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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 04:30pm Mar 7, 2001 EST (#859 of 864) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

President Bush told President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea today that he would not resume negotiations with North Korea on missile talks anytime soon.

Sometimes, as C.P. Snow and others have pointed out, the results of "open politics" and "closed politics" are exactly opposite. Perhaps in some way, President Bush's apparent closing off of contact with North Korea involves action in the interest of national safety.

But the publicly apparent result seems unfortunate.

We are told that the United States and South Korea are "at sharp odds over how to deal with the communist regime" of North Korea.

Could it be that the Bush administation is acting responsibly? If so, the responsible conduct is secret.

The word "treat" -- so problematic and ill defined in these affairs, seems problematic again here:

" Mr. Bush told the South Korean leader, who is preparing to sign his own peace declaration with the North, that the United States still regards the North Korean regime as a threat. "

Why can't nation states that are a "threat" to each other negotiate with each other. Isn't this the usual reason for negotiations. Isn't distrust natural, even obligatory in such affairs, especially when nuclear weapons are involved?

Naturally, unless ways to CHECK can be negotiated, uncertainties, and fear of deceptions, are inescapable military realities.

President Bush asks:

``When you make an agreement with a country that is secretive, how are you aware as to whether or not they are keeping the terms of the agreement?''

Can't this question be reasonably applied to ANY militarily competent nation state.

Isn't the United States "secretive" in the senses that matter here.

Shouldn't distrust be assumed , and the consequences dealt with? I've suggested just this, on a larger scale disarmament issue (#266, this thread.)

Mr. Kim said he would continue his efforts to open up North Korea but South Korea ``will consult with the United States every step of the way so that the progress in South-North Korean relations serves the interests of our two countries.'' Wouldn't removal of the nuclear threat from North Korea serve our interest?

One wonders what can be served by closing off negotiations pursuing that end.

Perhaps the Bush administration is not closing off negotiations, but is simply taking time, as of course it must, to understand its situation.

President Kim fears that

A hard line from Washington, he fears, could prompt a similarly tough backlash from the North Korean military, which has been skeptical of the openings to South Korea, Japan and the West.

That would be unfortunate, counterproductive behavior on both sides.

Could it be that President Bush has committed his own legitimacy, and the legitimacy of the Republican party, to Missile Defense? Has he done so to such an extent that practical alternatives, that reduce risk much more effectively than Missile Defense possibly can in the next eight years, have to be rejected.?

If so, it seems bad judgement, against the interest of the nation, against the interests of his party, and, it would seem to me, against his own.

I'm sure there must be another explanation.

lunarchick - 06:17pm Mar 7, 2001 EST (#860 of 864)

Is there a line between foreign policy (who holds office for making this?) and military policy (who holds office for making this?) in the US?

Noted somewhere that the Nuclear policy has cost the USA 1/3rd of annual budget, annually. This is hard to figure ... when it's merely been a curatorship policy over a museum of 'big guns' .. so to speak. Anyone done an AUDIT on how these $'s got spent?

almarstel2001 - 06:32pm Mar 7, 2001 EST (#861 of 864)

"It is surely an ugly situation, and disproportionate, when the U.S. has to be so afraid of a nation as small and weak as North Korea."

The problem is - US does not repect any other nation on this planet.

It was US that invided and killed millons of South Asians - not the other way around!

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