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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?
(1869 previous messages)
- 03:39pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1870
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).
- 04:04pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1871
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.
- 04:16pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1872
The people of Russia are probably (to some degree, certainly)
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.
- 04:17pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1873
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
- 04:28pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1874
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
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
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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