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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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almarst-2001 - 07:55pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1883 of 1888)

rshowalt 4/1/01 7:39pm

The Rumsfeld's behavier can't be explained other then as sign of veakness and frastration.

I am sure Putin's team understand phychology.

It seems the US administrations since Clinton follow the old Russian irony: "The force does not need intelligence" (meaning - to its own detriment).

almarst-2001 - 07:58pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1884 of 1888)

"Dosoyevski was a distinctly un-American figure."

Unfortunatly. He hold a lot of understanding of Russian mentality, particularelly the sense of what is right and wrong.

rshowalt - 08:05pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1885 of 1888)

We don't have to be alike. I appreciate Dosoyevski -- though not as you would.

I may add that Dosoyevski held some terribly merciless, right wing, reactionary views, and (the British author CP Snow speaks well about this) did finite harm by doing so.

If we UNDERSTAND our differences (that does NOT mean trying to eliminate them, on lots of essential aesthetic and cultural things) then we can cooperate - technically and at emotional levels, too, perfectly well.

I wasn't kidding when I suggest that Russian staffers talk to American authors -- all of whom, perhaps, should read Dostoyevski before the meeting as well --- to discuss differences, and do it perceptively, without fighting.

Now, Russians and Americans, when they disagree, are too prone to fight -- it scares both sides.

rshowalt - 08:11pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1886 of 1888)

If fights happen, in the discussion of disagreements, it would be nice to have them happen to very perceptive people, trying to learn how to interact, with the stakes lower than they are in military matters.

For practice, so that skills can accumulate to avoid problems when the stakes are high, and everybody on both sides is afraid.

rshowalt - 08:16pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1887 of 1888)

On matters of aesthetics, disagreement may be essential -- but so is understanding.

Aesthetics count, and count for very much, in negotiation sequences of all kinds.

Americans and Russians have some cultural "mismatches" that complicate cooperation between them, but, with more intellectual understanding of the differences, these differences need not stand in the way of cooperation -- and sympathy as well.

Also, each side needs to know more about when the other side is lying, and when there is an honest misunderstanding. Both sides are quite capable of deceptive practice. I don't believe it would be difficult to come up with many examples of that, going both ways.

rshowalt - 08:24pm Apr 1, 2001 EST (#1888 of 1888)

It might also be good for Russians to actually see, at the level where decisions and negotiations actually happen, a complex political negotiation in a well run American institution - with the complexities and ambivalences that are there. I've suggested one involving my old partner, Steve Kline, at Condaleeza Rice's own Stanford University -- and another one, which would also be most informative to Russians, going on, with excellent documentation, among people of good will (by American standards) at the University of Wisconsin.

Studying either interaction, your people might think they were on another planet. Our institutions are different. But you'd learn something.

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