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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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eurocore - 12:55pm Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1828 of 1833)

The US, and other nations, should clean up the unresolved business of the Cold War, and actually make peace and end the Cold War, rather than extend it without limit or justification. If that were done, the present, very large risk that the world will soon end can be eliminated, and the risks and stains that now are associated with our nuclear and military policy could be far less, for us and for others in the world. Nuclear weapons might not be outlawable in a way consistent with workable, beautiful-as-really-possible solutions to the security problems of nation states. Perhaps I'm wrong about that. But I think they could be. In any case, the risk to human beings from nuclear weapons can be reduced to a risk comparable to the risk of natural disasters -- and we'll be able to think more clearly. That would be a far, far better situation than we have today.

Hi Robert, I agree with your analysis. Am I right in thinking therefore that we should aim to:

a) Ensure good relations between US and Russia.

b) Prevent unnecessary proliferation of weaponry.

c) (long term) Reduce conflicts between states by greater transnational organisations like the UN.

Point c) most people dislike, as it seems to be associated with globalisation (which is a ‘bad’ thing apparently…) – what do you think?

Best Wishes,


lunarchick - 01:06pm Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1829 of 1833)

Just refecting on 'the golden rule - do unto others as you would have done unto yourself', with respect to 'Military' operations ... the NEW golden rule? ... it's spelt 'Peace Keeping'!

Peace Keeping is being 'with' and 'amongst' as in 'working with and for' the people, rather than bombarding them and attacking them from remote locations.

Little room for missiles re peacekeeping.

rshowalter - 01:13pm Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1830 of 1833) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

You just saved me a posting ! I think you're exactly right about everything you said.

I have some additional thoughts, entirely consistent with what you've said, and some on a more nutsy-boltsy level.

One thing, that occurs to me especially after rereading Bob Kerrey's Armed to Excess Op Ed piece, is that we could go a LONG way toward safety by substituting




If we just got that far, we could cut our warhead counts down from their present thousands, to 200 at most -- not enough to extirminate - and so not enough for a first strike. But plenty for deterrance.

(And with this smaller number, the world would be preserved even with bad controls -- and it would be straightforward to build fairly safe controls. I'm personally worried that the present control mechanisms, technical and human, are dangerously unstable, and could easily destroy the world unless something is done.)

China's been a good example of a country relying on assured deterrance but not extermination. Where we have something thousands of deployed warheads, they deploy missiles with something like 20 - much too small for extermination, and so too small for a first strike -- but a serious level of deterrance.

But I ALSO think, that if we come to understand what has happened, and the deceptions and threat patterns that have been involved, we may be able to do much better. I think we actually have a chance to effectively outlaw nuclear weapons, and make the world a healthier and more sane place.

And take significant steps toward making the world a more peaceful, stable place in other ways. That would take much persuasion - staff work, and a corpus of argument. I've been trying, with Dawn Riley, to try to make a contribution towards gettting that staffing and that corpus.

I'll take a little time before saying more. But I would like to post Bob Kerrey's piece, which I believe sets out important points, both about where we need to go, and where we've been.

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