UC Berkeley (Nick)



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    all this talk...

    Nick Sowers
    Jul 2, '09 8:12 PM EST

    ...about North Korean missiles got me thinking back to my experience in White Sands. I've just put together my first podcast in five weeks.

    In the recording, I will walk around and point out various missiles in the park, and then let some of the museum video material speak for itself. You might want to sneak over to my flickr set to look at the missiles while you listen:

    There is a simple fact about America, and that is its bigness. Because of bigness, we can pretty much do whatever we want within our borders. (and we have remarkable freedom outside of those borders, too--like all of these bases on foreign soil) We can take a forty by one hundred mile stretch of desert and launch over forty thousand rockets over a period of sixty years, if we want to. Today we are responsible participants in nuclear non-proliferation treaties, and we instead focus our development anti-missile defenses.

    There's a lot of inferiority syndrome going on out there. Take North Korea, for example. I don't think they even have a desert to play war games on. They have an ocean, but too bad that's bordered by a host of angry, terrified neighbors. What else can they do, marginialized as they are?

    Of course, North Korea should not be allowed to follow our path toward missile supremacy, just as we don't want third world countries spewing out the same CO2 emissions that we did decades ago. But maybe we should refrain from labeling the country as insane, unless we wish to wear the same label ourselves. I don't think it would be far off-base. We're in love with military power and our anti-missile missiles. How redundant.

    The tour through White Sands has convinced me of our insanity. I bought a postcard and sent it to my wife while I was there. It was an anti-missile missile launch against a beautiful twilight sky. The smoke trail featured a loop de loop. It was a beautiful postcard. Walter Benjamin famously wrote "All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war." These anti-missile missiles, having their own currency in politics, have been rendered aesthetic. Aren't they, then, just begging to be tested?

    I will be in New Zealand on July 4th, and I can only hope there won't be any fireworks to see.

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