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The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology 'Plans Ahead'

Thursday, 05 February 2004 12:00 AM

On Jan. 21-26, 2004, the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) posted a six-page article entitled "Responsible Nanotechnology."

The article describes eight scenarios for the future of mankind in connection with molecular nanotechnology, including molecular nano assemblers, capable of destroying enemy means of nuclear retaliation and thus circumventing Mutual Assured Destruction, on which the peace between the three nuclear powers (the USA, Russia and China) has rested.

We at the Center for the Survival of Western Democracies, Inc., believe that the West being what it is at present, there is only one scenario.

Two countries could develop nuclear weapons by 1945: the United States and Germany. The latter did not launch a full-fledged Manhattan Project, since no one could vouch to Hitler in 1939 that nuclear weapons were possible within a few years, and he committed all available resources to the conventional war for world domination. The U.S. Manhattan Project started up, and finally, in 1942, came into its own for fear that Germany would develop nuclear weapons ahead of the United States.

Similarly, two countries can develop molecular nano assemblers: the United States and China. The latter launched in 1986 Project 863, a Manhattan Project for the development of post-nuclear superweapons in seven fields, and, at the close of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st, molecular nanotechnology became the eighth field.

The United States has not launched a Manhattan Project for the development of any post-nuclear superweapons, and certainly not of molecular nanoweapons. In 1969 President Nixon announced the U.S. termination of development of post-nuclear weapons, and it has been terminated, according to my research, not my benevolence.

Just as Lloyd George in England up to 1939 dreamed aloud about having a statesman as great as Hitler at the head of the British government, the Western political establishment has been in love with the dictatorship of China. So, the United States has no need for molecular nano assemblers and the defense against them.

In 1939 Hitler made a fatal mistake: He grabbed "the rump of Czechoslovakia," and the democratic West woke up. Imagine the dictatorship of China suddenly invading Mexico! But the Chinese strategists regard such a war as purely Western and old-fashioned (

Let us now look at the article "Responsible Nanotechnology." At the CSWD, Inc., we believe that the only responsible molecular nanotechnology is for the U.S. government to launch a nanotech Manhattan Project on the basis of the Foresight Institute, with Eric Drexler, the founder of nanotechnology, at the head of the Project. Incidentally, the Advisory Board of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology consists of distinguished, gifted individuals who might become the core of the nanotech Manhattan Project.

Great was my shock when I read the article posted by or on behalf of CRN. Here are its eight "scenarios" for the future of mankind (which the article presents out of numerical sequence):

"Molecular manufacturing" develops "quickly enough," but mankind lives happily ever after.

But what about the possibility of a molecular nano attack, launched by the dictatorship of China on the West?

What? Don't you know that China is as peaceful as the democratic West thought Germany was peaceful in 1938?

The same as Scenario 6, except "molecular manufacturing technology" develops slowly, which is even better.

"The leading world powers take a close look at the first three scenarios we've described [the article describes 4 after 6 and 5], decide to avoid them at all costs, and agree to work together to avoid geopolitical meltdown. We at CRN believe that sovereign nations ultimately may cooperate in this way, since the alternatives appear to suck!"

Again, China is no problem – even if China gets molecular manufacturing capability first. Surely China will not annihilate the West even in this case, but will "work together."

What about the United States?

"Even [!] if the United States gets molecular manufacturing capability first, and certain elements inside the government intend to oppress the rest of the world with it, we can hope that other powerful entities in the U.S. will be more sensible and influential."

The above suggests that the form of government in the United States is much more dangerous for the world than that in China, the largest dictatorship in world history. Inside the U.S. government "certain elements" may "intend to oppress the rest of the world." Not inside the government of China, which presumably consists of American liberal Democrats and peaceniks only.

"Two or more competent nations develop molecular manufacturing capability at about the same time. Fearing the potential military advantage this could provide for their adversary, they each begin rapid and massive development of hideously powerful new weaponry. The resulting arms race is almost certain to be highly unstable, for several reasons. This scenario can be considered an existential risk for the human race."

Can you imagine the dictators of China, hearing of the "existential risk for the human race"? They will develop a severe depression, and the American doctors talking depression on TV will have to treat them.

"A major Asian nation achieves robust molecular nanotechnology manufacturing ahead of anyone else, and as a result the U.S. becomes something of a backwater."

As I was reading this, I could imagine only China in this role. I guessed right! But never mind, for "China (if it's them) could turn increasingly open/democratic as they continue to develop economically and scientifically ... isn't it?"

Of course! Remember how increasingly open/democratic Germany turned as it developed economically and scientifically after 1933?

If one knows nothing about a foreign country, he or she can well daydream about its being open/democratic. Remember how President Roosevelt's spouse and his ambassador in Moscow admired and extolled openness and democracy in Stalin's Russia?

"The United States of America is the first to develop molecular technology manufacturing, and as a result can rule the world."

Surely this is better than nano annihilation.

"In practice, this outcome might [!] look [!] pretty similar to the international control CRN is calling for, except that Americans would be "more equal than others," and probably by a wide margin. This may go bad at some point, depending on how narrowly selfish and/or destructive U.S. imperial policy is."

The sarcastic phrase "more equal than others" belongs to Orwell, who ridiculed totalitarian inequality, concealed behind totalitarian sloganistic hypocrisy.

It is also noteworthy that, while China can "turn increasingly open/democratic," the question is "how selfish and/or destructive U.S. imperialism policy is." The phrase "American imperialism" was popularized by Lenin, and has been used by Soviet and Chinese Communists millions of times.

Actually, in contrast to Britain and (Soviet) Russia, the United States was never a colonial empire. Owing to the monopoly on nuclear weapons between 1945 and 1949, the United States could have established world domination, but never even tried.

The next section of "Responsible Nanotechnology" is entitled "Planning Ahead" and starts:

"The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has developed a tentative outline for the international administration of molecular nanotechnology manufacturing.

"Certainly the word 'international' includes China. So, with the participation of China in the "international administration," a self-contained secure manufacturing system – a nanofactory – would be developed in a closely guarded crash program. The nanofactory would then be released for widespread use."

The next section is entitled "The View from China" and consists of one short paragraph:

"Nano not terrifying – that's the headline of a story from China's official news agency. It's quite possible that developments in advanced nanotechnology will proceed much more rapidly in China or in other Asian nations than they will in Europe or the United States."

China is not afraid of "nano" and hence China may advance in "nano" ahead of the West. To annihilate the West or force it into unconditional surrender? Such a possibility can occur to the author of "Responsible Nanotechnology" no more than the possibility of death from poisoning to a 2-year-old child.

The fantastic meaning of the paragraph above seems to be that China (and not the United States) will have problems as a result of its quick nano development, and hence the next section is entitled "The Urgent Search of Solutions."

"First, we must understand the risks. Second, make policy. Third, design institutions. Fourth, create the institutions – at all levels, including international [!] levels, where things move slowly."

The "idea of a supreme global administration" seems to the author of "Responsible Nanotechnology" as feasible as getting the moon from the sky may seem to a 2-year-old child. His only doubt is whether the "supreme global administration," including China (and the Islamic world) will "protect people from powerful governments." Hence the author believes that the "the idea of a supreme global administration" "sounds ominous":

"We know. And we aren't very comfortable with the idea of a supreme global administration, even with checks and balances, accountability, democracy, and everything else that can protect people from powerful governments.

"But we're even less comfortable with the idea of nano-anarchy. This is the best alternative we could come up with. If you can propose a better solution, we'll listen."

To repeat: The only solution we see at the CSWD, Inc., is a nanotech Manhattan Project to develop molecular nano assembler weapons and the defense against them. On the other hand, the solution proposed in "Responsible Nanotechnology" is a 2-year-old child's fantasy diverting the United States from the

By toying with (unlikely or absurd) scenarios, the article, posted on behalf of CRN, is diverting public attention from some of the key issues, such as the unwillingness of the administration to address the geostrategic danger of molecular nanotechnology and the resulting lack of funding of any credible project for the development of molecular assemblers and of the defense against them.

Organizations usually have on their W ebsites the link "About us." In this case the link is "About me CRN." This is like the French king's "The State is me." The pronoun "we" is used throughout the article "Responsible Nanotechnology." This is like an 18th-century Russian tsar's "We" or like Queen Victoria's "We" in her oft-quoted remark, "We are not amused."

The name of "me" and "we" is Mike Treder, and his ("our") article would have been a mighty blow to the survival of the West if this royal manifesto had not been lost in Google's 91,700 "Nanotechnology in China" articles.

As it is, this is the best evidence that the West in its present state is doomed unless the Chinese dictators die laughing, reading Mr. Treder's six-page "joke-in-all-earnest."

Does Mr. Treder finance CRN?

One of the members of CRN's Advisory Board is Eric Drexler, whom "me" does not even mention – either in his article or in "about me CRN." A man of genius in his field may be mentally average outside it. Drexler's pronouncements outside nanotechnology – for example, in the geopolitical field – are laconic, cautious or "conservative," and I have not seen in them a single word that would be inaccurate.

Mr. Treder's six-page "joke-in-earnest" has damaged the prestige of CRN, and hence of the Foresight Institute, and has pushed the West toward nano annihilation or unconditional surrender.

For historical comparison, imagine in 1939 an article that would propose, instead of the Manhattan Project, "a supreme global administration," including Germany, to advance nuclear physics.

For information about the Center for the Survival of Western Democracy, Inc., including how you can help, please e-mail me at

The link to my book online is www.levnavrozov.com. You can also request our

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On Jan. 21-26, 2004, the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) posted a six-page article entitled "Responsible Nanotechnology." The article describes eight scenarios for the future of mankind in connection with molecular nanotechnology, including molecular nano...
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