It seems that the world political climate has become more complicated in recent years. The cold war era was, at least on the surface, a simpler time, where allegiances were well defined and influence came in the form of tanks on the ground and missiles on the wait. Today economic considerations carry just as much weight as those missiles and in case you relaxed a bit, those missiles are held in more hands and under much less scrutiny. Keeping everyone happy has become the name of the game. President Obama is reaching out to the Russians this week with a proposal to scale back plans for a missile defense shield in Europe. It drives home an important point: The Russians and the Chinese are still two countries we must consider carefully when making world political decisions. They also represent a group of nations that would bear careful consideration in an alien First Contact situation.
I have made a proposal in this blog for a type of First Contact event that relies heavily on a free and competitive television news media. I think it is the most secure and efficient way to reach the entire world with the same message: Hello. There is only one nation on Earth that has the media technology, number of media sources and the competitiveness needed to pull this off. Still, having a First Contact event in the United States poses many world political problems, among them how we keep other powerful countries calm and content. For this reason I have proposed a fly-over of sorts, assuming of course that extraterrestrials arrive in a craft able to quickly travel through Earth atmosphere. I know this is a bit of a stretch. There is certainly a possibility that an alien craft would be purely a landing vehicle, not capable of maneuvering much in Earth atmosphere. There are a million other scenarios that would also obviate this plan: a robot probe, beings that transported to Earth while leaving a craft in Earth orbit etc.
No matter what the scenario it will be critical that First Contact involve the entire world. I propose an alien flyover of some key nations and key areas for one major reason: it brings a wider world population into the fold. It also takes the spotlight off the United States. A news media announcement of First Contact can reach the entire world population quickly. However, direct contact, even in the form of a flyover, will have a much stronger effect. I propose a flyover lasting a day or two that covers the Earth. Certainly that can’t include every country, but it might be able to include every continent, several key countries and perhaps just as importantly the cultural capitols of many different ethnic groups. It would be critical to have some flyover of an Islamic nation, a Latin American nation etc. The idea is to promote inclusion through a dramatic, visual event. That flyover would attract world attention and bring home the most important message: This is a welcome extended to everyone on planet Earth.
There are certainly many possible drawbacks. Such a flight could inspire fear and provoke military reaction. It could also be dangerous, as many civilian and military aircraft converge on the alien craft. Still, with proper planning, and a close watch over public reaction, a flyover of key nations could work. It would bring the world closer together and set the tone for a new era of world cooperation.
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