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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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rshowalter - 01:17pm Feb 1, 2001 EST (#633 of 636) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Maybe people DO deserve a lot of congratulations, we should give those congratulations whole-heartedly, and look around for something less insanely dangerous, and stunningly ugly, than MAD.

Maybe something better could be worked out. Would that take a miracle? The sort of miracle it would take happens from time to time. People see an intolerable situation, based on old assumptions and much history, step back from it, and build something new that gets rid of the old horrors.

Given the history of nuclear weapons, and the record on human wisdom, maybe were alive now because of a series of not-so-little miracles - due to clear seeing, disciplined hard work by real people. Some notable ones by Senators Nunn and Lugar, helping the Russians maintain at least some reasonable safety in their nuclear arrangements. Maybe we need more miracles, in the same spirit.

The fact that Sam Nunn is now setting up an institution for controlling nuclear risk, funded by real money and a man of real genius, Ted Turner, is promising.

Something else is promising, it seems to me. Many of President Bushs people believe in redemption - the idea of a fresh start, a graceful new beginning. It is not only a religious notion.

The nuclear impasse, as a logical sequence built up over time, looks insoluble. Perhaps it is insoluble. That doesnt mean it isnt redeemable. In history, a lot of practical and hopeful things have become real. A lot of wrenching ugliness has been redeemed, for something new and better.

We need a mechanics of human grace.

I think nuclear weapons are unbearably ugly, with the moral and practical difficulties overwhelming ugliness carries. I think that if the problems were adressed by the governments involved, with priorities explicitly clear, accomodations much better than the present ones could be worked out.

Aesthetics is Important in Judging What Can be Improved - and when something is THIS ugly, maybe things could be improved

rshowalter - 01:19pm Feb 1, 2001 EST (#634 of 636) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

I think there's so much stupidity in the world, so much ineptness, and so many lies, that it CANNOT be true that "we live in the best of all possible worlds." Better solutions - sometimes HAVE to be possible. Especially on things that are so overwhelmingly ugly as the current nuclear impasse.

If only a missile defense was practical, I'd be for it. But I don't think it is. So I think we ought to look HARD for the "human miracles" that effective disarmament would take.

I happen to think that effective disarmament could be done, and that this administration is showing many of the negotiating skills, and moral patterns, that might be well suited to making it work - which would be a historical achievement.

rshowalter - 01:39pm Feb 1, 2001 EST (#635 of 636) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

We need solutions, to an ugly, emotion-laden, fear laden problem, that are redemptive and detonative in a technical sense. I discuss the notion of redemptive and detonative solutions in An Apology on the Brain Forum, describing a solution now in progress.


I believe that win-win resolutions are possible and that secular redemption is an entirely practical thing to work for.

Often, to get ideas to change, the analogy to explosives makes some sense. Here's a poem, that explains, using that analogy, the distinction between a fizzle and a detonation, in the propagation of ideas. Chain Breakers

rshowalter - 01:43pm Feb 1, 2001 EST (#636 of 636) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

If we are to find ways to eliminate nuclear weapons completely and safely, redemptive and detonative solutionts are going to have to be found. Too many able people of good faith have tried to make step by step negotiation, locked to history, workable, for optimism on breakthroughs using those techniques now.

But the world runs as well as it does, because, in all sorts of big and little ways, redemptive and detonative solutions are found, all over society, every day.

MOST of the things Americans do in their socio-technical systems work very well, because redemptive solutions are somehow worked out, on a practical, day to day basis, and the good ones spread and take hold.

I think we ought to look HARD for such solutions in the nuclear weapons field. Things now are so menacing and ugly that a search for beauty makes sense to me.

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