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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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almarst-2001 - 02:12pm Mar 16, 2001 EST (#1081 of 1088)


let me please say the following:

First, I greatly appresiate your attention, since I have a deep respect for your knowlege and even mor, for willingness to ask questions when you see an anomaly and most of all, your interest to act on your believes.

Secondly, I am probaly not the person you may have imagined. I am a USSR-born Jew (Moldova to be exact), educated in Leningrad (St Petersburg)and immigrated to Israel 28 years ago. I live in US for the last 14 years and am an US as well as an Israeli citizen.

Thirdly, I am 52 years old, married and recently grand-father, an electrical engineer by education, work as a programmer in Boston and absolutly amathure in real active politics.

I became involved in forums like this one due to my deep resentment over bombing of Yugoslavia. I think the acts leading to this tragedy, the bombing, the behavier of politicans involved, including the Clinton and congress, the reaction of the media - all changed dramatically my view on US. Similar chenges in my perception happened only twice before in my life - the invasion of Chechoslovakia by Warshaw armies and invasion of Lebanon by Israel.

May be, after all, I am just too naive to have a different expectations, but that what I am. And it is my believe, the Human Civilization came very close to the critical crossroad. We have enough power to destroy this world, but not enough understanding of human nature to insure the prevention of such a catastrophy. And it seems not a priority for our leaders who mostly seem interested in self-promotion and their "legacy".

The real question today may be "What will be the legacy of Human Civilization?"

rshowalter - 02:49pm Mar 16, 2001 EST (#1082 of 1088) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

One hopes that this legacy gets updated from time to time -- though a nuclear end of the world is not unlikely, and may leave, as only a short term-legacy, billions of rotting corpses.

Perhaps I can express some hopes about what a legacy might come to look like, and what a recounting of the Cold War, and the very unfortunate lost decade of the 1990s will look like.

  • ****

    I think it is interesting to look at Study of Minds Ability to Repress Backs Freud and imagine that our mutual misunderstandings, that have been so serious and inexplicable, have partly been due to ideas that, in our terror, we have repressed, in ways that make rationality hard for both Americans, and Russians, and others.

    almarst-2001 - 02:53pm Mar 16, 2001 EST (#1083 of 1088)

    As for my active involvement in politics, it was limited to writing the letters to newspapers, including NYT, to senators and congressmen, to Clinton and Gore.

    When the Kosovo crisis first became public (here in US), I urged all not to arm the KLA, even that was intensely discussed in the media and Congress as a valuable option. Like the experience with Taliban and right-wing gorillas in S. America was not enough to learn the lesson. Luckily, the common sence prevealed. But it seems was a close call.

    When bombing started, I was shocked. not only by the act itself, but even more so by the popular sentiment fueled by the mass media. Again, I wrout the letters but, apparently, found myself in a very small minority.

    That gave me a reason to question the true values and the purpose of this country, I used to respect. As it frequently happens, a seemingly small event some times may radically change your perception, once you take time to analise and understand it and start asking questions.

    rshowalter - 03:14pm Mar 16, 2001 EST (#1084 of 1088) Delete Message
    Robert Showalter

    I wrote this before seeing your #1083 -

    Before I talk about hopes for the future (hopes that will require us to survive into the future) let me mention a point you made, that I was saddened to read, though I don't blame you for what you said. It is, towards the end of #1069 almarst-2001 3/16/01 10:53am

    You spoke of "Gebbelish propaganda and black-white simplifications by the mass media." - and I'm sure that you were referring to Goebels, war criminal and minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany. I can see why you used those words. I can see why, in Russian eyes, we often look like Nazis, or even, often enough -- worse than Nazis -- more underhanded, more treacherous, more self satisfied, and even more arrogant. Russians often see us, sincerely and with passion, as horrors in human form, as the Nazis were.

    I think I understand why, and can see how you feel as you do. In our usage of nuclear weapons, at the level of our threats, your perceptoin fits only too well, I'm afraid. The description can be fairly applied to some Americans, among them General Curt LeMay, who was, more than any other man, responsible for the implementation of America's nuclear policies.

    All the same, in ways that matter deeply to me, and ways that I believe matter to you as well, Americans are not like Nazis, or like Germans under the Nazis. Our nuclear policy, horrible as it is, doesn't fit a very great deal about the rest

    Here is an area where paradigm conflict, probably very much strengthened by the repression of terror, separates us in ways that are hard for either side to imagine.

    We can't imagine how we can possibly look like Nazis to you -- when it is a basic perception in all of Russia, for reasons I regret, but understand. I believe that, for peace, we need to understand why you so often see us that way.

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