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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 - 07:49pm Jul 22, 2001 EST (#7294 of 7334) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

AMERICAN WAY: A World Seeking Security Is Told There's Just One Shield By MICHAEL WINES starts:

" Moscow GEOPOLITICS needn't be mind- bending. Think of a centuries-long floating poker game in which the lead keeps changing hands, from Greece to Rome, Spain to Britain, France to Prussia. These days, one player not only holds the chips and a stack of i.o.u.'s; he has most of his rivals' clothes, too.

The idea of "geopolitics" as a "game" is an old one -- one taught very carefully and explicitly by in the German academic school of "geopolitics" which Hitler used to support his sense that, for "world historical figures, or nations" -- there was no morality. In Herman Wouk's War and Remembrance series, there is a fictional German General Von Roon, imprisoned for war crimes, who writes realistically in this traditions. The tradition was followed, with a change in language, by academics such as Hans Morgnthau, and diplomat-academics like Henry Kissinger who were deeply influenced (sometimes by means of personal contact) by this German tradition.

Here is Condaleezza Rice:

"I read early on and was influenced by [Hans] Morgenthau”

The problems with viewing "geopolitics" as a "game" "above and beyond morality" is that it leads to gruesome consequences.

From this perspective, human costs aren't accounted -- from this perspective, human pain doesn't exist. Nazis often slept easily, indoctrinated, and in their view excused, by a "geopolitical view."

Americans, who year after year have been explicitly denying the relevance of morality to politics, have found a geopolitical view essential as a way of justifying their nuclear agressiveness, as well.

The "geopolitical" view -- the view of international politics as a "game" - - leads logically to actions, like some of Kissinger's, that can, in Freidman's words "make Machiavelli seem like one of the Angels of Mercy."

MD5470-74 rshowalter 6/19/01 4:46pm

MD5784-5787 rshowalter 6/22/01 1:05pm

MD7048 rshowalter 7/15/01 10:51am

rshowalter - 07:50pm Jul 22, 2001 EST (#7295 of 7334) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Now, for reasons of decency, but also because world power is becoming both more widely distributed and more diffused, we have to do better than that.

We can.

Today there was progress -- though there would have been more progress on small arms if moral sensitity had been greater.

In the new world, where more things are to be seen, and learned about in detail -- higher standards of morality are becoming more practical than before. It is becoming more important to take into account the idea that unjust killing is unfortunate - even if it happens to be the killing of noncitizens of the nation state considering costs.

We are living in a world where the incentives toward peace are getting greater, and the penalities for military agressiveness are getting greater - and we may, acting reasonably, be able to preserve the world, and make it a more comfortable and prosperous place.

rshowalter - 07:55pm Jul 22, 2001 EST (#7296 of 7334) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Russia's military and security needs, and America's military and security needs, ought to be entirely compatable here - - especially when both sides reasonably estimate what "missile defense" and "space based weapons" can reasonably be expected to do, in the forseeable future.

They can be expected to do very little.

If the americans have to take some time to make sure of that, within reasonable negotiated safeguards, the Russians may, considering the situation as a whole, have no reason to object.

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