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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 - 09:23pm Jul 28, 2001 EST (#7554 of 7562) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

I woke up today and read with appreciation almarst's rich postings:

MD7529 almarst-2001 7/27/01 10:58pm . . MD7530 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:05pm
MD7531 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:13pm ... MD7532 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:30pm
MD7533 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:33pm ... MD7534 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:35pm
MD7535 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:37pm ... MD7536 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:39pm

I've spent much of the day thinking about the references, and trying to respond properly to them, in context, and in ways that might be useful.

I've prepared a lot of stuff in response that I'm not satisfied with, not ready to show. Some on technical matters that are very important here, and some on political matters. But there are some things I feel ready to show, connected to context, and particularly to different points of view, in real situations, where sometimes disagreements should be considered on a "no fault" basis, but at other times they cannot be.

Some issues are necessarily and inescapably emotional as well as objective.

rshowalter - 09:24pm Jul 28, 2001 EST (#7555 of 7562) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

In that regard I was interested in almarst's posts of MD7534-5 almarst-2001 7/27/01 11:35pm

In US ADMITS MASSIVE INCREASE IN DEFENCE BUDGET by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey ... The facts recorded here would largely be common ground between Americans and Russians. But the perspective, and the feelings, are very different. It seems to me that Americans, and Russians, ought to understand more clearly the difference between the feelings and the facts, and learn to reconcile the facts, which need to be common ground, and the feelings, that do not have to be shared, if they are understood well enough for practical interactions.

Pravda's coverage of Jiang Zemin's speech was interesting in those ways, but also set out usefully the fact that on issues of human rights, the Chinese have a very different sense of proportions than we often do - - and for reasons that deserve some understanding in respect. Here is a key passage from ANDREI KRUSHINSKY: JIANG ZEMIN’S VIEWS. DIRECT SPEECH. PROBLEMS

“In 1978 the number of paupers made 250 millions, to the end of 1993 it became 80 million, and in 1998 it made 42 millions. Poor citizens ratio reduced from 30,7 per cent to 4,5 per cent. It is a real wonder, not only for China, but for the whole world’s history!… This wonder is possible only in socialistic system. To eat one’s fill has been always a fond dream of simple people. To organize help for the poorest people is a great social project…

"Our course directed to human rights development, defined according to our country realities is completely true. If we do not settle first rate problems of food and cloths, all the other rights are difficult to realize.

If the bureacracy of China choose to suppress certain human views, on the basis of operational judgements, we may have valid reasons to feel we should object, and those reasons may be right. Even so, the priority decisions involved may be argued to support human rights on balance, in terms of the whole corpus of priorities, and this view may reasonably considered, too. ( And that view may justify some things, but not justify some other things at all. )

We may also remember that Americans have their own ways of suppressing the views of people, and though they may be different from the Chinese ways, they may have an effectiveness of their own. Joe McCarthy was an American figure, and many Americans supported him, and still support many of the things he did, things which continue to be done in America.

rshowalter - 09:27pm Jul 28, 2001 EST (#7556 of 7562) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

In the process of finding ways to make peace, understanding need not be agreement at the emotional level, but nonetheless, facts are important, and an emotional accomodation of those facts is important, too. A distinguished NYT editorial today was about that: Looking Back at Camp David

This editorial started: ... On bitter, protracted conflicts like the one between Israel and the Palestinians, each side maintains its own chronicle of events, emphasizing certain details and omitting others. So it has been with the divergent accounts of the collapse of last summer's Camp David peace talks and the months of violence that followed. But those narratives are now being challenged and re-examined. From this exercise can come a better, more realistic understanding of how Israel and the Palestinians can renew their search for a lasting peace.

The editorial referred to some beautiful and distinguished reporting and analysis: ... Quest for Mideast Peace: How and Why It Failed by DEBORAH SONTAG

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