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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?
(892 previous messages)
- 01:30pm Mar 9, 2001 EST (#893
All concerned ought to be able to do MUCH better than we're
It should also be possible, without too much courage, for us
to keep from continuing the wrenchingly dangerous technical
mistakes, involving our nuclear weapons and controls, which, if
nothing is done, WILL in my opinion probably destroy the world.
American forces are as good as they are - and as predominant as
they are -- and as an American citizen, considering the conventional
forces, I'm not unhappy --- I wish these conventional forces were
militarily much better, as a matter of fact.
But there are severe limits to what can be done with military
power -- and the US is being clobbered, humiliated, charged
unfairly, and made ridiculous in all sorts of ways (even as our
actions disserve the rest of the world) because we try to use
military force where it doesn't work.
Nuclear force is essentially always unusable (and a menace and a
corrupting influence in other ways.)
There are big limits to what you can do with conventional forces,
too. President Bush and many of his advisors know them, and so do
But our military forces, well used, and in coordination with the
forces of other nations, some of them "enemies" in other ways, CAN,
with diplomacy, do a servicible job of stepping away from world
destruction. -- We CAN make the use of nuclear weapons unlikely - a
risk, at worst, not greater than the risk mankind faces from
reasonably frequent natural disasters.
We don't have any viable choice, but to do so.
- 02:53pm Mar 9, 2001 EST (#894
As long as some countries are villing to enforce their will on
others using the military force - and US is one of the first among
them, there will be need for a small country to defend itself
against overhelming US conventional power. It is up to US and other
great powers to demonstrate their absolute rejection of all military
means against others except for the pure self-defence. Untill then,
how can we blaim others who not only have to fight the terrorists
(frequently armed and supported by those great powers and again,
primerely US), they also have to defend themselv against those same
powers commiting the open aggression like we have seen in
What option do they have other then capitulation before US
pressure or having the Nukes to prevent such aggression?
- 04:21pm Mar 9, 2001 EST (#895
[note: character space link = hot link]
- 04:23pm Mar 9, 2001 EST (#896
almarstel2001 , you're right that there will always
be a need for a small country to defend itself.
All nation states have to be able to defend themselves, and
all have reason to be afraid. That includes the United
That won't change.
But we can arrange our individual and national lives so that our
inescapable and necessary fears are proportionate, and can be well
And so that our inescapable and necessary needs to make others
reasonably afraid of us are proportionate, and well dealt with,
Let me say some philosophical things, and then take a little time
to get down to nuts and bolts of what can reasonably done, for the
real nation states in the world as it is, from where they are, now.
Because we need to do better than we're doing, and it can only
happen step by step. The steps have to involve things that people
can actually do, as they are, from where they are. The steps have to
involve things that the people involved, considering everything, can
actually be persuaded to do.
- 04:25pm Mar 9, 2001 EST (#897
Here is a core point.
Anybody who asks human animals to be "free from fear" is
delusional. There is much too much of this sort of delusion in the
world -- and it builds up dangerous webs of lies, and sets up
escalatory sequences that are insanely dangerous, and doomed to
There is a lot of that kind of delusion in the world.
The average American voter now seems to believe that he can only
be safe if his country is capable of scaring the wits out of all
other individuals and nation states. President Bush's followers
sometimes seem to think that.
Other people in other nations think similar things.
It makes the world much, much uglier than it needs to be.
The escalation of threat has led to our current nuclear impasse,
which I believe will destroy the world if we don't get nuclear
weapons, world wide, under far better control than they are now.
Prohibition of nuclear weapons is the ideal. The US has been
committed to that ideal by treaty for a long time.
Life is complicated, we are human beings, and human beings are
both very vulnerable animals, and very dangerous animals.
Individuals and nations make mistakes when they imagine that
they are helpless, or permit themselves to be.
And individuals and nations make mistakes when they imagine
that they are all-powerful and invicible. No person ever is. No
nation ever is, either.
Individuals and nations also make mistakes when they
over-threaten each other -- both for logical reasons, and because,
as a matter of biological fact, human beings, threatened enough,
tend to fight to the death. Since people are as dangerous as they
are, that isn't what the threatening person or nation can reasonably
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