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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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lunarchick - 02:47pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1445 of 1447)

Noted the emphasis on incremental shifts towards improved understanding (above) and wondered conversely how easy it seems to be to fan-up the embers of prejudice. The demand by the current USA overlayer of Government for a new cold war might fit more easily into the popular mind when the simplistic framework of - goodguy v badguy nation is already patterned. Whereas 'thinking out' a new understanding requires a little mental effort, sometimes too much perhaps for the popular mind ?

rshowalter - 02:55pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1446 of 1447) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Don't sell people THAT short. It is getting harder and harder to look at the Russians as "bad guys" under Putin's leadership, and Americans are influenced by positions abroad.

Just a single question among many -- what would happen if the Queen of England supported peace initiatives, alongside Putin and but also alongside others in the Privy Council, including Margaret Thatcher?

Impossible? Maybe, though I'm not convinced, and it is just one example among many.

"Bad guy" images change -- and especially in redemptive dramas, which people are used to thinking about.

If it was CLEAR to people with prestige that Russia, under Putin's leadership, along with other leaders, was working for REASONABLE ANSWERS and PEACE -- the "good guy -- bad guy" knee jerk responses might not be very strong -- the desire to give peace a chance might be strong, instead.

rshowalter - 03:03pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1447 of 1447) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

There are a LOT of people, who tried hard for peace just six months ago in the US, who would LOVE to stand for peace in this way, if they just saw a chance. The GSI initiative to change the format of one of the Presidential debates was defeated -- but the same people, using the same arguments, would be powerful voices under approaches that recognized the "logical incremental" nature of human affairs.

The GSI initiative tried to change people's ideas in one flash of brilliant insight. They put together a movie "that everybody could understand" and a group of big names "that everybody would have to trust" and people didn't look at the movie, which was unpleasant to them, and too much of shock, and the political parties, on the basis of polls, simply denied coverage to the celebrities. And so they were defeated.

That time.

With a logically incremental approach, and with most of the world wanting peace, and very dubious about the policies of the current administration there would be a real chance, with care, tact and time, of changing enough minds to turn the situation around completely -- so that America also was working for nuclear disarmament, and sane conventional military balances.

What happened six months ago is an example of a good idea, prematurely executed in a strategically unsound way, getting defeated. The idea was good, and the motivated people behind it are still motivated, though they are demoralized just now.

A few phone calls, from the right people, and that could start to change.

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