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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 - 02:26pm Mar 26, 2001 EST (#1549 of 1567) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

You have to find ways of proceeding that can move ahead. Not ones with one chain breaker after another.

Because "chain breakers" can cause perfectly good ideas, and fundamentally right initiatives to fail. To fizzle, rather than propagate. If you're in a situation where "fizzle sequences" are all you see ahead, perhaps you have to eliminate a constraint that has been binding you, but really doesn't have to.

rshowalter - 02:29pm Mar 26, 2001 EST (#1550 of 1567) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Looking at the rent dispute between Russian and the US about a residence -- the US offer looked like it might be very good one to me. It seems to me like it might be a good deal, not only "in principle" if you think about Russian advantage, but in practice, quantitatively, to both sides.

How big are those old debts?

Would a deal set up as such a swap leave "unfinished business" that might lead to informal discussions on matters of mutual interest?

Do the numbers on the deal make sense by reasonable standards?

Is there a way that the deal could be modified, to make it graceful and worthwhile to both sides?

Of course I don't know enough about the details.

But it might be a way to establish "diplomatic relations" with some institution or other. Suppose one of your staffers called Cohen, who wrote and discussed this, along with other matters that might be of mutual interest from a negotiating perspective - on a "no pay" basis.

Most deals in the US never get to court, and the ones that do get to court usually get resolved in the course of informal negotiations -- often with stages where one side gives the other a "gift" -- without any obligation, except that contacts will be preserved for another time.

Bush's proposal to unilaterally cut missiles is a move according to that pattern. It is a good pattern. You ought to learn to use it starting with small things because it is an essential part of sociotechnical negotiation all over the world.

If Russia doesn't have the capability to proceed in this sort of way, it ought to get that capablility -- because, in the modern world, it will be crippled and stigmatized without it.

rshowalter - 02:36pm Mar 26, 2001 EST (#1551 of 1567) Delete Message
Robert Showalter


lunarchick - 06:17pm Mar 26, 2001 EST (#1552 of 1567)

Two points regarding Iraq.

The Kurdish Culture doesn't seem to have been respected by them, in that, when people have a culture and language, their wish is to further both and then have respect for the dominant culture. Iraq has bullied (and killed) Kurds.

The second point is that the days of OIL may be closing as hydrogen engines (waste product water) are being phased in. so Iraq may end up with 'in the ground' oil reserves suited only to the chemical industry. The golden days may be over.

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