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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?
(7367 previous messages)
- 09:38am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7368
MAD Isn't Crazy by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/24/opinion/24FRIE.html
"I sure welcome the news that the Bush team will open missile
talks with Russia, because it might bring some clarity to the
Bushies' arguments on missile defense, which have been at best
incoherent and at worst dishonest.
"Look at the Republican arms expert Richard Perle's Senate
testimony last week. He was trying to justify why we need missile
defense against rogue leaders, who, he claimed, cannot be deterred
by the classic doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD), which
has kept the peace for 50 years. "[Some say] you can count on Saddam
to be deterred by our deterrent," said Mr. Perle. "I frankly don't
want to count on the rational judgment of a man who used poison gas
against his own people."
"Let's dissect that statement. Mr. Perle is comparing the
Iraqi people to the American people, and suggesting that since
Saddam used gas against his own people, you never know, he may do
the same to us.
"Well, there is one small difference between us and the Iraqi
people: We have nuclear weapons to retaliate with and they did not.
During the gulf war Saddam had poison gas warheads. He was warned by
the elder President Bush that if he used that poison gas against
U.S. troops, his regime would be wiped off the planet. And he didn't
use it. Not only did he not use it against our troops in a war on
his own border, with his whole regime and maybe his own life in the
balance, he did not even put poison gas on the Scuds he fired at
Israel, which would have been enormously popular in the Arab world.
Why not? Classic deterrence. He knew the Israelis would destroy
"In other words, the one thing we know about Saddam is that
given the ideal opportunity to use weapons of mass destruction
against us, before we had any missile shield, he chose not to for
exactly the reasons that the Bushies insist are out of date —
classic deterrence. Saddam understands something the Bushies refuse
to admit: that there is a difference between evil and crazy. Saddam
is evil. But he has survived all these years precisely because he's
- 09:41am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7369
"This gets to the core problem with the Bush approach to
missile defense. It is based on flimsy or dishonest arguments,
including: (1) We need a missile shield because the cold war
deterrence doctrine of MAD, mutual assured destruction, is out of
date. The truth: We will continue to rely on MAD for decades to
come. Indeed, the U.S. is now so overpowering, the only thing that
might be new about MAD is that it is no longer mutual. Any rogues
firing a missile at us would end up with TAD — Their Assured
Destruction. (2) Classic deterrence can't be relied upon to work
against rogues because they are crazy. The truth: All evidence
proves just the opposite.
"The Bushies resort to these tall tales because they are
theologically obsessed with missile defense. So to justify spending
$100 billion on a system to deter rogues who are already deterred by
classic deterrence, and to justify ripping up the ABM treaty (the
Bushies' real goal, because they hate arms control), they have to
make wildly exaggerated claims that we are in a whole new era and
the old ways won't work.
"As I said before, I am not theologically against missile
defense, but it has to be judged by what it really is — a defense
system that will always be, at best, a supplement to mutual assured
destruction, which is neither out of date nor going away. It is like
wearing suspenders along with a belt.
"Sure, it would be nice to have some extra protection against
rogues. But if the Bush team wants us to pay huge money for such
suspenders it must prove that missile defense works under
battlefield conditions, which it hasn't; that it can be deployed
without alienating Russia and China, which can overwhelm any system
by simply selling missiles to rogues; and that the system will not
cost so much that it will divert needed resources from weapons and
army units, which already do work against real threats.
"Missile defense isn't like abortion, where the only issue is
whether you're for or against it," says Michael Mandelbaum, the
Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert. "Who wouldn't want both a belt
and suspenders? The question is, what are the economic and strategic
costs, and what are the alternatives?"
"These require honest arguments, not theology, and the Bushies
have not made them.
Comment: If the Bush administration does not have
to make honest arguments, in the United States, on an issue of
this importance, the rest of the world should take notice. If
these are the rules by which the United States judges - where, on
matters of military significance -- matters of life and death,
survival and murder -- are they to be trusted?
- 09:50am Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7370
Guardian have a series
on Chetnyia. (Johnathon STEELE)
Locals have no water, power ..
have to buy water from Russian troups.
Russians failing to win
over local people.
10-20 Russians killed per week by mines.
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