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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

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evenbetta - 05:51pm Jul 7, 2000 EST (#147 of 11858)

By perusing a concept that attempts to survive nuclear warfare you give nuclear warfare a ‘chance’. That ‘chance’ of survival destroys the very essence of the worldwide deterrence model. That is why the international community has overwhelmingly tipped the scales in opposition to this system. That is why SALT I and the ABM protocols exist between the two largest nuclear powers. Deployment of such a system embraces the theoretical perspective of Nuclear Utilization Theory. It may not be the intent of those who deploy-but every rational state views the system as a total embrace of a theory designed to win a nuclear war. That perspective (NUTS)(grin) implies that not only will nuclear war be fought-but it mussed be fought to survive and win. In such a pursuit, you lower conventional warfare thresholds and lower the crossover points at which conventional conflict goes into nuclear conflict. This is due to the very fact that one has added a chance to something in which no chance existed prior. You cannot posture yourself against the irrational actor- the minority of this world. Doing so only requires the majority if this world (rational actors) to balance against your own actions. You cannot thwart the irrational actor because the irrational actor has no limits or boundaries. The very name implies that the irrational actor is impossible to deter. As noted by the CIA of May 19th 00, the terminology of ‘rogue’ state has no significant in the course of debate regarding missile deference because ‘rouge’ implies that such states are irrational and every state America has labeled rouge is rational. The rational/irrational actor model is core issue regarding deterrence. As the CIA pointed out, rouge state has ‘more political significance then true value to the structure of deterrence’. In short the largest nuclear power embarking on the deployment of a system designed to survive nuclear strikes creates the impetus for every rational actor, depost to allie to do the same. All at varying levels of technological development all at varying levels of effiencey. In doing so-you destroy nuclear deterrence-the very concept that has maintained no use of nuclear weapons against states since 1945. If one recalls our operational experience in Desert Storm is that while missile defense did not work very well, deterrence did work very well. Saddam Hussein had poison gas-tipped Scuds that were available for launch at the time of the war, and he did not use them. Subsequently, after the U.S. military interrogated some defectors and some captured Iraqi leaders, it became clear why not: Saddam Hussein did not want to get blown up. Before the war, the United States, Britain, France and Israel had all stated, both publicly and privately, that if he was the first to use weapons of mass destruction, he would not be the last to use weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein and his kindred despots in other countries that we are worried about have not survived for extended periods of time by being stupid or careless. They are ruthless and cruel and sometimes reckless, but they don't remain in power, despite our repeated attempts in the case of Saddam Hussein to dislodge him, by being careless about the survival of their regime. Saddam Hussein understood very well that if he initiated the use of weapons of mass destruction, our retaliation would annihilate his regime. So the notion that missile defense is the only bulwark we have against weapons of mass destruction attacks from these regimes simply flies in the face of our actual experience, in which deterrence has worked very well and missile defense has not worked very well at all.

mhunter20 - 08:34am Jul 8, 2000 EST (#148 of 11858)


A rigged test fails again. 60 billion here - 60 billion there, soon your talking real money.

palousereader - 09:31am Jul 8, 2000 EST (#149 of 11858)

evenbetta, all you say may be true if we are the only ones with shields- once again, I advocate a shared development, shared costs, and assuming the technology ever works, shared deployment schedules; so we, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, the EU, (do you see how long this list is now..and how long it will be by the time deployment could ever take place) all set up shields at the same time. Make no mistake- you can't put these defense ideas or the ability of other countries to develop their own shields- back in a bottle. Any more than you can put GM seeds and their potential for good and evil, back in a bottle. We need to deal with it, control it- out in the open.

You are correct in your description of national outrage and the animal urge to strike back; have felt it myself. But we did get a handle on it during the Iraq war and China did the same after the bombing of their embassy in the latest Kosovo war. Needs work, for sure.

In your Country A/B scenario, you stop short of the reactions of other nations after we obliterate Country A (aka, N Korea)- carry it on out to its MAD conclusion- we all die. Kind of like the movie, War Games- we are learning that you can not win this game. To prevent us playing- we all need shields. Then we can play another game- maybe checkers.

I see we will never reach a meeting of the minds on this issue so will leave off here; perhaps in the limited discussion we at least bring out all the fears, all the thinking- something that the leaders of the world need to do. Diplomacy has its benefits but maybe all the leaders should get together and spend a few days with a giant world map and toy missles. Then give every country a toy shield; see which provides greater protection. Or maybe they will finally, finally realize.. what?

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