The United States is at war; well, its military is anyway. The United States chose this war, chose badly, and conducted it even more poorly. Washington amply demonstrated that it’s not capable of exporting democracy and reconstructing a country–especially when that country is in the midst of a civil war unleashed by U.S. incompetence. Perhaps we’re learning that the world is a vastly more complicated place than our naive assumptions led us to believe.
Month: April 2007
Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first president, was never a cold warrior. Although he made his Soviet career in the Urals, the traditional stronghold of military-related heavy industry, his real background was in civilian construction. He ran the Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) region in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a Communist Party boss, and although he was summoned to lead the Moscow party organization in December 1985, he hardly had an opportunity to involve himself in the details of the U.S.-Soviet nuclear superpower confrontation.
Bioterrorists, in this case Mother Nature, couldn’t have picked a better target against agriculture: honeybees. Cornell University’s Roger Morse and Nicholas Calderone estimate that the value honeybees contribute to U.S. agriculture through pollination grew from $9.3 billion in 1989 to $14.6 billion in 2000. (See “The Value of Honeybees as Pollinators of U.S.
Oddly enough, the U.S.-Russian row over missile defense is exactly what needed to happen for the two countries to start talking again.
In the 1970s, genetic engineering was the hot new technology in which DNA molecules from one organism could be spliced into another organism’s DNA. Today, synthetic biology could likewise revolutionize our way of life. But synthetic biology is orders of magnitude beyond genetic engineering because it can create completely novel DNA sequences. By human “intelligent design,” synthetic biologists could conceivably create new life-forms previously unknown to this planet.
The U.S. military’s interest in physics helped produce the Bomb. Now the Pentagon is mining neuroscience for a host of futuristic weapons.
Letting the Pentagon execute a growing portion of the U.S. national security policy isn’t in the best interest of the military or the country.
A Hippocratic oath is merely lip service, rigorous ethical standards need to be developed to properly vet those pursuing a career in the life sciences.