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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 - 10:02am Jul 15, 2001 EST (#7042 of 7054) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

MD4207 rshowalter 5/25/01 5:09pm . . . basic facts have to be determined, have to be common ground.

The US has been grossly more agressive than it has admitted to. That has stood in the way of progress again and again. And if the US is saying "trust us" now -- it has to take some steps to earn trust. The trend, in the last few months, is that the US has gotten less trusted, by most governments of the world.

MD4208 rshowalter 5/25/01 5:23pm

My experience is that when people are angry at each other, for any reason, and disagreeing about key facts -- fighting is a distinct possibility.

That means that one way to provoke a fight is to lie.

Fact finding - about the facts where passions are running -- seems to me to be the primordial - the most basic, task of peacemaking. Not the only one, of course. But fundamental - and the place where intractable problems most often occur.

MD4209 rshowalter 5/25/01 5:45pm

It seems to me that internet usages (perhaps with some crowd control, but in the open, and adequately staffed ) offer sensationally effective means of getting facts straight. And getting differences clear.

MD4210 rshowalter 5/25/01 6:04pm

" ....there's a phrase that I read once. Three words.

" Hitler went unchecked. "

The context was political and military. But facts and ideas went unchecked too. Hitler subverted an entire society based on nonsense and lies, many ornately detailed, and destroyed much of the world in doing so. He hoped, in the senses that matter to most of us, to destroy the whole world. In the ways that mattered, he wasn't effectively checked at the level of ideas.

In the preface to Brecht's Galileo , there's something like this.

" It takes courage to face the fact that sometimes the truth is defeated because the truth is, somehow, too weak."

I find the idea that truth can be "somehow, too weak" haunting.

We need techniques and conventions that make it stronger.

MD4211 rshowalter 5/25/01 6:05pm

Notions of responsibility could be clarified, too.

lunarchick - 10:19am Jul 15, 2001 EST (#7043 of 7054)

* ___ & ____ long shots

rshowalter - 10:27am Jul 15, 2001 EST (#7044 of 7054) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The Coyle Report


makes clear how terribly inadequate missile defense simulations are.

The reason is basic. The combinatorial complexity of the problem makes even simulation mathematically intractable. To get beyond standard C1 - especially beyond tests where there IS no real decoy, because the radar signature of "decoy" and weapon are so distinct -- is going to be mathematically imposible (of more than polynomial difficulty) for any of the threats that the US is really worrying about.

The program is a very expensive fraud -- in all the ways that ought to matter for the welfare of the United States or the world.

rshowalter - 10:31am Jul 15, 2001 EST (#7045 of 7054) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The Coyle report reinforces some things that I've been saying on this thead -- that, in essential ways, the missile defense program not only lacks credible tests (the test yesterday was little more than a stunt with a 100 million $ price tag) for the program to be any real good, it would have to come up with "miracle" after "miracle" --advances that appear to be totally improbable in terms of extensive open literature performance data. This is a point that ought to be checked, completely and in public, because so much is at stake.

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