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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 - 04:44pm Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7382 of 7402) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

One possibility, although only one, is that things are resolving gracefully, within real human limits.

But that dialogs, and thought processes, and arguments, and checking, and adjustment, take a while for real people.

Some days, like today, when things seem to be moving in directions that ought to make peace possible, I hope that may be true.

. . . .

There are other, much more pessimistic interpretations consistent with what I know, as well.

. . . .

Still, every once in a while, it is nice to have some hope.

rshowalter - 07:08pm Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7383 of 7402) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Some constructive dialog, that may be moving toward accomodation. :

July 24, 2001 Dems. Amazed at Bush's Russia View By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- "The Bush administration's apparent acceptance of Russia as a country that has put the Cold War behind it has left some Democratic senators expressing astonishment.

`` "It's amazing to me how secure we are about Russian intentions,'' Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., told Pentagon and State Department representatives Tuesday at a hearing on the administration's national missile defense plan.

" The hearing came two days after President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in Genoa, Italy, that the two countries would link talks on missile defense with discussions on reducing both sides' strategic weapons. High-level discussions to work on details were starting in Moscow on Wednesday.

" ``The Cold War is over,'' John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, told the committee. ``We need to move away from the remnants of a relationship that was one of ideological conflict and hostility with the Soviet Union.''

" Bolton and Douglas Feith, who was sworn in as undersecretary of defense for policy just last week, said the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that would be violated by a national missile defense ``codifies a Cold War relationship that is no longer relevant to the 21st Century.''

" ``The Russians know ... that nothing we are doing in this program is going to be undermining Russian security,'' Feith said. Any doubts they have would be allayed through the Moscow discussions, he said.

" In Russia, meanwhile, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Putin's right-hand man, said Tuesday that Moscow would consider making changes to the ABM Treaty, indicating a softening of Russian opposition to U.S. missile defense plans.

" Russia has long maintained the treaty is a keystone of global security, but Ivanov said Tuesday that if experts conclude some treaty changes won't harm Russia's security, he would report that to Putin, the Interfax news agency reported.

" ``Nobody knows where these consultations are going to come out for sure,'' Bolton told the U.S. Senate, ``but we want to start out on the optimistic side, hoping that ... through these discussions, we can come to a more normal relationship with Russia.''

" Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., like Biden, questioned the rosy prognosis for the U.S.-Russia relationship.

" ``Times change. Things happen. Countries don't trust each other,'' Kerry said. ``I don't know what's going to happen in 20 years. I don't know what kind of Russia we'll have in 20 years.''

" Kerry said he supports a limited missile defense system but said it could be far less expensive if it didn't have to counter accidental or unauthorized Russian launches as well as intentional attacks by rogue nations and terrorists.

" ``If our newfound relationship with Russia is indeed what you say it is ... could we not have a far more intrusive, joint protocol which would almost make it impossible to have an unauthorized launch -- a level of security with joint keys, or whatever?'' Kerry said.

" As for an accidental launch, he said, ``A technician ought to be able to push a button on a panel and blow the thing up.''

Comment: Senator Kerry has a good idea, one much more feasible than it used to be.

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