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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?
(937 previous messages)
- 03:53am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#938
Interesting happenings in China. As a fund raiser the kids in a
school made fireworks (fun rockets). They worked half their class
time on fireworks. The fireworks struck back and bit the kids,
killing 40 people. China government removed from the news all truth.
In place of truth stated a gunman had killed the people (copy-cat
The Chinese gov are now reacting by throwing foreign workers out
of Chinese Schools.
Does raise the question as to why the Chinese gov would be
spending money on missiles when they aren't meeting the basic needs
of their people.
Wonder how thinking in relation to the 2008 Olympics factors into
- 06:39am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#939
March 12, 2001
Backing Beijing Into a Corner
By TREVOR CORSON
AMBRIDGE, Mass. — When President Vladimir Putin of Russia
announced his interest in joining the United States and Europe in a
missile- defense program, it appeared that old adversaries might be
coming together. But one significant adversary, China, would be left
out. China is terrified of a missile-defense system that would make
its own nuclear force impotent. The inclusion of Russia, at least
from China's point of view, would only further endanger global
Russia has not really been the problem since the Reagan
administration. Indeed, President George H. W. Bush briefly pursued
a joint Russian-American anti-ballistic missile system. It had been
proposed by Boris Yeltsin in response to Mr. Bush's advocacy of
missile defense — a situation rather similar to that today. Then as
now, none of the American missile defense systems being considered
could reduce the deterrent of Russia's several thousand warheads.
The only major power threatened by the new round of missile defense
proposals is China. And the chief effect of Russia's offer of
cooperation would be to radically destabilize global security
dynamics by backing China into a corner.
American intelligence estimates China has between 16 and 20
single- warhead nuclear missiles. Beijing has announced that if the
United States begins work on any missile defense system, China will
increase its nuclear missile force tenfold.
The Bush administration argues that missile defense is necessary
in the Pacific to protect the United States from attack by North
Korea. But it seems unlikely that the world's sole superpower needs
to build such a system to guard against an impoverished "rogue
state." At least, Beijing could be forgiven for assuming that North
Korea's missiles provide an excuse to use missile defense to disarm
China — and to protect Taiwan.
For China, an American missile shield and Taiwan are inevitably
connected. If the United States builds an effective national missile
defense, China will have no nuclear deterrent to discourage American
intervention in a conflict over Taiwan. China is therefore likely to
interpret American missile defense as a revival of the military
alliance between the United States and Taiwan, an alliance
Washington de-emphasized 30 years ago.
In 1992, President George Bush reversed a longstanding policy,
and inflamed tensions with Beijing, by selling F-16 jets to Taiwan.
This time, Beijing is prepared to see President George W. Bush
effect a far more significant policy reversal, and will react
accordingly. Just last week, China noted "drastic changes" in the
world and announced an unprecedented increase in military spending.
A rapid expansion of China's nuclear program seems likely to follow.
The hazard of the Bush administration's commitment to missile
defense is that it could push the Chinese into an arms race. To the
Reagan and Bush strategists now back in power, this is the approach
that defeated the Soviets. But it could have unintended, and very
Trevor Corson, managing editor of Transition at Harvard
University, writes frequently on East Asia.
- 06:57am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#940
almarst-2001 says profound things, and did so in 932 and
I want to apologize for not answering yesterday.
almarst-2001's questions were profound, and I felt
obligated to answer them carefully. Yet I found I was tired. So I
closed. I reread the questions, and some of his other postings, was
impressed still more after rereading them. But I was too tired to
respond to them until I took some time to sleep and think.
Especially since I found myself wondering who almarst-2001
was. Not wondering if almarst-2001 was able, and courageous,
and important. He obviously is. (Dawn will be angry for my gender
assumption, but I assume almarst-2001 is masculine from
responses.) I found myself, wondering - what if he was Vladimir
Putin? Of course, I know he probably isn't, but it is useful for me
to imagine he is or might be -- because he deserves very careful,
caring responses. The best responses, within the limits of my
strength and intellect, that I can give him.
Almarst-2001 makes a profound statement, that I agree
"The goal is not to eliminate the nuclear wearpons bur to
reduce if not possible to eliminate entirely a cause and
consequences of War."
I'd very much like to eliminate nuclear weapons, not as a final
goal, but as an important interim one. Because I'm afraid that the
controls, as they stand, could very well destroy the world this
year. I can't imagine that getting rid of nuclear weapons would be
an "end point." -- Nor that it could be done without dealing with
other matters as well. But because of the risks, I hope very much
that we can take down at least MOST nuclear weapons, SOON.
I also think that we can SUBSTANTIALLY reduce, radically reduce,
the causes of wars, and the costs of the military conflicts that do
happen. That would have to be done carefully. It would require
practical ways to ensure reasonable security of all the people
involved, as they are, in the world as it is. That would never be
perfect security. But security proportionate to the need for it, and
to the other needs that people have, would be a requirement for a
lasting, just, practical peace.
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