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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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texasflood11 - 07:17pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7831 of 7904)

In response to posting #7821

`I would like to explain some basic concepts of international relations to kjeldridge20. In order for a foreign power to be secure in the face of the obvious nuclear superiority of the united states, it must posses the means to launch a counter-attack on the united states in the event that the united states launches a nuclear attack on it. By building an effective missle defense shield the united states effectively neutralizes the counterstrike capabilities of those nations (such as China and North Korea) who lack the sheer numbers of warheads to overcome such a shield. As such these nations will feel poitcal pressure at home to increase their nuclear arsenal such that it is large enough to overcome the scope of the U.S. missle defence shiled. A Chinese politician would have no choice but to increase China's nuclear arsenal, as failing to do so would render China at the mercy of the united states. You may laugh at this characterization of the United states as a global strong armed bully, but if you would take the time to look at the behavior of the current administration in a global perspective you will realize that the U.S. has no consideration for the interests of other nations. Would it be that out of the question for a chinese politician to plan for the possibility that Dubyah decides that the existance of Beijing is not in the best economic interests of the united states? It sounds rediculous to us, but in light of his actions regarding global warming and the unilateralist approach he has taken towards missle defense, the notion becomes less far fetched---especially if you live in beijing and you know that there are thousands of nuclear warheads which may be pointed at you. This leaves foreign leaders no choice but to increase their nuclear arsenals as a deterent to ensure their nations national security. Thus, building a missle defense shield will in fact spark another arms race, which is perhaps exactly what this administration want considering the defense industry backgrounds of the heads of 3 of the 4 branches of the armed forces.

Your second point requires a much briefer refutation. You are one hundred percent correct that government spending stimulates the economy. As such, spending on education, health-care, energy-efficiency, law enforcement, or any other outlet will stimulate the economy as much as missle defense, by your own arguments. The difference is that spending on most of these other government programs spreads the money to more individuals, such as teachers and law enforcement officers rather than concentrating it in the pockets of defense industry executives who in turn fill the campaign war-chests of politicians.

`Finally, in response to your third argument, i would like to remark that you are the one who has no clue. There are technical reasons why the missle defence program CANNOT WORK in its current state. I am a physicist, and can explain the technical details of why if you are interested, but in the interest of space i will not here. Furthermore,The pentagon had LIED regarding the scientific developement of the system. This includes the fact that it has intentionally withheld data on the failures of the system. The details are too involved to get into at this point, but if you would like to read a good easily readable lay article on the subject i would like to refer you to an article in August 2000 issue of Harpers Magazine titled "THE STAR WARS CONSPIRACY.(excerpt from Theodore A. Postol's letter on Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.)" The article contains an excert from a letter written by MIT Physicist Theodore Postol to (then) White House chied of staff John Podesta. Postol is a former scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations, helped develop the Trident-2 missile, and is considered to be an expert on "rocket science". I was able to find this article online by entering "theodore postol" as a search criteria under google. You cannot acc

gisterme - 07:27pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7832 of 7904)

Let's don't forget that the US is standing down significantly in the strategic nuclear arsenal department. All of the MX "peacekeeper" missiles are being dismantled, probably 500+ of the most accurate warheads. The B1 strike force is being reduced by 1/3. Four Trident FBM submarines, probably another 960+ more very accurate warheads, are being decomissioned. None of these are being replaced by anything new. Personally I hope that's just the beginning. In my view, the limited BMD proposed makes a lot more sense in a world that is devoid of massive strategic arsenals, especially if it becomes the joint US and Russian effort that the president has repeatedly hinted that he's wanting. Who knows...maybe even the Chinese will eventually want to climb on that bandwagon.

That the president has been acting unilaterally WRT BMD is more hype than fact. He's just been leading from the front to get some international negotiations going that can get the world off the MAD carrousel, using BMD as a bargaining chip. Whether the BMD is built or not it will have been a great success if it leads to the accomplishment of that.

There's been a lot of posturing going on among international leaders since Mr. Bush has been in office, posturing that goes on after every new US president takes office. Notice how president Putin has softened his original stance in the last couple of months...and today,

...makes it sound like the Chinese president is about through arm-waving as well. It seems that president Bush has managed to acheive a lot more respect with the international leaders that matter than he has with those who don't. That works for me...personally I couldn't care less about a bunch of noisy wannabes that aren't even players in the nuclear arena. If those guys aren't interested in protecting their countries from whackos like Saddam, then so be it. At any rate, Mr. Bush has certainly seemed to acheive far more international respect than his short-sighted domestic political opponents are willing to give him credit for.

WRT to the oft-shouted argument that BMD does nothing about other methods of WMD delivery, that's true. But defenses against those other methods do equally little against WMD delivery by ballistic missiles...why board up the doors but leave the windows open?

Finally, who says nothing is being done about those other WMD delivery methods? There's plenty being done. That there is significant spending for nuclear/biological/chemical defense other than BMD is no secret. I'd wager that more has been spent on that than BMD research in recent years. Those are the kinds of defenses that rely heavily on good intelligence gathering and whose probability of success is inversly proportional to the amount of fanfare they receive.

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