As I was flying into Minneapolis last week, the lady sitting next to me mentioned that while people often drive five miles over the speed limit in the northwest, they commonly drive 10-15 over the limit in Minneapolis. Not having driven in Minneapolis, I couldn’t vouch for the validity of her statement, but I’ll accept it at face value. But either situation is an example of pushing at a declared boundary.

In Washington state, the highway speed limits are typically 60 or 70 miles an hour. I know from past experience that the flow of traffic often clicks along above this speed, and the police do nothing to stop it. 65 and 75 have become the new boundaries for highway speed. If the Washington state troopers announced that they wouldn’t stop anyone doing 10 miles an hour over the speed limit or less, the new boundaries would become 70 and 80 miles an hour.

It’s not surprising that people often test and push at the boundaries placed on us. Anyone who has raised a child knows that they push at every boundary paced on them. They don’t do it to be bad, but because it is human nature to want to know our limits. And speaking of limits, President Obama will announce today a limit on the use of our nuclear weapons.

President Obama will today announce that he is to dramatically narrow the conditions under which the United States will use nuclear weapons, even for self-defence.

In an interview with The New York Times ahead of the unveiling of his much anticipated revamped nuclear policy, Mr Obama said an exception would be made for “outliers like Iran and North Korea” that have violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But in a striking departure from the position taken by his predecessors, he said that the US would explicitly commit for the first time to not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that adhere to the nuclear treaty, even if they attack with biological or chemical weapons.

What is the blindingly obvious response to this by terrorists and rogue states, including Iran and North Korea? If you say that they will test these new boundaries, you understand basic human nature. If they don’t already have plans in place for developing and deploying chemical and biological weapons against the U.S., they will be as soon as they read the news.

Terrorists and rogue states are anti-social children with rage issues, so of course they will push at any boundary given them. Since President Obama has two little girls of his own, I’m surprised that he doesn’t understand this aspect of human nature already.

UPDATE (4/9/2010 6:43:19 AM): And once again Michael Ramirez nails it:

Beware of Dog...   No more.

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