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Evacuations, Not Bombs

Within a nation, the problem of political violence is resolved by substituting “ballots” for “bullets.” Rather than fight a civil war each time the citizens of a nation disagree about public policy, the citizens of a democracy instead put the matter to a vote. If voting shows that more citizens want policy A rather than policy B, it is not rational for supporters of policy B to fight a civil war, because the supporters of policy A (being more numerous) would likely win the war. Moreover, supporters of policy B can always hope that voters in future elections may choose to support policy B.

In a similar manner, one can substitute evacuations for bombs. If two or more nations are seriously in conflict and cannot resolve their differences diplomatically, then war is currently the only practical option for resolving the conflict. In theory, the United Nations outlaws war. In practice, the United Nations normally does not, and frequently cannot, prevent war. Moreover, because of the veto power,the United Nations cannot authoritatively resolve conflicts between five of the major nuclear powers.

A war that would involve nuclear weapons, or other weapons of mass destruction, would be the most calamitous type of war. A major nuclear war would likely end modern civilization, and might even end the human species. To eliminate nuclear war, it is only necessary to find a substitute for nuclear war that the nuclear nations can agree to. It is irrational to fight, or threaten to fight, an actual nuclear war if an adequate substitute can be found. Substituting evacuations for bombs, if it can be successfully implemented by treaty, would effectively eliminate the threat of nuclear war.

While many details would need to be worked out, here are the main elements of a possible treaty: Nations give “fair warning” before bombing cities or other human targets. If cities are evacuated, cities are not bombed. To ensure trust that fair warning will be given, all nuclear weapons are controlled by international troops. The weapons owned by a given nation can be returned to national control, if suitable notice is given to the treaty organization. International observers can verify whether and to what extent required evacuations are carried out. Just as with a real nuclear war, an enemy who ordered up evacuations would have to consider the likelihood of retaliatory orders for evacuations. Hence, such nonviolent warfare is unlikely to be initiated on a whim.

Evacuations are reversible. Bombings are irreversible. If an accommodation between warring nations can be reached within a few months or a few years, life can simply return to normal if the warring enemies use evacuations rather than bombs. Life cannot return to normal after an actual nuclear war.


    © 2007 Jonah Speaks - All rights reserved.