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Sub rescue exemplifies international cooperation - Ed Brock

This recent rescue of a Russian submarine and its crew of seven is a good example of the gradual melting of national boundaries.

For the ill-informed among you, on Friday the Russian mini-sub AS-28 became entangled in a fishing net, or an underwater antenna depending on what story you hear, and became stuck about 600 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. This occurred off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula on Russia's far eastern coast.

As a side note, I've flown over the peninsula several times on my various trips to Japan that is just south of Kamchatka.

Anyway, shortly after the accident happened the Russians sent out a world-wide appeal for help. This was a great step forward for them. In 2000 when the nuclear submarine Kursk went down they delayed asking for help and thus all 118 sailors died.

That was just typical of the old way of doing things in Russia. But unlike what would have occurred under the Communist regime, the Kursk incident led a lot of Russians, especially the families of the dead sailors, to kick up a fuss.

So, America, Britain and Japan start rushing to the aid of the AS-28 as the sailors oxygen began running low. On Sunday the British got to play the role of hero when their remote-controlled Super Scorpio device cut the Russian sub free of its entanglement.

All seven sailors are fine.

Now, apart from the fact that this story is just prime Hollywood material, it illustrates a trend of cooperation among nations that must continue.

Russia is a superpower, albeit one that has fallen on hard times. As the Kursk incident shows, they have a hard time admitting they can't handle a situation.

But there are situations that even the strongest nation cannot handle, even the United States. A major meteor strike or a large pandemic, for example, would be more than we could handle on our own.

Thus we form alliances that allow us to seek help from those we trust. And that's the catch, being able to trust our fellow man.

However, as a species we have to learn to do just that. It is the need for trust that necessitates the development of morality in human beings, but our individual moral concepts still have to be unified under one general concept.

We need each other, and when one person helps another, or one group helps another, they improve the chances that the person or group receiving the help will reciprocate.

Britain helps Russia, Russia remembers that later when England needs a hand. All the politics and artificial boundaries that separate the two nations should take a back seat to the imperative of reciprocation.

This weekend that imperative helped save the lives of seven Russians, but in the long term it also took humanity one step closer to functioning together as a united species.

It isn't a question of individual nations losing all autonomy. It's more a question of increasing the lines of trust between all nations so that they work together to resolve conflicts and deal with problems.

It's a dream, I know, but one we'd better realize if we want to survive as a species.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipal governments for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at ebrock@news-daily.com .