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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?
(1658 previous messages)
- 09:39am Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1659
By pursuing a concept that attempts to survive nuclear warfare
you give nuclear warfare a ‘chance’. That ‘chance’ of survival
destroys the very essence of the worldwide deterrence model. That is
why the international community has overwhelmingly tipped the scales
in opposition to this system. That is why SALT I and the ABM
protocols exist between the two largest nuclear powers.
Deployment of such a system embraces the theoretical perspective
of Nuclear Utilization Theory (NUTs). It may not be the intent of
those who deploy-but every rational state views the system as a
total embrace of a theory designed to survive and later win a
That perspective (NUTs) implies that not only will nuclear war be
fought-but it must be fought to survive and win. In such a pursuit,
you lower conventional warfare thresholds and lower the crossover
points at which conventional conflict goes into nuclear conflict.
This is due to the very fact that one has added a chance to
something in which no chance existed prior. You cannot posture
yourself against the irrational actor- the minority of this world.
Doing so only requires the majority if this world (rational actors)
to balance against your own actions. You cannot thwart the
irrational actor because the irrational actor has no limits or
boundaries. The very name implies that the irrational actor is
impossible to deter. As noted by the CIA of May 19th 00, the
terminology of ‘rogue’ state has no significant in the course of
debate regarding missile defence because ‘rouge’ implies that such
states are irrational and every state America has labeled rouge has
actually demonstrated that in fact they are rational. The
rational/irrational actor model is core issue regarding deterrence.
As the CIA pointed out, rouge state has ‘more political significance
then true value to the structure of deterrence’.
In short the largest nuclear power embarking on the deployment of
a system designed to survive nuclear strikes creates the impetus for
every rational actor, depot or even alliance to do the same.All at
varying levels of technological development. all at varying levels
of quality. In doing so-you destroy nuclear deterrence-the very
concept that has maintained no use of nuclear weapons against states
since 1945. If one recalls our operational experience in Desert
Storm, while missile defense did not work very well, deterrence did
work very well. Saddam Hussein had poison gas-tipped Scuds that were
available for launch at the time of the war, and he did not use
them. Subsequently, after the U.S. military interrogated some
defectors and some captured Iraqi leaders, it became clear why not:
Saddam Hussein did not want to get blown up. Before the war, the
United States, Britain, France and Israel had all stated, both
publicly and privately, that if he was the first to use weapons of
mass destruction, he would not be the last to use weapons of mass
destruction. Saddam Hussein and his kindred despots in other
countries that we are worried about have not survived for extended
periods of time by being stupid or careless. They are ruthless and
cruel and sometimes reckless, but they don't remain in power,
despite our repeated attempts in the case of Saddam Hussein to
dislodge him, by being careless about the survival of their regime.
Saddam Hussein understood very well that if he initiated the use of
weapons of mass destruction, our retaliation would annihilate his
regime. So the notion that missile defense is the only bulwark we
have against weapons of mass destruction attacks from these regimes
simply flies in the face of our actual experience, in which
deterrence has worked very well and missile defense has not worked
very well at all.
- 10:04am Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1660
All good points !
I'd dispute, on a number of grounds, the total context of your
statement that "deterrance has worked very well" -- the costs of
deterrance have been immense. And we can't sustain those costs
forever. And the systems, that may have been indispensible in the
past, are now VERY much more vulnerable than they were.
But I don't know any responsible decent human being who can, in
public, dispute your last point:
" missile defense has not worked very well at
And for missile defense to be a source of comfort to us, in the
real world, it must work very well indeed.
- 10:06am Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1661
Nor do I know of a responsible, decent human being who could, in
public and subject to detailed crossexamination claim that
missile defense has any technically reasonable chance of the
reliablity rates it needs to be useful, at any predictable
time in the future.
- 10:10am Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1662
It would be wise to point to Dirac that the road will not stop
there. And while we are paying outrageous amounts of money to
develop a way to kill and destroy more efficiently while keeping our
feets warm seeping the beer and enjoying the picture on evening TV,
other nations watch this with horor and determination to prevent the
"opportunity" to found themselve on the "receiving end" of this
Some may decided to capitulate and come on the knees to US asking
for "protection" and right to exist. Others, the "rouge" ones, may
decide to resist and prevent this to ever happen to them. And I may
be wrong, but believe the last is a sentiment of a majority.
It is hard to predict the outcome. But looking back into the
history of Human Civilization, the following can be learned:
- The period of time a single nation or even a small groups of
nations could enjoy the absolute dominating power was always limited
and steadily shortening, probably due to the speed of dissimilation
- There newer was and never will be an absolute defence for any
significant period of time before becoming absolete by new and
usually much less expensive offensive device.
- Very little can be done, if at all, to eliminate the thread
completely from someone desperate to cause the damage at any cost,
- Even the small fraction of resources spent on arms and wars
could dramatically improve this world and eliminate most of the
reasons for wars in a first place. Speaking of Cost Effectiveness.
- Rasing the children in a society which glorifies the military
power as way to ensure fear and obidience from others while living
in fear from retaliation but counting on 100% protection and lack of
consequences will bring-up the generation of coward killers and
moral monsters. The Colombine tragedy will look like an innocent
picnic. Speaking of Morality.
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