The IEU Segovia Political Think Tank’s meeting on the future of warfare brought upon a dynamic discussion. Although the topic was potentially broad, it was quickly narrowed by comments that directed the discussion towards cybersecurity and alternative means and dimensions of war. A full scale war in the near future seems unlikely, and as has been considered for a time now, threat of a large scale war involving nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is a threat too catastrophic to even consider its consequences; obviously, if an event of such magnitude were to occur, we probably would not be there to witness the aftermath.
Instead, the discussion progressed into more subtle but also realistic and current kinds of war. Because of the centralization of our systems and the vulnerability the current technological frameworks, cyberwar is one of the greatest concerns of our time. Agents of cyberwar can range from single individuals to entire nations, and the effects of tempering with digital systems can range from inoffensive trolls to shut-downs of entire cities, thus resulting in mayhem rivalling physical wars. Anonymity exacerbates the problem; you might never know who is attacking, or from where. States may be forced to relinquish their sole role as war agents, or a security providers. Such pressure, already portrayed by the alleged attacks from Russia towards the US elections and similar such behaviors, does not mean we are at war, but it certainly does not mean peace either. Other relevant comments revolved around how, as a species, we are becoming highly specialized, resulting in a greater stiffness as regards to changes in our environment. Because of the complexity of the system we have created, everyone requires a limited and specific environment in order to thrive. If the system is attacked and we are left in the dark, then adaptation and survival would prove too difficult with devastating effects for humanity.
Marc, the moderator, brought upon the question as to whether humanity was better before the uncertainty we are living today. Multiple perspectives were given on the issue, some claiming that we were better before as the enemy was easier to identify and target, while others claimed that the famous threat of mutually assured destruction brought us closer to peace. The discussion then proceeded as to whether it is better for all countries to have nuclear weapons to assure a greater stability on the system. There seemed to be consensus on the fact that no nuclear weapons would be the best outcome (although not everyone participated in the discussion), but it was debated as to whether or not it is fair and desirable for a limited club of countries to be able to own nuclear weapons while the others were denied access to them. Agreement was reached on that no society is composed or leaded by lunatics, and such argument was used to support the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Rational human beings would never deploy a nuclear weapon unless in extreme conditions because of the fear of retaliation, hence the incentive to pluralize the power possessed by those nations holding nuclear weapons. Arguments in favor of a greater proliferation were well exposed, and the examples of Pakistan and North Korea not using their nuclear arsenal were persuasive; even then and for good reasons, some still felt uncomfortable with every single nation having the chance to acquire nuclear weapons. As a finishing comment, Georgy Aronya, class president of PLE and writer for the Stork, posed an interesting set of questions alluding to the aforementioned discussion on the proliferation of nuclear weapons: is it better for just one person in this room to have a gun? Is it better for everyone in the room to have a gun? Or is it better to have something in between?
President of the Political Think Tank Segovia