to three research institutions, all of them long-time hubs for the military’s ongoing PTSD investigations. Experts at Emory University, the University of Southern California and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center will study the effectiveness of D-Cycloserine (DCS). DCS is a pharmaceutical thought to help extinguish fearful memories. It’s usually taken right before exposure therapy, a process that involves recalling traumatic experiences in an effort to nullify the menacing associations that accompany them."