toolbar Sign Up for's E-mails

 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    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?

Earliest MessagesPrevious MessagesRecent MessagesOutline (1449 previous messages)

rshowalter - 03:26pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1450 of 1454) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

I think if someone on Putin's staff came to really understand the role of the Royal Family in Great Britian -- the "font of honour" -- they'd learn a LOT worth knowing. The Queen has a distinguished, and very informative web site.

The Queen is perhaps the world's best example of a person whose role is specialized for "pure status exchange ceremony." And that's substantial power.

Russia doesn't have to sign on to the values of the Queen - and nobody would want that. But an understanding of the traditions, and usages, which are powerful, would be important.

In the specific case of the Queen, and more generally elsewhere, all over the world.

The Queen has a statuatory, and much respected, "duty to warn" that fits the issue of nuclear disarmament and the establishment of military balances well.

rshowalter - 03:31pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1451 of 1454) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

If Putin and top Russian officials knew enough to talk effectively to the Queen, and others in the Privy Council, about matters of mutual interest, that would mean they had skills and insights that would serve them and their country well in many, many cases.

And the advice and influence of the Queen, on the matter of getting history straight, in the cause of peace, would be important.

This is an example of approaches to persuasion that may well be effective, that I suspect are not being considered.

rshowalter - 03:36pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1452 of 1454) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

How persuasive do you think George Bush and his cabinet would be, if he stood alone in the world, and the world was speaking sense, with no sense to be had from Bush?

Perhaps you think he'd still be untouchable, because he'd have the advertisers who seem to dominate American media.

Not necessarily. Those advertisers have foreign interests, that they care about. They like to think of themselves as decent and rational human beings. And, as a matter of fact, peace and decent military balances are in their interests.

Remember Watergate? Russians didn't understand it at all. Ideas matter in the US, and elsewhere, and principles often DO triumph.

Usually after a lot of work.

rshowalter - 03:41pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1453 of 1454) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Many leaders outside of the United States are doing reasonable things now, including Putin.

And there is much more that could be done, safely, and in a logically incremental fashion.

The keys to putting it together involve status exchanges, and some matters of mechanics.

  • ***

    In the US, there's an issue of the tax law. An organization working for peace in the US may have to do so without a tax exemption, in order to be free to do some necessary things. Like side with the position of one political party, rather than another, in the face of a ruthless administration.

    That might seem an insurmountable obstacle -- but it might not be -- the things needed here aren't especially expensive.

    rshowalter - 03:45pm Mar 24, 2001 EST (#1454 of 1454) Delete Message
    Robert Showalter

    If Putin, Gorbachev, and one other European leader was willing to make a phone call or two, or write a letter, or put up a few tens of thousand of dollars of matching funds, -- a lot could be done -- probably work more extensive than I've suggested (work defined, of course, on a logically incremental basis.)

    A lot may be doable in other ways, also.

    Most of these ways involve status exchanges at signficant steps in putting the deals together.

     Read Subscriptions  Subscribe  Post Message
     E-mail to Sysop  Your Preferences

     [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  / Missile Defense

    Enter your response, then click the POST MY MESSAGE button below.
    See the
    quick-edit help for more information.

  • Home | Site Index | Site Search | Forums | Archives | Shopping

    News | Business | International | National | New York Region | NYT Front Page | Obituaries | Politics | Quick News | Sports | Science | Technology/Internet | Weather
    Editorial | Op-Ed

    Features | Arts | Automobiles | Books | Cartoons | Crossword | Games | Job Market | Living | Magazine | Real Estate | Travel | Week in Review

    Help/Feedback | Classifieds | Services | New York Today

    Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company