When I was a teenager and the Cold War was at its height we were constantly hearing about the "arms race" between Russia and the USA. This battle for technological supremacy was closely related to the "space race" and the shock in the West when Russia was first to put a man into space was like an earthquake.

The arms race has never been exactly symmetrical. The initial technical problem - something that N Korea is rediscovering - was that nuclear warheads were too heavy to be carried by the rockets that both Russians and Americans had plundered from Nazi Germany at the end of the war. The Americans set about miniaturising the warheads. The Russians made bigger rockets. This, basically, was what gave them the edge in getting a man into space since humans cannot be miniaturised.

Eventually we arrived at MAD - "mutually assured destruction". The cost of war to both parties would be too devastating to make it ever worth trying. MAD may seem mad, evil even, but it did ensure there was no third world war. Various treaties were signed by the leading powers agreeing not to disturb this arrangement.

In this twenty-first century, however, the Americans have dropped out of these treaties and are intent upon creating a "shield" that would protect them from Russian missiles. This shield would consist of satellite tracking of incoming missiles and the firing of counter-missiles to shoot them down. At first sight this might seem sensible self-protection. One of the few things that President Trump has done that has attracted virtually no publicity or controversy has been to sign an order advancing this programme. As he signed it he made remarks to the effect that such weapons are a bad thing but as long as they exist the USA should have the best ones.

This has, however, set the arms race going again. Think about it. If the USA were in fact to become immune to attack by Russia (or anybody else) they would be in a position to impose themselves in any way they liked anywhere in the world. This is the kind of world domination ambition that has been shared by all the great empire builders in history. None of them has so far ever been able to totally pull it off however.

Secondly, there is virtually no such thing as a purely defensive system. A missile launcher can fire any number of warheads with any of a wide variety of targets. The official reason that China is protesting at the US putting its THAAD system into S Korea is that it can be used for espionage inside China, but one can be sure that they are also aware that a missile fired by THAAD could hit Beijing.

How has Russia responded? The Russians have said that they cannot afford to follow suit. Putin has no intention of developing a Russian shield. In any case it would be even more expensive for them as Russia is bigger. So what are they going to do? They are developing more powerful offensive weapons with the aim that if and when the American system ever becomes operational it will already be obsolete because the Russians will have some new weapon that can go through it. So it really is a race against the clock.

The arms race has gone on throughout history. Sometimes it advances rapidly, sometimes more slowly. The risks are huge. The cost astronomical. The whole thing certainly is crazy, but it seems we are somehow locked into it - a heartless machine in which we are at best cogs and at worst victims. People get used to almost anything. Somehow we have got used to the idea that we might all one day be incinerated. So much so that it rarely even gets into the news these days.

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ITZI Conference 2017

Blog Posts

Study Grouop

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on November 13, 2017 at 8:04 0 Comments

We had our regular skype study group on Saturday evening. Three people attended including myself and we studied some of Dharmavidya’s writings and had very helpful discussions about subjects such as Buddhist prayer, accepting death and being Human. The next group will be on Saturday the 25th at 9.30pm. This late time is due to the fact that some of our members are overseas in different time zones. if you would like to join us please email me adamdunsby@hotmail.com or skype me…

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ON BEING LIBERALLY DOGMATIC (rather than dogmatically liberal)

Posted by David Brazier on November 8, 2017 at 11:30 0 Comments

Last night I had a conversation in a restaurant in which a person reported the view that the religion of the future would be Zen because Zen was a religion without dogmas. This statement struck me with particular force because at the moment I am in the middle of reviewing a draft chapter by another author on "Eastern Meditation Meets the West" for a future publication. This chapter highlights the cultural filters that ideas have to pass through in order to get a stamp of approval by our…

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Relationship.

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on September 9, 2017 at 20:56 0 Comments

Found this on a Chogyam Trungpa video…

''The relationship between student and teacher is like a dance…

In relating with the teacher, your critical input and your surrendering work together. They’re not working against each other. The more input you get from the teacher and the phenomenal world and the more you develop, at the same time, the more you question. So there is a kind of dance taking place between the teacher and yourself. You are not particularly trying to switch off…

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Reflections on Foolishness.

Posted by Dayamay Dunsby on September 5, 2017 at 11:50 2 Comments

I sometimes can’t believe how defective I am!! Whilst despairing of myself the other day I remembered a Shinran teaching that I found some time ago. It really made me think and reinforced my resolve to practice.

It is a Pureland teaching about the depth of our sin preventing us from being genuinely good. Our efforts to be decent, caring beings are always based in and therefore contaminated by our self centredness, greed hatred and delusion. This is due to the…

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