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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?
(7362 previous messages)
- 09:28am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7363
The US could become degenerate in that way - but I don't think
so. Ten years ago, many thought Japan was oging to dominate the
world -- but Japan had contradictions built into its usages -- and
rather than facing them, they stagnated. Japan is now far, far
behind where it would have been if it had been able to face its
challenges, at home and abroad, with more forthrightness.
America could stagnate, too. But we're a more diverse culture --
and I think we'll finally look at our situation, and take reasonable
actions. But just now, reasons to wake up are accumulating
fast. The speed and coherence of the world reaction the
Bush's response on global warming should be a warning.
- 09:29am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7364
Isolated on Global Warming http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/24/opinion/24TUE1.html
"A wallflower at what might have been its own victory party,
the United States could only watch yesterday as 178 countries agreed
on a deal that salvages the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and commits the rest
of the industrialized world to orderly, mandatory reductions in the
gases that are believed responsible for the warming of the earth's
atmosphere. The door was left open for the Bush administration to
sign on at any time in the future. But that seems unlikely.
President Bush has already called the treaty "fatally flawed," and
nothing said yesterday by Paula Dobriansky, the under secretary of
state who led an essentially irrelevant American delegation at the
talks, suggested any change in Mr. Bush's thinking.
"The agreement must still be ratified by 55 industrialized
countries, and even then will not be nearly as effective as it might
have been if the United States, which emits one-fourth of the
world's greenhouse gases, had signed on. Even so, the agreement will
immediately increase the pressure on the administration to develop a
plausible alternative strategy. Key Democrats are already calling
for big reductions in carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas,
through cleaner power plants, industrial processes and vehicles.
"There is also pressure from the business community. Many
corporate leaders are convinced that the United States will
eventually have to join in fighting global warming, and would prefer
to begin making capital investments now than waiting until the last
minute, when the job will be more expensive. Some corporate leaders
are also worried that without binding targets, American companies
will have no incentive to develop technologies to reduce global
warming gases, thereby ceding a lucrative market to the Europeans
and the Japanese.
"The huge irony is that this agreement was tailored in many
respects to American specifications — and with an eye to reducing
the putative burdens on America's economy that Mr. Bush used as an
excuse to abandon not only the protocol but also his campaign pledge
to impose mandatory controls on carbon dioxide. The agreement
includes at least two important strategies that President Bill
Clinton and Al Gore insisted on in Kyoto four years ago. One is an
emissions trading scheme that is designed to use market mechanisms
to allow countries to achieve their emissions targets at the lowest
possible cost. The other is the so-called "clean development
mechanism" under which rich countries can earn credits by providing
cutting-edge clean-air technologies to poorer countries.
"Cementing the deal required softening some of Kyoto's
emissions targets as well as making concessions to Japan, which
sought and received extra credits toward its target for protecting
its forests, which act as a "sink" for carbon dioxide through
photosynthesis. And while the revised agreement gives extra credit
to Japan for protecting its own forests, it perversely awards no
credit at all for projects designed to stop tropical deforestation
elsewhere. But even the severest critics conceded that these
shortcomings were not disqualifying given the importance of the
agreement as a whole.
"The hope now is to have the necessary ratifications in hand
by the 10th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Summit on global warming in
Johannesburg next year. It was at Rio that Mr. Bush's father first
committed the United States to a global effort to reduce greenhouse
gases. There is still time for his son to honor that commitment.
- 09:32am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7365
the conditions were rigged to make it easier for the
intercepting rocket to recognise its target
- 09:33am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7366
When does the checking of matters of fact become morally
In the United States, today, and elsewhere in the world, the
answer is -- "never, if people in power don't want the facts to be
known and verified."
Friedman raises some crucial points, including some that he's
raised before. Does anybody have to answer? The answer, in detail,
explains a lot about what we ought to fear, and what we might hope,
with some patterns changed.
- 09:38am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7367
Today's Russians, who have endured enough change to last them
several lifetimes, certainly value the current calm. They also
prize Vladimir Putin, the president whom they see as its architect.
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