Role and significance of “The Human Factor” in conversion of nuclear missile technologies
The twentieth century is over. The winds of history have created and destroyed empires, changed socio-economic formations, redrawed the borders of states, creating the prerequisites of the new on the ruins of the old. Human destinies, the fate of peoples, living nature, the future of civilization were sacrificed. The planet became weaker than the contradictions tearing it apart. Contradictions between people and states, politics and humanity, conscience and expediency, technological progress and the stock of resources for human life.
The world began to talk about the unsustainable development of life on Earth, recalling the civilizations that had already arisen and gone into oblivion.
Creating today, the present generation no longer guarantees for its descendants the resource of habitat that it was able to consume itself.
The unsustainable development of humanity is a disease of civilization, the incubation period of which is still unknown…
In the search for a recovery of the world community, the United Nations has adopted “Agenda 21” as a priority and recommended that governments, national and international non-governmental organizations seek new ways of partnership of government and social structures, the media, business and industry, educators, scientists, young people to implement the basic principles of sustainable development.
All major global problems are now clear. The main reference points for the sustainable development of mankind were formulated five years ago at a special session of the UN in Rio de Janeiro. Recently, in June 1997, most participants in the UN General Assembly Special Session concluded that traditional approaches do not allow to solve the complex set of environmental, economic and social problems that will confront humanity in the coming years.
Where is the way out? An analysis of the current situation shows that unconventional ideas and projects are needed. The fact is that the main threats and manifestations of the future crisis are clearly enough imagined and foreseen in the highly developed countries of the West and the East. Moreover, have the political will and economic opportunities to prevent them, but faced a lack of specific ideas and programs.
In Russia and the CIS countries the situation is different. The paradox of the current state of science in Russia and a number of CIS countries is that with the current scarce funding it begins to intensively search for unconventional methods of using the accumulated knowledge and technologies. Previously, it was hindered by total secrecy. And what was achieved in the military-industrial complex, especially in the nuclear and missile-weapons industries, could not be used in other branches of industry – the enemies would find out. Now this absurdity is coming to an end. Today we can openly discuss an issue which was classified as top secret for decades. We are talking about the use of the nuclear missile potential of Russia and the United States in the interests of humanity. I would like to stress once again that this is not against, but precisely in the interests of humanity.
Unlike developed countries of the West and the East, Russia, primarily in the military-industrial complex, has spent the last three decades developing unique scientific fields and carrying out work on projects which, with modest conversion, could be used as the basis for successfully addressing issues of humanity’s sustainable development.
It is important to note that the advanced nuclear missile technologies of the CIS and, above all, of Russia allow us to immediately begin searching for solutions to the most complex energy and environmental challenges facing world civilization and included in the UN Program of Action for the 21st Century.
At first glance, the project of using the nuclear-missile potential, released as a result of conversion and involving the delivery of an asteroid to a near-Earth orbit, seems fantastic. However this fantasticality is illusory and generated mainly by two reasons: the first, about which I already spoke, is an excessive veil of secrecy covering military domestic and western technologies, the second is an elementary lack of education.
The years of space euphoria are gone, the former enthusiasm disappears and eternally young cosmonautics threatens to turn into the science of “the old generation”.
There is no influx of young fresh minds who retain confidence in the “possibility of the impossible”. And it is when analyzing, at first glance, fantastic projects, which is the proposed asteroid project, it is extremely important to abandon the previous frozen perceptions and dogmas. The latter is only possible as a result of a competently constructed educational process.
After this necessary introduction, let me dwell not on the technical aspect, but on the humanitarian human aspect of the program under discussion, which was dreamt by K.E. Tsiolkovsky and S.P. Korolev. This aspect is no less important than the technological aspect in achieving the tasks discussed today.
Speaking of the problems facing humanity at the end of this century, in particular people and their environment, there is no doubt that development is the key to saving humanity. If economic growth is undoubtedly essential for development, it is equally important to recognize the fact that the social and environmental dimensions cannot be sacrificed to achieve this goal. In order to do so, priority must be given to human resources, which in a broad sense means improving the quality of life, including education, health, human rights, and social justice. On this list, we would like to give a special place to education.
Education, along with economics and nation-building, is today the most important factor and one of the main arguments for social development. In the modern world, the national wealth of any country consists of three components. These are: productive capital (industry, transport, energy, communication systems, etc.), natural capital (minerals, land, forest, water resources, etc.) and human capital (educational and cultural level of the population). Standard methods for assessing economic development say nothing about the well-being of a nation. Analysis shows that even such seemingly incomparable states as Madagascar and the United States of America receive the same – about 16% of their national wealth from the production component. And one of the main components of the national wealth is “human resources”.
The concept of education in the world has undergone very significant changes in recent years. Previously, education was strictly tied to the capacity of the state budget, which also formed the basis of the constitutional responsibility of the state to its people for their education. Thanks to the acceleration of scientific and technological progress, today knowledge on the planet is updated on average every 6 years. Unfortunately, however, the traditional basic education that exists in most countries, due to its inertia, does not keep up with this renewal.
If we turn to the recent past of the former Soviet Union, we can clearly state the traditionally high level of development of pedagogical science, a large number of highly qualified teaching staff and the existence of a developed educational infrastructure. This system was fully financed and managed by the state, but concerned mainly with basic education. Today, due to the financial and economic difficulties experienced by these states, the education of the population is going through hard times.
Historical experience shows that the success of any country in overcoming critical situations is determined primarily by the extent to which public consciousness has been receptive to the achievements of world civilization. The main tool to ensure the necessary changes in spiritual life is undoubtedly a system of continuous lifelong education of the population.
A major step in creating such a system in the Commonwealth was the “Agreement on Cooperation in the Spread of Knowledge and Adult Education. In January of this year it was signed by the heads of the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Tajikistan. To implement this agreement the Interstate Committee of the CIS on the dissemination of knowledge and adult education was formed.
The idea to create such a structure belongs to the International Association “Znanie”, which considers one of its main objectives to promote the integration of the CIS countries in the European educational system. By decision of the Council of Heads of Governments of CIS, the International Association “Znanie” is represented in the Inter-State Committee on an equal footing with the Member States.
The Interstate Committee has already developed a priority and outlined a program for creating a system of continuing education of adults in the Commonwealth. Therefore one of the most important tasks of our Committee is to unite and activate the efforts of state bodies and public, aimed at increasing the educational and cultural potential of peoples of our countries and increasing the role of scientific knowledge in public life.
Today education is man’s most valuable asset in the face of an uncertain future. Growing competition in the labor market, structural changes in industry associated with the liquidation of entire industries and the closure of a large number of enterprises, the military reform, as a result of which a huge number of military personnel are forced to acquire a new profession, have the most negative impact on the fate of people, lead to increased social tension and instability in society. No social payments of severance pay, no matter how great they may be, can give a person the most important thing – confidence in the future. Only continuous improvement of general and specialized knowledge, an established service of professional orientation for retraining, the availability of evening and correspondence forms of education for everyone will allow people to change their profession and place of work at the lowest cost in case of unfavorable circumstances. This will also give everyone the opportunity to realize the talents and inclinations of their nature to the fullest.
The combination of high technology and education worthy of them are one of the main prerequisites for a sharp increase of economic power of the state, and consequently, for the welfare of people.
As for the economic aspects of the peaceful use of the nuclear-missile potential, the following can be noted. Today the idea that strategic weapons, which according to the START-2 treaty must be half destroyed, will not be destroyed, but used in global space projects looks like a fantasy. In the meantime, if one thinks seriously, it becomes clear that this is not a crimson idea, but a natural one. Indeed, Russia and some CIS countries have created the world’s most powerful production of fissile materials and nuclear charges of various types, nuclear space power plants and engines, rockets and spacecraft, powerful radar stations, there are achievements in the field of precision weapons. Combined with human resources potential, including scientific potential, this constitutes the most powerful factor in the development of all civilizations. Suffice it to recall that the needs of these very industries caused the scientific and technological revolution that has defined the face of the modern world. Huge reserves of “specific” goods – missiles and weapon-grade uranium – have been accumulated.
Could it be that a reasonable owner, who had invested trillions in this physical capital but was deprived of a market because of the lopsided view of such technical means only as an extreme world danger, would not try to change the situation and create a corresponding market? This cannot be the case! Politicians, above all, need to understand this, because there is a fundamental opportunity for change, in which the whole world community would have an interest.
By demonstrating wisdom and goodwill on the issue of rational use of nuclear potential the international community will have a chance to start creating an effective shield protecting the mankind from many global threats, including such asteroid danger. And for Russia and the CIS countries, their economies and technical potential, this is a chance to enter the third millennium with dignity, providing their peoples with welfare and confidence in the future.