Honors World History II
April 28, 2002
An End to the Plague
When gazing upon our scientific accomplishments in the past century, it seems as if we have almost annihilated every problem that has ever plagued. We have completely rid ourselves of the mass killers such as plague, polio, and smallpox, and we are also able to cure almost any bacteriological infection by administering our modern day antibiotics. However, in the process of our scientific search to create the cures for our great troubles, we have overlooked the most lethal and uncontrollable of agents. As humans, we are the only destructive force left in this world to which there is no cure and can never be a cure. In essence, we have reached the vertex point on the science parabola, for we have reached the point where our science and technology is so advanced that it ricochets at us, breeding a bacterium immune to any of our treatments. The only positive side of this matter is the fact that unlike all other inanimate and silent killers, humankind is a problem with which one is able to correspond and reason. In other words, we and we alone must learn to control ourselves in order to save all of humanity from complete obliteration. It is in regards to this hope that any chance for survival is possible. In order to succeed in this task, we must believe that all of reasoning mankind can be convinced to realize and understand that in the case of another World War, there would be no winner! Mankind must also understand that with the possession of great amounts of horrific weapons, we carry the awesome liability of an “accident” occurring. Yet in this case, even the smallest accident would undoubtedly begin World War III. The culmination of these factors point to the present day as a perfect time to rid us of the burdens involved in possessing such destructive weapons. Yet we must also take into account another great and decisive factor which plays a role in this discussion. In the peaceful process of choosing to eliminate their weapons, every nation is only concerned with its own well being. Greed and desire lead us to care for a more powerful role and a better economical standing in accordance to the international standards rather than the well being of an entire race. Due to this factor in our human nature, the US must chose one of two ways to approach the elimination goal. They may either spend billions if not trillions of dollars trying to appease every nation (with this choice, the process to eliminate weapons will take centuries), or they may choose a far more practical approach which would level the ground for all countries. By eliminating the choice of non-cooperation, the US will not only be able to save money and hundreds of years worth of debate, but will also successfully eliminate all worldly threats from countries supporting massively destructive weapons.
Although biological warfare has been used since medieval times, technological breakthroughs in efficiently administering toxins occurred during the First World War along with production of chemical weapons. Biological toxins are usually different from chemicals in the fact that microorganisms are living. Biological warfare agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living microorganisms that cause damage to a person’s external and internal functions. Even as early as the 14th century, “plague-infected cadavers purportedly were catapulted into an enemy camp in the Russian Crimea” (Cole, Leonard A.). Even in colonial America, the British delivered blankets from their smallpox infirmary to the Native Americans in hopes of infecting them. Yet in the 20th century, when warfare advanced itself into a new era, biological threats were able to be harnessed into containers and even warheads so as to be more easily and effectively delivered. Yet while in the past, biological weapons have a very small term effect, in today’s world, we have the possibility of