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    Missile Defense

Nazi engineer and Disney space advisor Wernher Von Braun helped give us rocket science. Today, the legacy of military aeronautics has many manifestations from SDI to advanced ballistic missiles. Now there is a controversial push for a new missile defense system. What will be the role of missile defense in the new geopolitical climate and in the new scientific era?

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rshowalt - 12:46pm Sep 28, 2000 EDT (#328 of 396)

The references above are great, sobering references.

In The Bomb and Civilization (1945) , Bertrand Russell said this:

(Lunarchick #321)

"It is impossible to imagine a more dramatic and horrifying combination of scientific triumph with political and moral failure than has been shown to the world in the destruction of Hiroshima."

Soon enough, more dramatic and more horrifying combinations of the same kind occurred. There is now a string of them. We've made a "doomsday machine" for the whole world - a machine that serves no good purpose.

In the reference to the "Prisoner's Dilemma" (#317) one thing seems obvious - some games are too dangerous to be worth playing. They should be avoided. Nuclear war, no game, is like that. The more one sees about human behavior (Milgram etc) and sees about the limits of our understanding of human behavior, the more uncertain and risky that game appears.

The Cold War ought to be over. We should get rid of all nuclear weapons, outlaw them, and explain the terrible reality of these weapons so that they aren't made or used again. It seems to me that we can do this.

rshowalt - 01:27pm Sep 28, 2000 EDT (#329 of 396)

I'll work through the references carefully, Lunarchick, but the first one seemed to me unrealistic - and especially this - it said "never threaten an opponent" ...


All the negotiations I've ever been in, or learned about, involved all sorts of threats and bluffs. I think our pruderies here are DANGEROUS, because they make hypocrites of us all, and get us into infantile absurdities. DANGEROUS absurdities when consequences are serious, and fears run high.

If I can be dismissed, if I'm called a "liar" what functional social actor can be left standing? It is like being dismissed for the crime of having red blood.

I wouldn't want to be anywhere near a human being who wasn't a reasonably accompished "liar" - how would I talk to him, or how would anybody else do so? Example - many of the social graces are deceptive -- who doubts it?

If "he threatened me" is a cause for horror, how are we to look straight at our ordinary lives, including very many aspects of our lives that are entirely satisfactory? (In my experience, well married couples can and do threaten each other, in quite credible ways, all the time. It is often a joy to see. But the threats are real, and genuine pain can occur very quickly if a well married husband crosses a competent wife. Are the couples other people know so different from the ones I know?)

I think, in nuclear arms talks, for example, we should tell very many fewer lies - but a major step would be to see how central deception, and manipulation, are in human behavior. We need some perspective, and some accounting about means and ends, and sequences. Very many conversations, that arrive at truth, have indirect or deceptive aspects as essential parts of their focusing.

Bill Clinton is an accomplished, gifted liar. Most times, according to counts I can put together, he lies in a good cause, and at the end of the day, a true social interaction system comes out of his negotiating efforts. I think that kind of "lying" is glorious, and he couldn't do it without being a first rate negotiating lawyer-leader. Our country runs better because of many such successful efforts.

If I had a negotiation to get done, and Clinton was in practice, and I could afford to, I'd hire him in a minute. The business people I know well would too, I believe.

I'm sure there are times when Clinton lies, as others do, for less admirable reasons. Just like everybody else I know well enough to judge. Like everybody else, he should be held responsible. But only with the same sense of proportion reasonably applied to others. By ordinary standards, I think he's paid his dues in full, except for one issue that I won't mention here, that I hope he thinks about.

I think the people who hound him about his lies often do so, not because they are so bad in context, but because they are handles to get at him, to punish him for the good things he's done.

I think this country would run better, if more people could do, and could appreciate, the kind of leadership Clinton shows as he gets people out of unworkable, conflicted positions into patterns that actually work.

If you look at movies (I have CASABLANCA in mind) and look at the manipulation and deception that fills their dramas, much of it very graceful, the question arises - to what end were the little and large deceptions put and at the end of the day, was the result worthy, and conducive to straight dealing, or was it not?

I think Clinton passes a lot of tests that I wish Americans passed more often.

lunarchick - 09:21pm Sep 28, 2000 EDT (#330 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !

lunarchick - 11:17pm Sep 28, 2000 EDT (#331 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !


lunarchick - 11:21pm Sep 28, 2000 EDT (#332 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !

    Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)
    The present situation in which the superpowers have the ability to inflict an unacceptable degree of damage upon each other even after absorbing a first strike; a condition which deters both sides from initiating hostilities.

lunarchick - 11:37pm Sep 28, 2000 EDT (#333 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !

    'The clunky, traditional army designed to counter invading communist hordes is being replaced by a fast, light, and dangerous reaction force. Unmanned tanks, robot pilots, and bunker-penetrating missiles are the warriors of the future. The 30 days needed for a U.S. Army deployment, the then-tough standard set by the Gulf War, is to be reduced to 96 hours. Four teams led by consortiums of various military-industrial and academic giants (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Northrup Grumman, Carnegie Mellon) are drafting competing concepts for development. It's a big-brain science fair, with the future of military philosophy at stake.'

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