A poem by Chengde Chen
|Dr Strangelove provided a fictional insight into something all too real|
On ‘Nuclear Logic’
Hearing that nuclear control on Earth is troublesome,
God sends His envoy to investigate.
Riding down the wind and passing over countries,
the envoy is puzzled by what he sees:
in country A, nuclear missiles striding proudly ahead;
in country B, nuclear programme being openly upgraded.
but in small countries like C and D,
there are inspectors under UN flags sniffing around,
searching for traces of nuclear evidence, or intention.
The envoy can’t figure out the logic,
so he asks the Secretary General of the UN,
‘If such weapons endanger human existence,
shouldn’t those who have them destroy theirs first?
If the UN principle is that all nations are equal,
why are they treated differently over the same thing?’
The Secretary General replies, ‘Your Excellency,
nuclear logic is different from ordinary logic.
It is not something that if I can have, so can you,
but that because I have it and you don’t,
I can forbid you while you can’t stop me.
“Equality” means that we have one right each.
Since I have had the right to have,
you have to have the right to have not –
which is just as important to the world peace and order.
It is most irrational and irresponsible to think that
that I can set a fire means you can light a candle!’
The envoy is stupefied,
‘What interesting logic; no wonder you’re unique!
I’d better hurry back to report it –
let the Old Man learn something new too.’
Chengde Chen is the author of Five Themes of Today: philosophical poems. Readers can find out more about Chengde and his poems here