NOTE: While looking through my old essays, I found another 15 that struck me as particularly interesting. Some may seem a bit dated, as they discuss current events during the period 2008 to 2010, but the principles they discuss are still relevant.
I was watching reruns of the new Doctor Who series, and was amused to see the Daleks, one of his perennial alien rivals, spending so much effort killing off UN troops. Of course, in the fictional Doctor Who universe, the UN has real powers. (Probably to explain why Britain seems more prominent than the US in world affairs. European dramas always have trouble explaining why their local politicians are more prominent in world affairs than say the US, China or even Russia. Making the UN a real power helps solve this dilemma.)
But after having a good laugh at the futility of wiping out UN troops, I came up with an amusing plot for a science fiction novel.
What if some historical personage, say Truman, were to have discovered, or maybe been told by some members of his military, that aliens were real, that alien spies had been discovered, and that there was a real threat of alien invasion in a few decades. Truman, unable to think of any way to discourage such an invasion, was left trying to decide how best to defend against it. First, he obviously would have put every possible effort into the existing nuclear weapon program, as well as encouraging rocket plane, jet, rocket, and eventually space research. But what else could he do?
And then he hits upon a brilliant idea. He confers with other world leaders, and comes up with a scheme to create a Potemkin government. Basically, they will form a fictional world government, give it some apparent powers, even access to military, but never allow it to do anything of substance. While looking like a real government, its purpose is not to rule, not to assist in resolving conflicts between states, none of the nominal objectives. What it is intended to do is to distract the aliens. Even before they arrive, their spies will spend time and energy infiltrating an organization which is effectively worthless. And then, once they do arrive, they will spend their initial efforts wiping out a government and military units upon which no one relies, leaving the real powers, the national government and armies, untouched for a counter attack.
The world leaders, being convinced of the alien menace, agree to Truman's scheme, and over the next few decades the various governments of the world put his plan into effect, creating this dummy government to help distract the aliens.
And they decide to call it the United Nations.
I know, it sounds absurd. But is it any more absurd than the thought that educated people, well versed in political realities, could take the UN seriously? Given a choice between my fiction and the current reality, I would much prefer to believe my fiction.
And even if it isn't true (and I know, sadly, that it is not), it would at least make for an amusing story.
By the way, if anyone else watches the new Doctor Who, I have a question. Everyone is well aware of all the pro-homosexual and anti-religion messages forced into the show in the most ham-handed manner. And I have previously complained about any number of aspects. But, watching a number of season finale episodes, I noticed a pattern no one else has mentioned, at least not of which I am aware. So, has anyone else noticed that the season endings have all turned into something akin to collectivist versions of After School Specials? Whether fighting the Master or the Daleks, the answer is "if we all pull together, it will work!" Oh, there are other themes, such as "forgive everyone" and "war makes everyone evil", and a host of other dubious messages, but this victory of the group, over and over, gets tiresome.
Now that I think about it, why do I watch the new Doctor Who? Besides continuing in a bad way a series of which I was fond, and every so often including a clever episode like "Blink", has the new series really added anything? Well, it managed to destroy my fond memories of the Timelords by claiming a long war made them all evil (though somehow an equally long war versus the space vampires in the original series left them ennobled, not debased... different era I guess), but I don't believe it has done much good. Amazing how long it has remained on my viewing schedule out of nothing but goodwill from the original series, and hopes that they will return to the less preachy tone of the very first season of the new series...
Originally posted in Random Notes on 2010/04/09