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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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newyorktimes1479 - 04:42pm Jul 19, 2001 EST (#7248 of 7257)

I agree Bush and his adminstration is dumb and dumber. He'll have Russia and China in an arms race against United States. Way to go, jeopardizing any peace and arms race agreement we've had in past adminstrations. Pray, there's no second term for these bunglers.

rshowalter - 04:49pm Jul 19, 2001 EST (#7249 of 7257) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

It is an arms race that the US could easily lose, in the ways that matter for real military action -- because we're squandering our money and manpower on technology that can't work and corrupting both our military and our contractor base in the process.

Russia and China, working together, might well be able to make all the massive expenditures the US has spent weapons and military forces look ridiculous. They might do something really effective - concentrate on weapons and tactics that could actually work.

Peace would be much better, and safer -- every which way.

rshowalter - 04:50pm Jul 19, 2001 EST (#7250 of 7257) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

And both the Russians and the Chinese, for all their many faults, seem to be working to find peaceful accomodations.

It is the US that is throwing hope away.

rshowalter - 05:15pm Jul 19, 2001 EST (#7251 of 7257) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Movies are a rich, complex, clear medium -- and I think that's useful here. I hope you know these movies, or know something about them. The movies I have in mind are West Side Story , which is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet ; Dr. Strangelove ; Mary Poppins ; and, in my view perhaps the richest of all movies, Casablanca.
MD3383 rshowalter 5/6/01 8:37pm ... MD3384 rshowalter 5/6/01 8:37pm
MD3385 rshowalter 5/6/01 8:41pm

Especially this: .. MD2887 rshowalter 5/1/01 12:31pm :

" I feel that we need to move away from Dr. Stragelove "solutions" -- and toward the kinds of focused, disciplined, graceful solutions that ordinary people so often craft in their own lives -- the sorts of solutions that make room for life -- the kinds that another very tough character, Mary Poppins , might approve of.

" Something I've always liked about the movie Mary Poppins is that the heroine moves into a ugly mess. The ugliness is realistically portrayed. With some steadfastness, and some grace, she uses very specific knowledge of specific people and situations. There's the occasional coercive act or credible threat, but always she is proportionate, and graceful outcomes are arranged as well. Things are worked out to a higher level of grace and practicality than existed in the household before, though nobody loses their basic weaknesses and flaws.

" We've had a lot of Dr. Strangelove in our international arrangements. Maybe we can't do away with all of it, though I think we can.

" But we could use some of the Mary Poppins virtues, too.

MD6906 almarst-2001 7/10/01 9:43pm ... MD6907 rshowalter 7/10/01 9:48pm
MD6908 almarst-2001 7/10/01 10:34pm ... MD6919 rshowalter 7/11/01 10:51am

Plenty of ugliness, all around. No getting rid of all of it. But we can do better -- with fewer negatives, and more positives. To do it, again and again, we need more of a sense of proportion.

A sense of the quantitative -- a sense of the core mathematical question, which is "how much?"

Disproportion is ugly and there's plenty of it.

I wish that Bush and his high officers, when they found things getting ugly, would think harder about the ideas they were basing their decisions on. They could be wrong - - in both a practical and moral sense. The two kinds of "wrong" go together pretty often.

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