Thursday, September 30, 2004

Reconsidering Our Annihilation

For many years, we have relied implicitly or explicitly on nuclear deterrence to prevent those with competing interests from leveraging their own WMD against us. Indeed, this idea is so elastic that it was not necessary for us to know with certainty from whom or from where we were attacked in order to successfully deter the attack. Should NYC disappear in a mushroom cloud, our missiles would be launched against the Soviet Union – case closed.

The idea worked because directly or indirectly, the USSR would have been responsible for such an attack. Since this was so, we could be certain of the necessity and target of the response in the calculus of MAD should we forgo the option of complete and immediate capitulation. Otherwise, we were content to know that somewhere in the Australian outback, life could go on after a nuclear exchange.

Given these well-defined imperatives, we could respond rationally to variations of a theme. If the attack was accidental, the retaliation could be limited to perhaps a single enemy city. The rule being “You break it, you bought it”. This rule tended to enforce the necessary caution and discipline when handling the Bomb. WMD were not a right – they were an awesome responsibility. As we later learned from the Soviet invasion plans of Europe, this was so much so that there was no escape either for France. Logic would not permit a half-invasion.

Should the competing interests not be so great that one would want to sacrifice the homeland, a limited regional nuclear war was possible – this was the purpose of the Pershing missile and Soviet SS-20s. All contingencies were predicated on the fact that the consequence could be linked to the responsible party. Thus, deterrence was rational.

Proliferation changes the entire equation. We must roll back time, adapt, or go the way of the dinosaurs. There is no other alternative - just dumb luck


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Transnational Liberalism

The Sociological Need for Acceptance and Validation of Transnational Liberals
The need for acceptance and validation is common to all humans. Indeed, humans are essentially social creatures. In the process of gaining maturity, however, there is a dialectic between the perceived sources of satisfaction of these human needs: through interpersonal relations as a social gift or as a reward rightly deserved for accomplishment. Like all learning animals, we habitually seek out that source of acceptance and validation that has been imprinted on us earlier in our formative period. Principally, this relation seems to solidify during childhood, but may in some cases be altered in later years.

Transnational liberals seek to satisfy this need through interpersonal and intergroup relations that produce the social gift. Urban environments accentuate this need as the individual is constantly exposed to a vast number of others making his relative worth seem small by comparison. However, these environments also provide the opportunity for interpersonal validation. The output of this system is often a certain groupthink along the lines of the common needs of the individuals.

As talented individuals are drawn toward the group for validation, they are drawn away from individual achievement as a valued source of fulfillment by the lowest common denominator of the group. Socialistic economies are designed so that the aggregate deficit in individual achievement is spread throughout society as an insurance mechanism to prevent individual failure to achieve from becoming socially catastrophic. However, the macro effect of the interaction of the socialistic economy with the population is to move the entire population in the direction of TNL political and economic thought. Fortunately, since the memory of the fundamental source of validation is deeply imprinted, economies are able to adapt to this potentially stability-impairing influence inside the biological adaptation time frame. Eventually, a stability point is reached on the national level.

At the heart of the modern liberal movement is the pseudo-philosophy of relativism which serves to rationalize the emerging gap between the current liberal position which is oriented in opposition to exterior players and the moral goods which are claimed.


Paradoxes of Modern Liberalism: A Game-Theoretic Analysis
Pei, the author of “Paradoxes of American Nationalism”, cautions that the US incurs an anti-American response from other nations through the strength of its nationalistic characteristic and recent move away from the herd in order to deal with predators in the form of international terrorist organizations and rouge states armed with WMD. In raising these concerns, Pei gives voice to the instinctive threat response of the liberal herd: it is better to be on the interior protected by the stronger members on the exterior. In doing so, Pei, wraps his security concerns (controllability of the US) in the cloak of established herd/international mores. The herd of nations or individuals facing external challenges is analogous to the role of players in game-theory.

While mainstream political, economic, and social policy has traditionally focused on the determination and achievement of Pareto-optimal solutions that are Nash equilibrium, there has been a growing movement in the United States over the past four decades that has searched for Nash equilibriums that are not Pareto-optimal. This movement has been the subject of much scorn and criticism (Ann Coulter), overlooking the success of its growth. In political terms, this phenomenon is known as the modern liberal movement. This interior solution is motivated by psychological security needs aptly illustrated by the behavior of weaker members of a herd to seek protection at its interior and by their innovations for the perpetuation of their line (Smithsonian).

Whereas the determination of the Pareto-optimal Nash equilibrium is guided by the observation of events and relations with the external environment, the determination of the nonpareto-optimal Nash equilibrium is a function of interior relationships only. Thus, the modern liberal movement defines itself not by an objective standard, but by its relation to others. Since, relationships are a function of adjacency; it is natural for the liberal movement to be blind to connections in an associative relationship (the Iraq/Al-Qaeda nexus).

We understand that the recent anti-American dynamic is fundamentally a threat response of the liberal movement when we consider that in the direct aftermath of September 11, both the President and the US enjoyed a high degree of domestic and international support. This is an acknowledgement by the liberal movement of the fact that the US, in particular, President Bush, was seen as the alpha male whose role it was to protect the herd from predatory threat of Islamic terrorists. The instinct for the liberal movement to offer up the stronger exterior members of the herd to satiate the predators through pushing or tripping when faced with only a low or moderate threat can be seen in the willingness of liberals to send US forces to Bosnia, Somalia, and Liberia, but not Iraq in which a victory makes the US relatively stronger. The fact that this desire is innate of liberals transnationally speaks to the instinctive nature of the response.