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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 - 04:01pm Jul 16, 2001 EST (#7085 of 7087) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

"On missile defense, the two leaders said, "Russia and China stress the basic importance of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which is a cornerstone of strategic stability and the basis for reducing offensive weapons." Both countries "speak out for maintaining the treaty in its current form."

"This last statement will complicate the strategy of the Bush administration, which last week indicated it would seek to conclude an agreement with Russia that would allow the United States to conduct an aggressive program of testing missile defense interceptors, even building new missile silos and radars in Alaska, without treating these tests as a violation of the 1972 accord.

Comment: Formally agressive the proposals may be -- but I hope that the physically minimal technical threat, due to unchangeable inadequacies in the program that can be checked, will be remembered as well.

"In a news conference that followed the signing of documents, President Jiang addressed the strategic dimensions of today's treaty, saying that stepped-up cooperation between Beijing and Moscow would improve global stability.

"We believe that more active cooperation between our countries in discussing missile defenses and disarmament will enhance our efforts in building a multipolar world and establish a fair, rational international order," the Chinese leader said.

"Mr. Putin agreed and he seemed to be positioning himself to arrive at the summit meeting of the Group of Eight large industrial nations in Genoa, Italy, later this week where he will meet President Bush for the second time as the spokesman for a larger constituency of countries disaffected with American leadership.

"We believe predictability in relations based on good neighborliness and legal ties" between Russia and China "will influence international affairs in a considerable and positive way," Mr. Putin said.

"Mr. Putin also more forcefully stated Russia's opposition to NATO expansion, a new round of which is now scheduled to be announced at a summit meeting in Prague in November 2002.

"Speaking in an interview to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Mr. Putin said further NATO expansion to Russia's borders would prolong the divisions of the cold war.

""The problem should be simple," he said. "In the West, everyone says, `We don't want new divisions in Europe, we don't want new Berlin Walls.' Good. We completely agree.

""But when NATO enlarges, division doesn't disappear, it simply moves towards our borders," Mr. Putin said. He complained that NATO in Europe was free to pursue the political objectives of the Western Alliance even when there was no agreement in the United Nations Security Council for action.

""The divisions will continue until there is a single security area in Europe," Mr. Putin told the Milan-based newspaper, and he suggested that just as the Warsaw Pact had been disbanded, NATO could also be disbanded in favor of a broader security structure, presumably one that included Russia. "But that is not even taken into consideration," he said.

. Thomas Frieman's comments in Who's Crazy Here? . . . . and A Memo From Osama

"In addition to the strategic dimension of the treaty, Russia and China formally agreed to further reduce military forces in border regions, fight terrorism and drug trafficking, work to resolve the final disputes along their 2,550 miles frontier and prevent "groups,"" or third countries, from using the territory of one country as a base against the other. They also agreed not to aim their strategic nuclear weapons at each other and work to solve any dispute peacefully.

"Mr. Jiang will make a visit to World War II memorials in Volgograd, the site of the decisive Battle of Stalingrad, and then travel to Belarus, Moldova and Malt

rshowalter - 04:03pm Jul 16, 2001 EST (#7086 of 7087) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

It will be harder and harder for the United States to maintain a unilateralist "my way or the highway" stance in international affairs. But the world also seems to be becoming more stable , with fewer conflicts, and fewer reasons for military responses from the United States. The reasons to get rid of nuclear risks are getting greater, and the means to rid the world of those risks seem to be developing, too.

Good to have you here, gisterme.

rshowalter - 04:09pm Jul 16, 2001 EST (#7087 of 7087) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

gisterme 7/16/01 3:56pm -- "maybe the sky isn't falling after all " ---

Doesn't look like it is falling to me, either.

There's a line I like from H.L. Menken about politicians, it goes something like this -- Menken speaks of

"Frauds and idiots . . . or smart boys, disguised as idiots to win the public confidence "

Could it be that the Bush administration is playing a deep, deep game, and playing it well?

You can make the case that they are doing everything they possibly can, -- to get the world organized for real peace and real disarmament - - by acting like "jerks."

Maybe it is absolutely the best that the administration can do.

But a more decorous approach might be found, if you thought hard, maybe.

- -

Am I being unfair?

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