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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?
(7334 previous messages)
- 10:54am Jul 23, 2001 EST (#7335
Placing one's foot into the shoe
of world leadership is an onerous undertaking!
- 04:47pm Jul 23, 2001 EST (#7336
Rice and Putin both have to deal with a number of issues as they
try to set up a system of negotiations that can work for all
concerned, and which can come to workable resolutions quickly.
I'll divide the issues, as I see them, into two broad classes:
" Fundamental issues of "good faith" --
" Procedural issues."
- 04:50pm Jul 23, 2001 EST (#7337
FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES OF "GOOD FAITH"
Each side needs to find out if the other side has clear
objectives, in their own mind, that they can and will communicate
clearly to the other.
. Objectives that can be evaluated in a context
of evidence and ideas that the two sides may feel very differently
about. But objectives that each side understands, and can
communicate among its own, and to their opposite numbers. That
means both sides have to be able to ask for explanations that they
can check -- under the circumstances that are there
-- where all issues exist along a negotiated continuum of
trust and distrust -- and where trust that can be relied on
can be supported by checking.
. If both sides are "looking for a new framework
of peace" -- and are acting in good faith at this level -- then
much is possible. If a comfort level at this level cannot be
achieved, both sides need to be able to say why it does not exist,
and should be willing to say so in public, or at the least, to
the leaders and staffs of other nation states.
If one assumes that the "stand-ins" gisterme and
almarst reasonably reflect the views of the Bush
administration and Putin's government then there should be things
each side should be willing to say, and be asked to relate actions
- 04:55pm Jul 23, 2001 EST (#7338
the Bush administration should be willing to say:
. We aren't trying to threaten Russia at all --
want to take active steps to avoid it. But we're concerned with
risks we believe we face from missile attacks, and want to be able
to go forward, as effectively as we can, to defend ourselves from
these "threats." ( And even if we've got some technical
doubts, as a practical matter, we're politically committed to
doing this, have an infrastructure that can't stop on a dime, and
have to give it our best efforts. We aren't threatening Russia as
we do this -- and Russia should find ways to modify old agreements
to accomodate our needs. ) Whatever may have been true during the
Cold War, the Cold War is over, and now our overwhelming
objective is to find a way to live in peace, with our own people
safe and comfortable, without hurting anybody else.
the Russian administration should be willing to say:
. We don't take the rogue missile threat
seriously, as you do - - but if this was your only objective --
not dominating the world, not reducing our security -- we might
not object. Especially since the programs involved have
major technical problems. But we can't believe, based on our
past experiences, that this is really what you're asking for.
We're concerned that you are wishing to use your military force to
get your way on every issue -- we feel that you are making wars
that aren't necessary -- inventing risks that aren't real -- as a
pretext for building military forces that permit you to dominate
the world, without any concern for the wishes or welfare of
anybody but yourselves. The Cold War ought to be over, and our
overwhelming objective is to find a way to live in peace and
security, with our own people safe and comfortable, without
hurting anybody else, but without having to defer to the dictates
of the United States, either.
If that's the situation between the Bush and Putin
administrations, and both sides are speaking sincerely, in ways that
connect to checkable actions, then there are ways to come to an
If this isn't the situation -- and if there are fundamantal
inconsistencies between what people are claiming, and what they
really seem to be negotiating for, then there ought to be ways, in
the dialog, to establish that a negotiation in good faith isn't
In that case, both sides can be expected to do choose what is in
their national interest, in the world as it is. Both sides have
to care "what the neighbors think."
In a physical situation where it looks like missile
defense can't possibly work, there would seem to be possibilities
for reframing, in the interest of both sides.
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