Sunday, May 08, 2005

McNamara and Bolton: a story of Fission, not Fusion

I subscribed to Foreign Policy  (FP) a few months ago.  Not because I have any pretensions of being a policy wonk, but because I am fascinated by what happens when you get enough molecules together in the same place.  Individual molecules are fairly easy to understand, as are small collections.  Most of what happens with small collections is predicable with a few simple rules.

When the number of molecules involved becomes very large -- as is the case with international politics -- the predictability vanishes.  Of course, people still try to apply simple rules, then fail to notice the many exceptions.  Personally, I think this is one of the most interesting aspect of human psychology.  Once we establish a pet theory, we notice confirmatory evidence selectively, and take it as proof of the theory.  Somehow, evidence that contradicts the theory is ignored, discounted, or otherwise invalidated.  In this post, I discuss two recent FP articles, one by Robert McNamara, which argues for accelerated arms control efforts, and one about John Bolton, arguing for and against his nomination for Ambassador to the UN.  I remind readers that the stakes are high, because of the crucial role the UN has in control of nuclear proliferation.  Continue reading here.