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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?
(638 previous messages)
- 06:44pm Feb 1, 2001 EST (#639
Public Lives: Helping Spend a Mogul's Money to Reduce Nuclear
Risk By STEVEN LEE MYERS The New York Times Jan
29, 2001 includes these passages:
It is a measure of Sam Nunn and his bipartisan standing in
military affairs that his name was broadly bandied about last year
as a potential secretary of defense — for either Al Gore or George
W. Bush. . . . . . .
As it was, Mr. Nunn landed an appointment of another sort —
but one that is very likely keep him at the center of what may be
the most pressing national security issue confronting the government
Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, announced here this month that
he was donating $250 million to bankroll an organization devoted to
stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons and named Mr. Nunn as
its chairman and chief executive officer.
. . . ..
What Mr. Nunn and Mr. Turner have in mind is, in many ways, a
private extension of a program that Mr. Nunn and Senator Richard G.
Lugar, Republican of Indiana, began a decade ago to help Russia and
other states of the former Soviet Union dismantle their nuclear
Since 1992, the United States has spent some $5 billion to
destroy Soviet-era weapons and to tighten control over those still
in the Russian stockpile.
"There's a huge threat out there," Mr. Nunn said of the risks
of accidental or terrorist use of nuclear weapons. "It's been there
since 1989, 1990, 1991.
"The United States has done far more than anybody else," Mr.
Nunn continued, "but there is still a large gap between the threat
and the response, and it will be that gap we'll be looking to
But Republicans angered by Russian arms sales to Iran have in
recent years tried to cut the financing for the Nunn-Lugar program —
or to use it as leverage against the Russian government.
"It's not in our interest for their infrastructure to be such
that they can't maintain their warning systems and can't tell the
difference between a flock of geese and a ballistic missile," Mr.
Nunn said of the Russian arsenal. "That's as much our problem as
. . . . . . . . .
(Nunn's)great-uncle, Carl Vinson, was a representative from
Georgia who through the 1950's and early 1960's was the foremost
military authority in the House and whose name was given to one of
the nation's 12 aircraft carriers.
Mr. Nunn went to work for Mr. Vinson after completing law
school in 1962, and in the House and then the Senate he followed in
the same footsteps, eventually having just as much influence as
chairman of the Senate's Armed Services Committee.
He traces what he calls his "obsession with risk reduction" to
a trip to Europe as a senator in the 1970's when a sergeant pulled
him aside and warned him about lax security and discipline at an
American nuclear weapons base. "You multiply that post-Vietnam
period by a factor of at least 100," he said, "and that is what the
Russians are going through today."
Mr. Turner approached Mr. Nunn last year, prompted by his own
worries about the slow decay of Russia's weapons industry.
They make an odd couple.
Mr. Turner is a media mogul, a philanthropist and, when it
comes to politics, a leftist who advocates the abolition of nuclear
weapons. Mr. Nunn, by contrast, has changed little since the days in
the Senate. He is sober and deliberative, a Democrat but a Southern
"We talked in several different meetings, and it was apparent
we didn't have exactly the same views," Mr. Nunn said.
Over the year, though, Mr. Nunn oversaw a study outlining the
sorts of efforts Mr. Turner's money could buy.
He envisions, for example, helping the World Health
Organization finance a global early warning system for biological
crises, whether a natural outbreak or a terrorist
- 06:49pm Feb 1, 2001 EST (#640
Is nuclear disarmament something so far outside the real of the
possible so that it is kind of foolish to have a debate on
something you cant do anything about ?
No one need doubt the importance of dealing with the other clear
and present dangers.
But is nuclear disarmament - actually undiscussable, beyond
the pale? Plenty of able people, including senior military people,
favor nuclear disarmament Signatories
of the Global Security Institute appeal.
If more people were aware of how ugly the situation is, and if,
with dialog, more effective ways of proceeding with it were found,
there might be much to hope for from such a discussion. Good reason
for continuing the discussion.
The American people have changed their minds before. And so have
political leaders. If a clear majority of the American people saw a
workable, safe way of getting nuclear disarmament, it might well
Ideas can be influential. At times, they are the most powerful
influences on events.
I feel that it is reasonable, in a world where many things can
indeed be done at once, to have a careful, thoughtful debate about
nuclear disarmament. The administration is now betting on nuclear
defenses, and is being trusted provisionally by voters on the issue.
But the technical case that Star Wars schemes can actually work is
still a weak one, so their position is a precarious one.
Other things should be done as well.
But people should keep talking about nuclear disarmament. And
talking about the hard, careful persuasive jobs, and moral changes,
and practical arrangements, that would be required to make it
actually work, and actually happen.
- 06:57am Feb 2, 2001 EST (#641
The 'Spinifex People' lived in the desert where Australian
Nuclear Testing was carried out, in 1952 they were gathered up and
taken to a 'mission'. Leaving their natural life behind, alcohol
started to figure in their lives - together with the violence it
The Spinifex People started painting a few years ago and their
Elders put down on canvas their story which was used for a sucessful
land claim of Fifty Thousand Square miles ... their land was
returned to them, their culture and lifestyle. Missile and bomb
testing left them out of the wilderness for over half a century!
Sydney is currently hosting the exhibition of their art - much of
which is already sold. Big
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