A Better Debate, Part 3

October 4, 2008

Again, see 1 and 2.  Also, thank you for bearing with me.  I had a cool job interview that I was preparing for…

11. Does the US have a special role in the world as the guardian of international security and as the indispensable leader of the world community?

Duh.  The only reason there is any semblance at all of world peace is the existence of the American Military.  When there are many countries of similar strength, the probability of wars, big and small, is very high.  Think Europe in the first half of the last century.  If there are but two countries and many small ones, the probability of war is also very high, although they often prefer war-by-proxy.  Think USA vs. USSR.  But if there is only one superpower, small wars are common, but never get too bad.  Like now.  We are actually in an unusually peaceful interlude in World History.  I know it doesn’t seem like it, but only very few of us are directly affected by war in any way outside of our pocketbooks.

America MUST continue to be the world’s only Hyperpower.  Whenever any of the situations listed in the previous paragraph switches to another, a devastating war is extraordinarily likely.  We were absurdly, ridiculously, unbelievably lucky that there was no war when the USSR fell.  We may not be that lucky the next time.

12. Both of you support Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO, making them allies. Are the American people ready to jeopardize their soldiers in defense of these countries if they are attacked?

For us to stay a Hyperpower, we must hold to our commitments.  If we do not keep our commitments, all of our commitments will be instantly challenged.  It is not easy nor fun being the Hyperpower.  On the contrary, it is a lot of hard work.  We must make these challenges not for ourselves, or the Georgians, but for the sake of the entire human population.  We stand on the knife’s edge, people, we must make those sacrifices.

Hopefully, if we show we are willing to keep commitments, we will not have to defend them anymore.  If we repel a Russian invasion of Georgia, we may save ourselves from having to deflect Taiwan’s impending invasion by China.

13. What steps would you take to open foreign markets now closed to US goods, to allow export of products and services that the US does well?

If their markets are closed to us, ours are closed to them.  Our economy will slow by 0.01%, theirs will collapse.

14. Roughly what proportion of US resources should go toward helping and protecting other nations compared with the resources that are needed to build up America?

This is the only question I thought was not very intelligent.  “US resources” meaning the federal budget, or the total GDP, or what?  And is the government expending the resources to build up America, or are the people and companies?  Does “build up America” include infrastructure?  welfare?  education?  science funding?  abortions on demand?  Specify, people!

15. Twenty years ago, Islamic terrorism was a sleeper issue. Some people warned about it, but few paid much attention to it. Same thing for climate change. In your opinion, what is today’s sleeper issue?

This was by far their most interesting question.  I am in no way prescient, but I will do my best.

First, what will it NOT be?  Well, not climate change.  By the most ridiculous, sky-is-falling doomsayer’s own estimates, in 20 years the atmosphere will have warmed by less than a quarter of a degree F and the seas will have risen by about one inch.  No worries there.

Nor will it be overpopulation, at least in the First World nations.  Much more likely, it would be underpopulation.  Japan is now facing those issues.  But that is a slow, unglamorous problem.  Plus, the media and our culture is always telling us to have less kids anyway, and they will never repeal their commandments, so they will never think it is an issue.

Well, what do I hope that it is not?  I do not want any 20 year sleeper issue to be Alien invasion, or asteroid impact, or massive ecological collapse, or anything that we can’t do a thing about.  And, no, we can’t download a virus into the mothership, send oil miners to split the asteroid into two, or combine our powers to create Captain Planet.  We would be royally screwed.  Unless, of course, we started preparing now, which is highly unlikely.

What might I hope that it is?  I hope that the sleeper issue is a soft technological singularity.  Few people disagree that technology is increasing exponentially.  The theory is that technology is actually increasing asymptotically, meaning that we will actually have an infinite amount of technology after a finite time.  We will invent Artificial Intelligences that will be a thousand times smarter than we are, which will take ten years to invent an AI 1000 times smarter than it was, which in turn will take one year to invent another AI 1000 times more intelligent yet, which will invent another in one month…  Within twelve years, we have infinitely intelligent computers inventing everything we would ever want.  Or killing us or using us as batteries or something.

Well, a soft singularity is not quite so fast.  Instead of infinite AI’s after 20 years, imagine Star Trek tech after 20 years.  That would be cool.

But, I also find that somewhat unlikely.  After much deliberation, I believe an aggressive China will be the next sleeper issue.  And if you have read the last few answers, you will see why.


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