New York Times on the Web Forums Science
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?
(940 previous messages)
- 06:58am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#941
Almarst-20001 makes another statement that is also
profoundly right, in some ways, but also incomplete. Partly for the
serious reasons just stated above, and for other reasons, too.
"As long as there is a disballance of a power for the
questionable and suspicious reasons and posture, nuclear or other,
the situation will remain very dangerous. In those circumstances,
the nuclear detterent is POSITIVE rather then negative. And I hope
it will stay that way untill real intentions of US will become clear
and its rethoric start matching its deads."
I agree that nation states need ample deterrants, and in the last
analysis can only trust each other provisionally. And so we need
balances of power -- not the disproportions and imbalances that
exist now. I think balances of much more disciplined beauty *******
than the ones now ought to be possible - fairly soon.
It is essential that the "real intentions of US will become
clear and its" (I'm reversing order here, but maintaining
intention) deeds start matching its rhetoric."
For this to occur, the US has to develop "intentions" and
"actions" that have legitimacy in interaction together in US
terms. That legitimacy does not exist now.
It is a vital obligation of the United States, in its own
interest and the interest of the world, to achieve that legitimacy
-- which means facing up to deceptions, and replacing them with
statements that are consistent and true.
It is a vital security obligation of other nation states to
use the legitimate, open, traceable means at their disposal, to see
that this happens. They have such means.
I believe that this is essential. People must find ways to be
more open, and yet stay secure. At a number of levels, a number of
people will have to lie less than they do. So that higher levels of
complex cooperation are possible than are possible now. And so that
complex cooperation can replace conflict and stalemate between
different human groups.
- 07:18am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#942
3/11/01 6:42pm makes an interesting point. Old style war
"works," at least in the minds of sufficiently brutal people, if the
objective is to take over LAND, or SIMPLE sociotechnical
organizations (like oil fields, where only a few people or needed,
or like peasant agriculuture in the Middle ages.)
When economies are more complicated, war becomes less and less of
a "profitable" enterprise. The needs to DEFEND against agression
stay compelling. The advantages of agressions get less and less.
The more complicated the "target" the less advantage conquest is.
Now, with the "digital Empires currently being established" the
powers of defense are being strengthened, in the MANY ways where
defensive action is linked to information. The advantages of
conquest are getting radically less.
We should, under these circumstances, be able to provide for our
security needs more effectively than before.
And agressive war machines are getting less and less useful. No
matter how big and expensive they are.
People need to do sensible accounting on what their military
Americans tend to trust anything the "government" says about what
defense needs are. They should stop doing so. They should expect
honest, honorable conduct, not only from serving troops and
officers, but from leaders, as well. AND MONEY NEEDS TO BE TRACEABLY
- 07:26am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#943
3/12/01 3:53am shows a very good example of how PRACTICALLY
IMPORTANT it is that people tell the truth.
The reason is simple. Life is too complicated, and too much is
outside of our control, for us to predict the future. Therefore, we
have to react to changing circumstances. If the "facts" that we
assume as we do so include lies, consequences are very often very
At the level of individuals, at the level of societies, and
internationally, we have to learn, while we maintain effective
security, how to be more open and less deceptive. MOST of the
problems of the world are insoluble, in substantial part, because we
have not done so. MOST of the problems of the world would find
better solutions if we learned to do so.
- 08:48am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#944
3/12/01 6:39am sets out CORSON's fine piece, which shows one
example, among many, of the reasons that total nuclear disarmament
Corsin also shows a reason, among some others, why, for total
nuclear disarmament to work, nations have to have effective
ways to defend their real national interests.
The alternative can't be "trade nuclear weapons for no
defense, or a weak defense." No nation state can agree to that.
The alternative, for all concerned, has to be "trade nuclear
weapons, which are an expensive, prohibitively dangerous defense not
worth its costs, for another more satisfactory defense."
- 08:49am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#945
There are other requirements, but socio-technical arrangements
for INFORMATION HANDLING are essential for making this possible.
And now the arrangements required are, if not quite at hand,
close, and subject to assembly from readily available materials.
New York Times on the Web Forums Science