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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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lunarchick - 03:39pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1870 of 1874)

Showalter, any comments regarding the people of Russia's feeling that the information they are 'given' by their media is first 'monitored' by the Kremlin, and that they feel they can not trust their media to tell them the 'truth'. This is why they like MTV - or so they say (above).

lunarchick - 04:04pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1871 of 1874)

Good Leadership:

Leading a country might be compared to leading an orchestra. The conductor sees the big picture, has vision regarding directions and arrival points, understands the roles of each of the players, brings them back into line regarding the overall production, refreshes their thinking to give intelligent interpretation of the pictures of sound, and demonstrates Leadership with exemplory performance.

rshowalter - 04:16pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1872 of 1874) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The people of Russia are probably (to some degree, certainly) right.

But their concerns, in their country, shouldn't distract from analogous concerns we have in our own.

It is certainly true that information given to the American public is "monitored" - in ways that may be "unofficial" but are nonetheless powerful, and coordinated, by editors, peers, and, often enough, government people. The social controls in America are very different from those in Russia, and may perhaps be more complicated -- but they are effective and coercive indeed.

Are Russian journalists coerced, limited, and encouraged to mislead? Who doubts it? American journalists, too often, are in a similar situation.

I don't have any reason to think that the Russians, either as individuals or in government entites, are any "purer" -- at the levels that count, taking them all in all, than Americans.

The temptation to lie, short term, is often very great -- and the more so when one wishes to strip the power from another. Because a lie, or a misshapen, out-of-context truth, prevents the recipient of the lie from following logic that she needs to understand, to feel comfortable, or to act.

The cost of lying is immense long term, because it pollutes the feedback needed for decision making, and rules out interactions above a certain level of complexity - staining and impoverishing all concerned.

rshowalter - 04:17pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1873 of 1874) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Russia, I believe, must have a higher incidence of deception per communication - in the large - than America. I say this simply because both American and Russia are very complicated socio-technical systems constructed and modified by feedback , as Kline pointed out. And America, by and large, for all its faults and imbecilities, works better, in many ways, than Russia does.

But both Russia and the United States would run better if the information being used in its feedback-based decision making was more often true, and on point.

It doesn't make sense to waste much time listening to the pot call the kettle black.

Both sides are more than black enough.

Too given to lies for their own good, and for the good and safety of the world.

Russia should cleanse Russia in this regard, and should listen to criticism from outside. America should respond symettrically.

We could live in peace, and more comfortably, and we'd be much richer.

rshowalter - 04:28pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1874 of 1874) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

lunarchick 4/1/01 4:04pm

America, some now fear, has now stained itself, and put the whole world at risk, by electing a man with capabilities far below what one could reasonably wish for, or expect, in a President of the United States.

Perhaps he'll yet prove us wrong. So far, he seems to be acting in a way that, if it were subject to careful checking, could not stand the light of day.

I hope that he'll find ways to act that make Americans proud, and serve American interests, and the interests of the world. I hope he finds ways to bring disciplined beauty to the decisions he's been entrusted with.

But I'm afraid, now, that he has something like a "sign change error" -- and he is acting, again and again - "on the dark side" -- on the side of death, darkness, lies, ugliness, and contempt for the values the world needs to go on with prosperity and safety.

The Russians, and the Europeans, and the nations of Asia and the rest of the world may have to exercise good, truth based leadership of their own, without giving any deference at all to the wisdom of the United States under President Bush's leadership -- unless and until he actually shows wisdom -- wisdom that can be seen, by connection to fact and direct dealing, that others can actually judge for themselves.

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