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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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lunarchick - 03:53am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#938 of 949)

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 USA approach).

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 thinking here.

lunarchick - 06:39am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#939 of 949)

March 12, 2001

Backing Beijing Into a Corner


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 security.

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 dangerous, consequences.

Trevor Corson, managing editor of Transition at Harvard University, writes frequently on East Asia.

rshowalter - 06:57am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#940 of 949) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

almarst-2001 says profound things, and did so in 932 and 933. almarst-2001 3/11/01 5:26pm

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 with:

"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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