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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 - 05:20am Jul 26, 2001 EST (#7448 of 7448) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Russia needs to BUILD such standards -- in ways that work for Russia herself -- in ways that can stand the light of day in Russian terms --and by the standards of others as well. Many, all over the world, for all sorts of reasons, hope she can do so, and hope she is doing so.

Russia needs an effective journalism to do this -- needs ways to convey clear and checkable information - - ways that have to be, in significant part, directed with the Russian national interest at heart (something that is assumed about the TIMES, and rightly, a paper that has a public role, though it happens to be in private hands.) Many, all over the world, are watching this and hoping, warily, that it is happening. And that other things are happening, so that Russia works as a nation that serves its own interests clearly, in understandable ways, and that can interact with others in clear and understandable ways, as well.

Russia needs to build community standards that are beautiful enough for her. She needs them internally, and needs them in her international relationships, at all levels.

In the matter of nuclear weapons, and military balances, Russian security is vitally at stake, and of course all Russians know that. But because the matters involved are so public, and of such concern to the whole world, there is more at stake than that. The role of Russia on the world stage, and the willingness of other people, all over the world, to deal with Russia, in all sorts of ways, is involved, too.

Symettric things can be said about the United States. Symettric things on all points, and at all levels.

The matter involved here is both national and international, for the countries involved -- it involves the whole world, and I think that it is not sentimental, but intensely practical, to paraphrase the advice I was given in that committee room, years ago:

You have to ask, of whatever you're going to do . . . .

" What will what is said and done look like, and how would it be judged, if it was written up, in detail, in major newspapers, read by the intelligentsia, and by responsible people from all sorts of backgrounds, all over the world?

" There are community standards, about what is good function, and what isn't, on which people with literacy and stature agree. These community standards make for orderly and effecive behavior, in the complex world we live in, where so many billions of decisions, large and small, get made in the flow of our personal and national lives. These community standards are of compelling practical and moral force, if not always, very often.

If it were otherwise, the world would be even uglier than it is.

The nations of the world are becoming united, in interaction, to a degree that has not been true before. Organizations, such as the EU , and the United Nations , that have sometimes acted as ineffectual "packed committees" are coming to areas of broad agreement.

I hope that the United States acts as a good world citizen, and that Russia does, too. All concerned are expected to take care of their own interests. The stakes, in military terms, but at many other levels of international relations, including the cultural and the economic, are very high here.

There is a real chance for peace here. If Russia and the United States could come to some key agreements -- much good, for Russia, for the United States, and for the whole world, should be possible. I hope all concerned are careful -- with the root word "care" considered at the levels that matter here (all of them.)

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