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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 - 05:36am Mar 16, 2001 EST (#1066 of 1066) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

I believe that #948, on Adoph Berle's rules of power, makes sense in its entirety, here. rshowalter 3/12/01 10:02am

Points especially relevant here are

The "0th" rule . . . . "Power is always preferable to chaos, and the forces of chaos in human affairs are always contained by some use of human power." People need order. ............. Different societies, and this is notably true of Russia and the US, don't understand (and have no sense of the legitimacy rules of) the pattern by which other cultures maintain order. We need to understand each other better here, in the cause of safety, prosperity, peace, and comfort.

To control chaos, people work in frameworks of power. According to Berle, these frameworks are always subject to five rules, which I think are right, and directly relavent to our nuclear peril, and the fixing of it.

One: Power invariably fills any vacuum in human organization. ........... When presidents neglected to give detailed attention in nuclear policy, other people took power in that area, in a tradition, very isolated from the American mainstream. That group of people, as it has developed, mostly in secret, over fifty years, now holds power. But not unquestionable power.

Two: Power is invariably personal. ....... These people put their pants on one leg at a time, and are subject to all the human limitations and frailties and capacities for folly and ugliness that other people are subject to.

Three: Power is invariably based on a system of ideas of philosophy. Absent such a system or philosophy, the institutions essential to power cease to be reliable, power ceases to be effective, and the power holder is eventually displaced. ........... It is HERE that the core problems of nuclear terror have to be adressed. At the level of ideas, the status quo cannot stand the light of day.

Four: Power is exercised through, and depends on, institutions. By their existence, they limit, come to control, and eventually confer or withdraw power. ......... That's true of the forces of the nuclear status quo, and equally true of any human group that wishes to institute change. Organization is an imperative, as much in the US as anywhere, and the forces of hope are WEAK here -- but don't necessarily have to be in the future.

Five: Power is invariably confronted with, and acts in the presence of, a field of responsibility. The two constantly interact, in hostility or co-operation, in conflict or through some form of dialog, organized or unorganized, made part of, or perhaps intruding into, the institutions on which power depends. ...... With the internet, "fields of responsiblity" have become wider, the interactions more complicated, and the political- moral- logical connections have changed. It is a new world, with new hope.

This thread has "power" in some ways, and is notably "powerless" in others.

It is "well placed" in some ways, and "nowhere" in others.

The power of ideas, historically, has sometimes been prodigious, though often it has been negligible.

I'd repeat the thoughts in #'s 1058-1059. rshowalter 3/15/01 7:45pm The suggestion, I believe, is practical, and is an example of what might be done to make progress, in a human world where the rules of power, set out above, have to be taken into account.

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