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The Escalator Game

Once upon a time we turned sticks into spears. Our enemies decided they’d add a string and made a bow. So we had another think and came up with gunpowder, guns, and rockets. Then the arms race escalated yet again and we raced towards a nuclear future that involved calculating how many times over we could each destroy the whole world.

Now we’re reaching into space. The first countries to reach the target of shooting satellites out of orbit were unsurprisingly Russia and the US. To this list we must now add the Chinese, according to this article on the BBC website. How long will it be before the French design their own system, or the British to lease one off the Americans, if they haven’t already?

Meanwhile, the minor leagues are playing the Escalator game with nuclear bombs. The end of the Cold War allowed highly skilled Russian scientists to sell their services to the highest bidder. No doubt Litvninenko would say it also allowed the FSB to sell their technology to the highest bidder. As it turned out, it was really a Pakistani who was the mole in the matrix who was selling the game packs to whoever paid the highest.

So now the escalator on the lower levels includes countries like Iran and North Korea, on the medium level countries like India and Pakistan, and so on. It’s like the senior game of “Keeping up with the Joneses” – except maybe we won’t all get to be seniors if we aren’t careful. Note that I called it a “senior” game rather than a “grown up” game? That’s because anyone who thinks this game is fun must be senile.

Of course, so long as everyone has a gun and it’s pointing at everyone else, who also have guns and are pointing them at everyone else too, there will be no gunfight. You just have to be cautious about these things though. If you keep the technology to yourself so as to be the “bully on the block” so you can feel like you are in control, you always have to watch out for the silent assassin who knifes you in the back when you aren’t looking.

That’s the problem with Escalators –  they go down as well as up.


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