When two tribes go to war

This promotional video of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song, Two Tribes, imagines the, then current, leaders of America and Russia slugging it out in a dusty ring. After I saw it, this ‘joke’ resonated with me for a long time as a dream of extreme democracy.

Here’s the dream.

If the leader of any country in the world had a particular beef with the leader from another country then instead of the usual stupidity of declaring war on the other country, they would be obliged to resolve the dispute personally in unarmed combat.

The fight would take place in a cage measuring fifteen feet by fifteen feet and the combatants would be completely naked. The bout would be televised and the full reality of war in all its disgusting, biting, scratching, hair-pulling, bloody depravity, would be visible for all to see. The winner of the contest (either a fight to the death or until one cried submission) would be deemed to have won the war and the people of the losing side would be obliged to give up their oil, nuclear weapons, terrorist activities or whatever.

Of course, if the people objected to losing the war, they could always refuse to participate and instead, put up memorials to their fallen leaders and have special commemorative days to celebrate their futile but honourable sacrifice for their overtly territorial and political ambitions. Then the people would carry on as normal.

Any elected leader of any country in the world would be obliged to abide by this convention, which would be enforced ruthlessly by the people of that country. Failure to abide by the convention would result in the leader being sent white feathers through the post by anonymous senders before they were humiliated in court and eventually imprisoned.

Imagine for a moment how such a reality would affect politics.

Firstly, you would deter the worst possible people who had the worst possible motives for wanting power. Secondly, the leaders of any country would have to be sure of their fitness, both in their physical condition and in their ability to think rationally. All political posturing in their rhetoric would have to be carefully considered in case their bluff is called and they are required to back up their words with physical force. You would end up with either a giant for a leader or a philosopher.

Either way, it’s got to be better than the system we have today.

4 Responses to “When two tribes go to war”

  1. Imran Ali says:

    There was a Star Trek episode that explored this very notion… including its downside (millions of people randomly euthanised as “casualties” by a war simulating computer!). Get yourself a copy of “A Taste Of Armageddon”… (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Taste_of_Armageddon and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4Wn2wlOwSU)

  2. I like the idea but wouldn’t we just have boxers and cage fighters in politics? They’d win ‘wars’ but little else. Making politicians more involved in war should stop them jumping at it as much though. We haven’t had a leader involved directly in battle since (I think) Richard III. Now it’s lads of estates who go get blown up.

  3. Ivor Tymchak says:

    Thanks for visiting, John.

    You forget that the electorate decides who gets into power; you might be Hulk but can you add up? The idea is to discourage power hungry opportunists seeking office and to encourage rational, empathic leaders who will negotiate an issue rather than risk their lives in unarmed combat. It is simply too easy in today’s world to distance oneself from the realities of things. That cheap item of clothing, for example, doesn’t readily convey the children and the sweat shops behind its making.

  4. Ivor Tymchak says:

    Thanks, Imran. I remember seeing that episode and Kirk’s outrage at the lack of blood and gore… Paradoxically, didn’t he threaten the people with something if they didn’t revert back to proper weapons? OK, he meant well, but sometimes I find Star Trek too emotionally human for its own good!

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