FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thoughts on a US Response to an Alien Signal

BONUS LINK:  My entire (so far) grad school notes collection can be found here. 

You Are on the NSS and You Receive an Alien Signal from Planet Gliese
(Full article is below) 
            While the considerations are extensive, the paramount question is a simple one:
to answer the door or not. That this knock took twenty years to reach the United States
from the previously unknown Planet Gliese-581-g (referred to as Gliese hereafter), with
any response carrying the same delay, hearkens back to an age-old era of diplomacy
that existed before World War I and the advent of the telegram and other technological
advances.  Therefore, it is crucial that the President take time in responding, fully
evaluating all possible courses of action, outcomes, and their effects on international
relationships.  Callières warned against neophytes that sought to play the role of
diplomat when they did not know the “interests, the laws, the customs, the languagethe
geographical situation” of the countries with which they interacted. In this case, the
U.S. government knows very little about Gliese outside of its ostensible technological
capacity. If the Washington decides to respond, they must send an immediate message
stating that the U.S. is working towards a solution, and also request complete background
data (population and natural resources), and information (history, system of government)
for the Planet Gliese to assist in helping them. After all, if Gliese does not have uranium
or a similar element, telling them how to develop nuclear energy likely will be a fruitless


 If the U.S. decides to respond, though, then the benefit of a multilateral response
depends on if Gliese was truthful and if nuclear energy does indeed save their planet. If
both of these are true, then only the U.S responding would provide the maximum benefit
of the prestige of saving a civilization and the gaining of a strong (at least
technologically) ally. If the response backfires in anyway though, then the U.S. would
benefit from a multilateral response. There is precedent over the last century to hedge
the U.S. response in this manner, as this is the manner in which the United States, and its
partners, have conducted humanitarian intervention over the last 50 years.

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