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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 - 06:58am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#941 of 949) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

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.

rshowalter - 07:18am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#942 of 949) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

lunarchick 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 needs are.

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 ACCOUNTED.

rshowalter - 07:26am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#943 of 949) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

lunarchick 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 bad.

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.

rshowalter - 08:48am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#944 of 949) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

lunarchick 3/12/01 6:39am sets out CORSON's fine piece, which shows one example, among many, of the reasons that total nuclear disarmament is attractive.

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."

rshowalter - 08:49am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#945 of 949) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

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.

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