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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?
(1903 previous messages)
- 08:36am Apr 2, 2001 EST (#1904
In NYT OpEd today: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/02/opinion/02BLIN.html
NATO Needs to Grow by ANTONY J. BLINKEN
WASHINGTON — "The turn toward confrontation in
America's relations with Russia threatens to undermine the
expansion of NATO in northern Europe, a prospect that could
seriously damage American security interests. If the current
difficulties persist, Moscow will try to draw a red line around
the Baltic states, keeping them out of the treaty organization —
and the European allies will probably go along. This would result
in a fundamental weakening of NATO's role in bringing stability to
post-cold-war Europe. . . . . "
Given the Bush administrations turn toward confrontation, perhaps
the piece might be as well titled "NATO does not Need to
Grow" . . . .
No one doubts the need to bring stability to post-cold-war Europe
-- indeed, it is massively in the interest of all nation states to
end the cold war. Neither the US nor Russia have been as effective
as they could have been in doing this.
Russia occupied many countries, against the will of many or most
of the people in those countries, for many years, and the amount of
anger and ill will that persists is still large, and in some ways
even a festering wound. I, for one, do not dispute the compelling
reasons the Russian state had to do so -- though I wish those
reasons had not been as they were. Perhaps, with better negotiations
on both sides, and some different decisions on both sides, the past
could have been better than it was. But what happened happened.
Though the cold-war is over, the peacemaking process certainly
I've suggested that Russia needs to "make peace" with America,
not only at the level of a few top leaders, but at many human
levels, so that its own necessarily complex and multiply articulated
sociotechnical system can interact with the similarly complex and
multiply articulated but different sociotechnical system(s)
of the United States.
I'd suggest something exactly similar with respect to Russia and
other nation states, and especially those nation states that were on
the USSR's side of the "Iron Curtain." Insofar as the Russians can
apologize to them for real wrongs done, explaining at the same time
her circumstances and necessities, she should, as a nation state,
and at individual levels.
Insofar as Russia can find specific tangible ways to assure the
necessarily wary and emotional people in these countries that she
does not intend to invade them, that would be very good for
all concerned, and for the peace of the world. Openness, at many
levels, would be useful here. The fiction that Russia may
invade these countries has real, expensive consequences. If Russia,
in interaction with the people of these nations, and their
governments, could find ways to reduce the credibility of this
fearful fiction, especially with hard information and clear
arrangements that tend to make invasion militarily impossible at a
minimum cost that would reduce the reason-for-being of military
forces, all through Eurasia. The more publicly this is done, the
better it would be for the cause of peace, and for Russia.
Very analogous, though not identical, arguments can be made about
the relations between Russia and China. Reasons for hostility
between the two countries go back 900 years -- and some of the past
is horrific. Even so, now it would be in the interest of both
sides to communicate better. And if both sides became more assured
and reasonably assured that aggressive military action
between the two countries was not going to occur, with as much as
possible done, in terms of information flows, to see that it
could not occur.
- 08:37am Apr 2, 2001 EST (#1905
Russia has been subject, first as the USSR, and still today, to
efforts to defame her character -- to reduce the status of those who
deal with her. Too often, in the past, Russia has made this easy.
Now, in her own interests, and the interests of peace in the world,
she should make it hard.
There are a number of people, and powers, that Russia should want
to respect, and should want to be respected by. People who care
about what the Queen of England thinks, and what she stands for, all
over the world, are among them. If Russia could comport herself in a
manner that the Queen of England would approve of, that would
powerfully serve the cause of peace, the cause of prosperity, and
Russia's own interests. There would be no need to become any less
Russian for this to happen. You're asking for my advice sometimes,
and I'm honored to give it, to the extent that I believe that serves
the interests of my own country, the cause of justice, and the cause
of peace (interests that do not reasonably conflict.) You might
seriously consider, I believe, if only as a thought experiment,
asking the Queen of England, or someone in the Privy Coucil who she
recommends, how Russia can change, in graceful ways within Russia's
own interest, in order to raise her status and effectiveness as a
peaceful power in the community of nations. In areas where her
expertise is greatest, Russia is sometimes weakest. I might add that
the Queen has a constitutional "duty to warn" and, with
respect to nuclear weapons, and military instabilities, that duty is
a powerful thing that might serve not only her nation, but the
world, if she were to help Russia become a higher status, more
effective, less threatening, more respected citizen in the community
- 08:39am Apr 2, 2001 EST (#1906
The idea of 1859 rshowalter
4/1/01 12:56pm -1862, if implemented by the NYT, might be a
money maker for the paper, and might be more acceptable to all
concerned, if the "comment files" with respect to articles came to
be charged for, as the articles themselves are, after a time.
This would enhance the value of the NYT archive, and would tend
to shield comments from casually prying eyes, while preserving a
record for people with a real interest in the information.
This might also make people asked for comment on stories more
willing to comment.
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