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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.

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rshowalter - 01:21pm Mar 21, 2001 EST (#1238 of 11890)
Robert Showalter

I'll say this about Friedman compared to Chomsky now.

Friedman paints pictures -- gives descriptions that are intuitive - disconnected from nuts-and-bolts details and that means everything he says is liable, in some way or another, to be a "fallacy of misplaced concreteness" if you trust it too much.

Chomsky does all those things, but very many times, especially in his academic work, he takes a dominating position based on very focused analytical-mathematical positions, that he claims great status for - that others may not understand, but often (in my own view, too often) defer to. That's another kind of "fallacy of misplaced concreteness."

Friedman and Chomsky are both probably very good at picking out each other's shortcomings.

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    Whenever it matters in practice anything either one says needs to be checked against what's known, and needs to be checked structurally in terms of the match between assumptions and the case at hand.

    Same as anybody else.

    almarst-2001 - 01:36pm Mar 21, 2001 EST (#1239 of 11890)

    The look at the whole system is usefull, but shouldn' we first to ask: "What is or should be the PURPOSE of the system?

    Based on what I know, I bet Friedman talks about globalization. It is my understanding, he is convinced the globalization is GOOD and will help the world to reach the "level" of US, primerelly via advancement of technology and democratization of societies.

    Before going any futher, I would like to undertand what in his mind is GOOD. Only then can we judge the impact of Globalization.

    rshowalter - 01:38pm Mar 21, 2001 EST (#1240 of 11890)
    Robert Showalter

    Friedman and Chomsky also have some very good reasons for disliking each other, and I think these reasons are insoluble, and should simply be tolerated.

    They have different aesthetics that relate to conduct. They have different senses of fair play, in specific interactions. They are each, in their way, ferocious and intolerant elitists -- but they have different standards, and are open minded, and intolerant, about different things.

    For checking questions of fact, or negotiation about anything important enough so that people have to keep their temper, these differences shouldn't get in the way, if only they can be understood.

    But they are BIG differences. Some things that look ugly to Friedman will look beautiful to Chomsky, and vice versa. And that can't be changed.

    rshowalter - 01:42pm Mar 21, 2001 EST (#1241 of 11890)
    Robert Showalter

    I missed your point - and posted not having read it. Pardon me. My computer is under so much attack that I disconnect my modem cable, usually, when I'm not actually transmitting. And sometimes I forget to read first --please pardon me.

    Let me think about what you say. But first, here's a reflexive remark. Discussions of PURPOSE are crucial, and when different negotiators have different purposes, it helps if that is known, at least well enough known so that the people involved can give satisfaction.

    If people lie about their purpose (and the US often did just this at the nuclear arms talks, in my opinion) that's a very serious sabotage of the proceedings.

    But I would like to focus on checking of facts because, without it, sorting out such problems, or such deceptions, often can't be done.

    lunarchick - 01:55pm Mar 21, 2001 EST (#1242 of 11890)

    Noting the Korean stance:

    President Bush-the-elder was in active service in WWII (Pacific). General MaCarthy (HQ based down the road here) wanted to push through N.Korea to the Chinese border. Trueman worked out that China had a neverending capacity re population and Pulled MaCarthy (kicking and screaming against that President's orders) OUT.

    There is conjecture that Bush-the-younger the current President who although 'rich' has only ventured off-shore three times ... is a puppet President (Marionette) ...

    The question is .. who does influence and set the current agenda for US foreign policy? Judging by the attitude to Korea (would Bush-the-younger know where this country is on a world map?) it seems that there are a lot of 'OLD' attitudes creeping in.

    Reclusive leader Kim Jong-il of North Korea has one thing going for him. Unlike Bush-the-younger, Kim went abroad to study. If he spent time being educated in Germany, then, there the attitude regarding attonement for the Sins-of-their-fathers, is a tidal wave in their political and social culture ... the Germans TRY to do the right thing as a Nation .... and subconsciously at least this should have influenced Kim.

    [There's a question over Korean Political Policies - are these set by NKorea or set for them by under influence of China ... in light of USA foreign policy?]

    That Bush-the-younger never made the 'effort' to spend time abroad suggests that the concept of Presidential Office may have been a mantle placed over him, rather than his real ambition ..... the guy may have few ambitions.

    If Bush-the-younger foreign policy is driven by a former WWII Pacific warrior - Bush-the-elder, without absorbing the elements of change of the past half century ... then, the outlook is neither 'considered' nor 'good'.

    lunarchick - 01:58pm Mar 21, 2001 EST (#1243 of 11890)

    Pardon my comment here Showalter, but, i thought you lived in the Land of the Free.

    " computer is under so much attack that I disconnect my modem cable, usually, when I'm not actually transmitting"

    I take it the 'land of the free' - ISN'T!

    almarst-2001 - 01:59pm Mar 21, 2001 EST (#1244 of 11890)

    I have many serious reservations about the notions that Iechnological advancement will always improve the life of ordinary human being. Even democratization will not authomatically do so. My particular disagreement is with the notion that US socio-economic model can and should be copyed everywere.

    To give just a simplistic example, the 20th Century have seen the greatest advancement in all aspect so cherished by Mr. Friedman, as well as the greates disasters and attrocities in the Human History.

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