Editorial—MAD about Russia

It’s been quite a few years since the idea of there being a global nuclear war ending life on earth has been prevalent in popular culture.  But I remember when the mini-series “The Day After” was one of the most anticipated, and then talked about series people had seen.

Since then, glasnost, 911, climate change and a host of other events have worked their magic to push that threat into the background of most people’s minds.  Some students these days may not even be familiar with the idea of MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction.  This is the policy used by nations to justify an ever increasing build up of nuclear weapons.  The whole point of the idea was that if everybody knows that somebody starting a conflict would lead to their own total annihilation because of a nuclear response, nobody will start a conflict.  They’d have to be mad to do so, right?

Of course, the huge hole in that theory has always been, “What if some leader is?”  Then MAD itself is mad.

I’m not saying Putin is mad, but his recent sabre rattling as he moves troops into Ukraine has obviously been enough to give many nations pause when it comes to the idea of starting an all out attack.  After all, maybe he is just mad enough to care more about reforming the USSR before he goes than he is about, well, going.

This leads us into a situation envisioned by so many, so many years ago, who questioned the notion of MAD in the first place.  When all the world is afraid that the use of nuclear weapons might kill the world, and one actor with them is threatening to use them unless he’s allowed to conventionally annex some territory or people or energy sources or whatever, how does the world get out of the situation?  Appeasement only encourages repeated aggression.  But response is equally unpalatable, given the risks.

And when playing chicken with the concept of life on earth even stopping half way might mean there are serious casualties.  Personally, I’m finding myself having difficulty looking ahead with much enthusiasm, because I don’t see an option where this situation ends well.  We’re already living in a time where social media amplifies anger and fear as a metric for engagement.  Our ability to find out real information about the world is already being challenged, and event the notion of objective facts is falling under the idea that we can only trust that which we’ve personally experienced (does Australia really exist, or is it a conspiracy of cartographers?)

Thinker Ray Kurzweil has postulated that perhaps the reason we haven’t met aliens is because any civilization advanced enough to be able to control the energy required to travel in space will use that to cause its own destruction.  I used to disagree with that, thinking that perhaps we’re just not that notable to any space-faring civilizations that may exist.  These days, though, make me wonder.

Meanwhile, in this issue of The Voice Magazine, in the aftermath of the trucker driven Freedom Protest in Ottawa, we have a different take on what it all meant.  Also, we have an interview with a student who has already achieved her goals and is setting out to push those even further.

Plus, we look at what vanity means to students who study without the typical classrooms of the brick-and-mortar institution.   Plus plenty of advice, scholarships, events, social media buzz, and more!  Enjoy the read!