This is alien contact. Not first contact, but 153rd. You have just found our planet: you call it Kepler 62f, and, worse, call it “Earth-like”. What a self-centred species you are! We have observed your technological progress, seen how many times you have come close to killing yourselves, and decided to help. We are the World Leaders’ Counselling Service. You can talk to us about anything you like.
We are still not absolutely sure how we can help. We could introduce ourselves to you all, and invite you to join our civilisation. We are 12oo light years from you, which by sub-space transfer takes about a month. But we fear that you would be overawed by us, and merely start to imitate us. Your own unique character, your gift to Galactic civilisation, would be lost.
Or, we could give you presents of technology, toys from our attic which would change your world and enable you to exploit the whole of your star system. Seeing our superiority you would loathe us for withholding from you the greater part of our power, and you would have failed to learn the lessons of developing these things for yourselves. You would be spoiled.
We could intervene to prevent you from killing yourselves. With your thousand ICBMs you could kill yourselves many times over. Once we started to intervene in this way, however, there is no point where we should stop. If we saved your entire ecosphere, why should we not also save each innocent child killed in an accident? If we save a child from death, why should we not save an adult from the inconvenience, say, of missing a meeting? Again, you would be dependent upon us, with no need to take care of yourselves, and cease to be a separate species.
We have not predicted how your species will turn out. We have the power to model your planet, and predict what your species will achieve. But to produce an accurate model, we need to model each individual life form on your planet, and allow it to develop as it will. We could not distinguish the experience of the modelled life-form from that of the original, and therefore would be unable to dispose of these creatures: what right would we have to kill them?
Anything we can do has too great a risk of harming you.
So, we offer a listening ear. You can discuss anything you want with us. We will be the counsellor who will never supplant you, who can never be subverted or corrupted. If there is anything you would like to talk over with us, Mr Assad, please do not hesitate to call.
Endebted to Iain M Banks, David Brin, CS Lewis and others.