Sunday, May 22, 2005

A couple of biggies

No connection to each other, but both worth careful thought.

Stephen Fidler, posting Why nuclear containment is breaking down, late on 22 May on the FT site

It is premature to pronounce the 35-year-old nuclear non-proliferation treaty dead. Yet, even if global bureaucrats do manage to repair the NPT and restore its relevance to the modern world, they may take years to do it. In the meantime, events could render it irrelevant. Nuclear weapons, until now limited to a handful of powers, could become available to dozens more. If this happens, it will be even harder to keep such weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

and George Steiner (still not dead, then) in Sign and Sight (the punning site title still tickles) on Schiller:

In 1938, when the Nazis took over Vienna, the 72-year-old collector Max Berger reported to the Office for Jewish Emigration. As a ransom, he brought with him one of Schiller’s letters, a valuable manuscript. The letter was taken from him, and then the old man was beaten to death. I am not capable of thinking through the ontological and formal involvements of this event. I only know that greatness is always dangerous, that it always tests us. But what would the continued existence of human intellect be without such danger?

No comments: