[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 (1745 previous messages)

dirac_10 - 08:23pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1746 of 1756)

eurocore - 08:03pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1739 of 1743)

If the planes can already deal with very high temperatures over extended periods on much of their contact faces, why would a laser (with the slight inevitable correction errors) be able to do significant damage?

Yeah, this is a problem. This is one of the things that we would expect the Russians to beat us at. Mirror surfaces too.

But everything has a limit heatwise. You push it past the limit. Plus it is less than certain that all the electromagnetic spectrum with any modulation whatsoever would not have any effect other than heating.

The actual amount of energy required to vaporize the missles is trivial. Problem is getting it there.

I never claimed that it would work against Russia. (At least not recently.) But every weapon seems to eventually become obsolete. They say now that they will quit building aircraft carriers, sitting ducks for sophisticated folks it seems.

If the technical details can be solved, ICBM's are sitting ballistic ducks. Shooting a beam of light is a heck of a lot cheaper than launching an ICBM. In the limit, the ICBM is obsolete. A sitting duck, just like the aircraft carrier.

rshowalter - 08:24pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1747 of 1756) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

rshowalter 3/29/01 7:58pm

rshowalter 3/29/01 7:44pm

rshowalter - 08:34pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1748 of 1756) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Europe Warns Bush of Global Warming ...... by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.......March 29, 2001 contains quite serious language between allies:

"European officials warned President Bush on Thursday that U.S. relations with the rest of the world could suffer if he sticks by a decision to pull out of an agreement on reducing global warming.

``This isn't some marginal environmental issue that can be ignored or played down,'' European Union Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem said at a news conference. ``It has to do with trade and economics.'' > . . . . . .

While stressing it was too soon to discuss ``tactics to punish the United States, Wallstroem said she will go to Washington next week with an EU delegation to seek clarification of the Bush administrations position.

. . . .

`` I dont think this is the time to start to threaten, but we must be clear about the political implications, Wallstroem said.

In diplomatic terms, that means that the threatening has started.

. . . . .

``It is not acceptable that national economic worries mean that the world cannot act against a global threat, said the Danish Minister of Energy and Environment, Svend Auken, visibly angry.

British Environment Minister Michael Meacher also warned of repercussions, although he ruled out the threat of sanctions.

``I certainly dont think we should despair or try to ostracize the U.S. as a pariah. This is not the end of the story. There is clearly a power struggle going on in Washington and we have to keep hammering on, he said.

. . . . .

`It would indicate the arrogance of power if the United States were to discontinue the Kyoto process.

Are the critics in the wrong? Perhaps. But defenders of the Bush administration, outside the US, were not cited, and may not have legitimacy (or dominance) in any major country. In all events, this language is not deferential to the United States.

  • *****

    A related story

    German Leader Questions Bush Plan .... by the Associated Press ..... March 29 recalls an impasse of substantially the same starkness, discussed more decorously, but without even a whiff of agreement, or even conciliation on substance, between Schroeder and Bush.

    eurocore - 08:37pm Mar 29, 2001 EST (#1749 of 1756)


    I think we agree!

    The project could be theoretically benefical as a defence given three criteria:

    a) The missiles makers don't deliberate make the missile to withstand laser attack.

    b) The system targets nearby missiles (dozens rather than thousands of km).

    c) We assume technology is sufficient (or advances sufficiently) to allow this to be feasible.

    The economic cost would need to be justified too. If it is cheaper to topple every non-US aligned government in the world by simple bribery ("The Dollars for Democracy Scheme"), we'd probably be better off with the low-tech solution.

    Do remember though, if the Korean were sufficiently dedicated, (and unconcerned about diplomatic effects), it would be possible to set off terrorist nuclear bomb in major cities, like NY. I'm convinced it's morality, distaste at the method's diplomatic reprocussions and fear of US reprisal that prevents the US's enemies doing this right now. I doubt any western society, with current social controls, could prevent it occurring.

    I'm not saying the missile system isn't worthwile (despite the above), but it's an umbrella that relies on rain from above, not below.

    Best Wishes,


    More Messages Unread Messages Recent Messages (7 following messages)

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

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

  • 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