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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 - 07:13am Mar 20, 2001 EST (#1201 of 1202) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Let me offer an example of the sort of thing that might be useful -- both as an example, and as a personal committment.

I'd be willing, if invited, to come to a Russian embassy or consulate (in Chicago, or NY, or DC) and meet with anybody there, personally, so long as I could do that chaperoned -- someone from CIA would be notified, and invited to accompany me, and I'd need a witness, with a tape recorder (perhaps a free lance or fully employed journalist) so that I could converse, and communicate, and start to establish small regions of common trust - and do so without reasonable accusations of treason.

I might also communicate by video-link - with a feed also going to a news organization, and to my own government.

Using new conventions, of this sort, based not on secrecy but on OPENNESS it should be possible to resolve impasses that now exist, and will continue to exist, unless real people craft ways to get around the fixed defenses that now make certain kinds of progress impossible. This has been an example of such a possible new pattern.

It is also a personal committment.


There are some other openings emerging as well - each according to a pattern of OPENNESS - not dealing in secret. I'm very afraid of how much peril the world is in (afraid enough that risks to me personally don't count for so very much.) But at the same time, I'm feeling a lot of hope.

I wish other people would feel similar fears, and hopes, and think of hopeful actions. The current nuclear mess would be a very sad, absurd, ugly way for the world to end. We ought to be able to do better. We could, and we could do so beautifully, maintaining loyalty not only to the world as a whole, but to everything decent and worthy of respect in our own countries and cultures, as well.

rshowalter - 07:23am Mar 20, 2001 EST (#1202 of 1202) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

In an hour, I'll talk about the signs that give me reason for optimism -- there seem to me to be many of them.

One is this. The Bush administration, in many ways, seems to be committing itself, in public, to fixed positions - inflexible positions. Explicit positions.

And the Russians are becoming more explicit about their needs, and fears, and hopes as well.

When things become explicit, decisions about right and wrong, sensible and senseless, can be made -- models can be matched to what is known. And very many people can look at the matches and mismatches, in very many ways.

I'll be back in an hour.

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