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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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rshowalter - 06:41pm Jul 14, 2001 EST (#7025 of 7028) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

MD6642 rshowalter 7/5/01 12:46pm ... MD6643 rshowalter 7/5/01 12:46pm

With the ingenuity the Bush administration is now devoting to making its case for missile defense (and you have to credit them with ingenuity and initiative on this) they could probably figure out how to achieve real peace, solve the global warming problem, and assure the whole world an adequate and safe energy supply, forever.

They might get water desalinization to something close to thermodynamic effiency as well - so that the energy in a unit volume of oil could be traded, on the needed scale at the needed rates -- for 15,000+ unit volumes of clean water.

The engineers over their heads on missile defense could do possible technical jobs pretty well.

The Bush administration has embraced a longstanding mess - but they've inherited the mess. They didn't make it. They'd get a lot more credit for fixing it than they're getting, and going to get, for what they're now doing.

What they are doing now is making a mess much worse, rather than fixing it.

With the facts that apply on missile defense - there isn't any question what the proper Harvard Business School approach shoud be. Assets in a hopeless program, human and institutional, should be redeployed to where they can do some good. President Bush made shift to pass through HBS with an MBA - and he should know what leadership takes in a case like this.

rshowalter - 10:24pm Jul 14, 2001 EST (#7026 of 7028) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

July 15, 2001

Nuclear Arms Still Keep the Peace by ROBERT S. McNAMARA and THOMAS GRAHAM Jr.

"WASHINGTON In recent statements, Bush administration officials have called for the United States to cast aside so-called relics of the cold war. On Thursday, for example, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told a Senate committee that the administration's missile-defense program will "inevitably bump up against" the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty "in months." Even the concept of nuclear deterrence is not immune to this desire to clean house. In mid- June President Bush stated his intention to move away from the logic of mutually assured destruction "the capacity of each of us, each country, to blow each other up," as he said in favor of a new framework based on some combination of strategic offensive and defensive systems.

"But deterrence, and the agreements that frame it, must continue to be a factor in American-Russian relations for the foreseeable future. Neither the United States nor Russia has committed to the near elimination of strategic nuclear arsenals, which would be required to move away from mutual deterrence. Indeed, both sides seem intent on maintaining large nuclear arsenals in perpetuity. So far, in calling for consultations among the five nuclear powers aimed at cutting American and Russian arsenals to 1,500 warheads each, Moscow has proposed the steepest cuts.

"But while such cuts would represent a significant reduction from current levels, the remaining American and Russian arsenals would still be more than enough to obliterate each side. The sense, and reality, of mutually assured destruction will not be altered at all.

"Nuclear deterrence cannot simply be mandated, legislated or wished away. It is a function of the relationship between two states that are potential adversaries, each equipped with large numbers of nuclear weapons.

"In the case of the United States and Russia, for deterrence to become truly obsolete a relationship similar to that between the United States and Great Britain would need to emerge which can only happen over the course of many decades, at a minimum.

"For the foreseeable future Moscow and Washington will remain at least potential adversaries, as evidenced by the nature of Russian objections to American missile-defense plans. President Vladimir Putin has already said that a Bush-led breakdown in the ABM Treaty would provoke Russia to increase its nuclear capability, a point echoed by Vladimir Rushailo, secretary of Russia's Security Council, in reacting to Mr. Wolfowitz's recent Senate testimony.


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