They Don’t Call it “Weed” for Nothing

“Heroin, cocaine, and marijuana…originate as extremely low-cost agricultural products – weeds, essentially, that require almost no cultivation.”

That’s one of the interesting things in George Friedman’s book “The Next Decade: Empire and Republic in a Changing World”. It’s of geopolitical significance to the USA because of the instability on our southern border being caused by Mexican drug gangs.

Here’s another interesting thing from the book: Everybody knows that the Russians stole nuclear technology from the USA 60 years ago. But to this day, nobody has been able to make nukes from scratch:

“Only one country ever produced a nuclear weapon from scratch, and that was the United States. The British got their nukes in compensation for their contribution to the American research effort. The French also acquired the technology from the Americans, which they then regifted to Israel. The Russians stole the knowledge from the Americans, then transferred it to both the Chinese and the Indians. The Chinese gave the technology to the Pakistanis.”

Chances are that we don’t really need to worry about the Iranians and North Koreans developing their own nukes. Unless they get help, of course. And nuclear proliferation should be pretty easy to contain – as long as nuclear countries just stop sharing.

And we might be able to get rid of nukes altogether. The science and technology is so hard that we could easily forget how to do it. When the Department of Energy decided to refurbish some warheads in 1996, it took 10 years to reverse engineer the super-secret FOGBANK material.

And now that there is no testing, you have to wonder how well these decaying systems will work. Ask any engineer if he could build a complicated device and expect it to work, and continue working for decades, without any real-world testing, and he will just laugh at you.

Nuclear weapons will likely prove to be a “use it or lose it” technology. If nuclear war erupted today, there would probably quite a lot of fizzling going on from all sides.

If our nukes do decay into duds, I think the USA would be the geopolitical lottery winner because of our geographical isolation from other world powers. It’s one thing for Beijing or Moscow to press a button and launch missiles at us, but it’s quite another for them land troops on our beaches and actually invade. The naval power required to do that would take generations to develop – even for a mighty industrial power like China.

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