Thursday, May 31, 2012

Noble Pursuits

Normally, I spend the last day of the month putting together our monthly e-newsletter, The Sunflower. Today, though, I just had to take a few minutes to write this blog, because I can't stop thinking about this quote.

Earlier this month, just before ending his term as President of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev spoke to a group of Russian elites. He said that good examples needed to be set for the next generation so they would be emboldened to pursue "success in literature, art, education..."

Great! Wow, Mr. Medvedev. Your dedication to the future of Russia's youth is laudable. Literature, art and education have been undervalued in the past, and are keys to a vibrant culture.

Unfortunately, Mr. Medvedev didn't turn off the microphone and leave the room at that point. He continued:

"...and nuclear weapons."

Maybe this was mistranslated. Maybe he meant success in eliminating all nuclear weapons, which Russia (then the Soviet Union) agreed to do 42 years ago when the Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force. That would actually make sense.

President Medvedev quickly put this thought to rest, however. Again he continued, "They [nuclear weapons] may still come in handy. We're not going to use them, but let's still keep them around, because we have a big country, a complex country. We must value it and protect it."

This is the mentality that we are up against. Sorry, Mr. Medvedev. If you truly valued your complex country and wanted to protect it, you would realize that the use of even a tiny percentage of your beloved nuclear weapons against another country's cities would lead to global nuclear famine. Even if your enemy did not retaliate directly against your complex country with nuclear weapons, your people and your country would still suffer from a catastrophic famine.

So let's keep the focus on literature, art and education. Put the nuclear weapons in the dustbin of history, where they belong.

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