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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 - 09:14pm Jul 18, 2001 EST (#7175 of 7176) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

A lot of this thread has been devoted to explaining to gisterme , our Bush administration stand-in, that missile defense doesn't work -- as Friedman also points out

. A Memo From Osama by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Much other time has been devoted to showing almarst , our Putin stand-in, that, though Russia may have reasons to distrust the US, and be angry at past US actions, the missile shield is not a serious threat to Russia -- it can't work well enough to be. I've spent a good deal of time, recently, on the space based lasar issue -- where there is no weapons potential at all - - something easy to see, once you start applying numbers to cases, especially because it is easy to immunize missiles from lasars with reflective coatings. In addition -- there are many basic mathematical difficulties with the controls -- even if the programming could be flawless, for reasons Russia should be able to evaluate very well, from basic references such as Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming , and a knowledge of the calculations involved.

The "threat" of "brilliant pebbles" -- raised again today, would be "less" - to stretch the word "less", in the sense that the brilliant pebbles program is technically impossible in more different ways than the lasar program is.

As the G-8 meetings begin, it seems to me that things are reasonably well set up, from all sides, from the perspective of someone hoping to move things toward peaceful accomodation for the real people involved.

Russia isn't "losing it's cool."

. Putin Says Russia Won't Join China in Countering U.S. Shield By MICHAEL WINES

And though the weakness of the US position is clear, the administration presses on, decentering the situation in a way that won't yield real missile defense, but which might perhaps, if the Senate plays a constructive role, get some realities established, and move circumstances toward real, sustainable peace.

Brilliant pebbles are not a credible threat - - Pentagon Revisits a Space Defense Plan By JAMES GLANZ

and the administration is negotiating in an awkward position . . . with the Democrats taking the positions that most normal people would call "conservative" -- while the Republicans advocate some very expensive bluffing. Democrats Are Warned on Missile Stance By JAMES DAO

Almarst has been very concerned with the notion that Russia and other nations would be helpless in the face of US power.

It isn't working out that way, and I think today's editorial, Triangular Diplomacy sets things out with some reasonable balance.

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