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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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lunarchick - 03:08pm Oct 28, 2000 EDT (#447 of 451)

The solutions for peace seem to be economic more so than nuclear destructive. I'll repost this:

lunarchick - 05:53pm Oct 26, 2000 EDT (#442 of 446)

sixty billion dollars ... did that relate to a loan to be taken out, or use of treasury surplus - -- if the latter ....

Raising the question as to how much world money (resources) are lodged with unacceptable nuclear systems.

Ought countries having such systems be made to show a certificate of insurance that would adequately compensate anyone affected by their use (the premiums would be such that the missiles would have to be dismantled).

Might a 'Quality' star rating system be used to show 'good' use of public revenue and 'bad' use of the same. Missiles would rate on the downside.

The worry with Nuclear is the failure to allocate 'responsibility'. Compare the Report on Mad Cow (via BBC or regarding who of the 'camel committee' community does have responsibility for their actions.

rshowalter - 07:31pm Oct 28, 2000 EDT (#448 of 451)
Robert Showalter

Lunarchick's exactly right about economic arguments, if only they were applied. People seem to be so traumatized by nuclear weapons, and seem so willing to consider them in isolation from everything else they know, that these grossly intolerable weapons are somehow tolerated.

Any rational accounting of these weapons, economically, makes it clear that they should be taken down.

Any rational accounting of these weapons, morally, indicates that people are being grossly irresponsible about them, and have a clear duty to find ways to take them down.

The problem is that rationality has failed, on this subject, for a long time. People have to somehow come to the wrenching decision that nuclear weapons are real, that they actually do what, at some levels, everybody knows they do.

If that sense of reality could be imparted, which would require persuasive power, then these weapons would be taken down pretty quickly. In the CNN documentary, REHEARSING ARMAGEDDON it was abundantly clear that the people in the business of firing these weapons, on both the U.S. and the Russian side, would love to take (at least most of them) down, if only they were ordered to do so. The procedures for taking down the warheads have been in place for a long time, and the takedown could happen safely, quickly, and in a well documented fashion if the political will for nuclear disarmament actually existed in the United States. That will has long existed in the Soviet Union.

rshowalt - 04:09am Oct 29, 2000 EDT (#449 of 451) Delete Message

That will long existed in the Soviet Union, and that will remains in Russia today. The continuity between the military of Russia today, and the military of the Soviet Union, is well nigh total.

rshowalt - 04:12am Oct 29, 2000 EDT (#450 of 451) Delete Message

The problems of the nuclear terror are partly logical, and the logical part of the problem is an essential part. All involved have misjudged the proper use of threats, feeling that the more threat, the safer. Exactly the opposite is the case. Too much threat elicits deeply instinctual, extrarational fight responses that are terribly dangerous in a nuclear context. Threats need to be proportionate, not maximal. The spiraling mazimization of threat in the nuclear area, mostly motivated by American action, has brought us to the current impasse. The U.S. and Russia, each very unhappy with the situation, but coordinating together under a logical misconception, have built arsenals that, if they fire, will destroy human life.

That mistake of fact can be dealt with by evidence and logic. I stand ready to bear a hand there, if permitted.

But an essential problem, that is extralogical, is that the nuclear impasse is a deeply emotional issue, that has involved the deepest, most primordial survival emotions and instincts of all concerned. For this reason, the "rational" approach is entirely insufficient to motivate action. People are scared of nuclear weapons. I've been so scared of them, for so long, that nothing else scares me very much anymore. But any serious thought of nuclear weapons wrenches me with fear.

I believe that it is an entirely rational fear.

To take down nuclear weapons, we have to give emotional reassurance, we have to come to redemptive solutions that work for people. We have to be humane enough to see that, as animals, we're afraid when we're anywhere near nuclear weapons. Our take down procedures have to deal with this absolutely unchangeable fear and consequent distrust.

I made a proposal to deal with these emotions, that I believe is entirely workable, that now has some support and that has now had some careful discussion. That proposal has some of the essential limitations that I myself have - it may be right as far as it goes, but it is too stark, too disconnected from the full panoply of human emotions and association. Even if it is right, subjectively it is "too simple." Those are all objections that apply to me, and the best work I can do.

Still, I think it is right. It was set out in this thread, in #266-269, which starts Ridding the world of nuclear weapons, this year or next year. What would have to happen? rshowalt 9/25/00 7:32am

What is needed, to make the proposal real, is the association of artists, literary and religious people, people of business, and, most of all, journalists in contact with society, so that this stark structure can be made humanly real.

Doing so might change my stark proposal beyond recognition, though I think it would not. Any changes needed, to fit the needs of nuclear weapon take down to the emotional-intellectual needs of real people, would have to be worked out.

In my view, as of now, the survival of the word (and yes, that's what I think is at stake) depends on problems of persuasion that are quite beyond me, but not beyond some of the readers of these threads.

jorian_s - 02:51pm Oct 29, 2000 EDT (#451 of 451)

I heard a bigwig Islamic Fundamentalist guy from Pakistan explaining how "God ordered us to build nuclear weapons."

I hope He doesn't accidentally hint that maybe they should start using them ...

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