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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?
(7076 previous messages)
- 09:53am Jul 16, 2001 EST (#7077
In MD7070 almarst-2001
7/16/01 7:26am almarst talks about how easy it is to buy
popularity with money. He's right that money, combined with other
things, can be powerful, but what he says is unbalanced.
Money makes a difference. A big difference. But it goes only so
far -- and the application of advertising or public relations money
to a product that does not please the consumer can backfire ,
and backfire badly.
In fact, it is a major axiom of the advertising industry that the
best way to destroy a bad product is to advertise it.
The Bush administration has been pushing missile defense
very hard - and pushing many other pro-war, proisolationist -
unilateralist positions very hard. They've been persuasive in a
sense -- very persuasive -- the prestige and credibility of the
United States is declining at a great rate.
The position of many american officials and military officers may
be much like that of an article set out in MD7036 rshowalter
7/15/01 8:52am ....
. FLYING INTO TURBULENCE by: Peter Martin
The piece bears reading -- not only because it shows what some
people feel -- but because the Web site that features it does so - -
and reveals its perspective by so doing. For myself, I'd be hard
put to imagine "advertising" more destructive to american presige or
interests. I think most Europeans, and many if not most
Americans, would agree.
Today, in the Op Ed page of the NYT, some similar points are
made, as clearly, though much more politely, in
. Europe's Chance in the Mideast by
GEOFFREY WHEATCROFT http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/16/opinion/16WHEA.html
, which starts:
" On a range of issues from global warming to
the small arms trade, the policy gulf between Europe and America
is noticeably widening. . . . . .
. . . .
" If Europe is drawn more and more into the
Middle East, it won't be for only economic reasons. Political
nature abhors a vacuum, and one is being created by President
Bush's dislike of intimate involvement in the conflict. (And,
I'd add, other isolationist and unilateralist policies.)
Here's a key point, about how effective Bush's arguments, backed
with much money is, from Wheatcroft's article:
. The European Union may be an effective free
trade area, but it does not, as yet, have an effective common
foreign or defense policy. Henry Kissinger used to say that he
would take "Europe" seriously when it had a telephone number he
could call in a crisis. Might the bitter and intractable battle in
the Holy Land provide the occasion for making Europe a real,
working toll-free number?
That and other things might -- the policies of the Bush
administration are losing support -- at a rate that might have
astonished most observers -- all over the world -- and that will
effect his support in the United States, as well, where false
advertising sometimes works for a while, but can backfire, as well.
- 09:54am Jul 16, 2001 EST (#7078
Ideas matter - and in the long run, ideas that can actually
fit in people's heads, and fit with people's circumstances,
matter very much.
For a group, including the Bush administration, to maintain
power, either domestically, or in international relations, it must
work by rules of power that are universal and basic.
Adolf Berle's Laws of Power , and some related matters,
connected to Bush, Putin, and Missile Defense, are cited in
According to Berle, who I believe is right in this, frameworks of
power are always subject to these rules.
One: Power invariably fills any vacuum in human
Two: Power is invariably personal.
Three: Power is invariably based on a system of
ideas of philosophy. Absent such a system or philosophy, the
institutions essential to power cease to be reliable, power ceases
to be effective, and the power holder is eventually displaced.
Four: Power is exercised through, and depends
on, institutions. By their existence, they limit, come to control,
and eventually confer or withdraw power.
Five: Power is invariably confronted with, and
acts in the presence of, a field of responsibility. The two
constantly interact, in hostility or co-operation, in conflict or
through some form of dialog, organized or unorganized, made part
of, or perhaps intruding into, the institutions on which power
Judged by these standards, the application of money, and human
effort, can be essential -- but it is nothing like sufficient for
real power. Ideas matter too, and matter a great deal. If a case is
insupportable on evidence, people notice.
In important ways, the Bush administration is degrading and
forfeiting American power, at a great rate, all over the world.
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