I know we did this last week, and nobody wants to do it again, but Seikai Suru Kado insists, so we’ve got to talk about it: it’s the UN again. Unless things have drastically changed between the present and the day a giant alien cube lands in Japan, there’s no such as the ‘UN military’. Sure, there’s a the peacekeeping force, the guys in blue helmets who get shot at in movies, but that’s the purview of the General Assembly, not the Security Council. Indeed, if the Security council wanted to use its teeth, it’d probably just be licensing individual member states to take action. Read: NATO will go bomb Japan, I guess. And even then, in the real world I assure you’d there would be more than just a protest demanding the government submit to the UN. There would certainly be a similarly sized protest with signs saying, ‘To hell with the UN’.
But then even if everybody is scared of the Wam, I find it a bit hard to believe that the entire world is so gung-ho about bringing the hammer down on Japan so easily. In a story that makes such a big about negotiators and negotiations, one may have imagined that we would have seen some of that between Japan and the other world powers. Instead, it seems that it’s all an unilateral exercise, with the Security Council treating Japan as a rogue state from the get-go. I mean, even North Korea gets a visit from a Clinton once in a while, but Japan? Apparently, nobody wants to talk to them, and if Wam are really more dangerous than nuclear weapons (and I suppose they are, being of infinite potential and all), then perhaps a round of appeasement would not be uncalled for. No, perhaps I nitpick, but the immediate sanctions seem both excessive and unrealistic. I mean, a freeze of assets of all Japanese individuals? That is, frankly, ridiculous, and any negotiator worth their salt knows that’s a bluff. Such a freeze would mean a global economic crash then and there. True, Japan is no USA nor China, but they’re still nominally the third largest economy in the world as of the time of writing. Almost 6% of the world’s GDP. And I’m sure there are many interest groups in politics and business that would rather not see all that shut down. The global economy is interconnected. Such unprecedented sanctions would very much be cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, and then the face will be free to invent a brand new economy for itself on the back of infinite energy, anyway.
In short, I don’t completely buy it. It feels, to me, that Kado is being rather heavy handed here, perhaps over eagre to turn Japan into a pariah in its story. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s just building on the ‘humanity is terrible’ guilt trip that it’s been stringing along. Let me play devil’s advocate and be apologist for humanity (since humanity apparently needs an apologist these days). There’s a lot of talk in Kado about how Wam is just a tool, and if humanity makes a mess of it then it’s all our own damn fault. Is it entirely? Is Za really, entirely blameless? That’s a large concession to make to an alien with inscrutable motives. Sure, he talks about possibilities, of differing opinions, and of finding the right answer, but the ball’s actually in his court a lot, isn’t it? He’s the one with the secrets to the Wam. He’s the one who insisted an open media conference, and then when then later decides, nah, let’s actually have private meetings instead. Za wants, Za gets.
Za wants to spread Wam to the world (by giving it to only Japan? Wah?), and perhaps we should have been given more time to think about whether we want to do that, and the best way to do it. Because, really, technology and society need time to catch up to each other. We’re still grappling with the implications of nuclear power today, and now suddenly Wam, named after the appropriate sound effect. Just a tool? Perhaps. But nitroglycerin is a tool as well, and we at least put on a pair of safety goggles before playing around with it. Not for Wam, it seems. Let’s just do it and see what happens: said the generals ordering their troops to merrily stroll across the Somme.
Perhaps it is the case that saying Za did something wrong to humanity by spreading Wam is rude and arrogant. Still, let’s not say there’s no responsibility here. When one drops a pebble into a pond, does one blame the water for rippling? And to say that Za did something right to humanity is rude and arrogant, too.