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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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lunarchick - 06:43am Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7929 of 7932)

rshowalter - 08:25am Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7930 of 7932) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

lunarchick 8/20/01 6:25am is beautiful -- worth seeing and thinking about. Sometimes "powers of ten" are hard to come by.

In missile defense, which was set out in the beginning as a bluff, we have good bluffs -- for bluffing people and organizations as they are. Things are hidden where they CAN be easily hidden.

Not hidden in the words - which can be easily understood.

Not hidden the pictures drawn by imaginative and talented commercial artists -- that make the projects easy to "imagine" and identify with.

The place to hide the improbabilities and impossibilities (and there are many of these) is in the numbers -- the detailed numbers that people generally don't look at.

When you look at the numbers involved in making lasar "death ray" weapons of any kind work -- well the thing is technically impossible, and easy to defend against. When you look at the numbers of what it would take to really build an effective "smart rock" missile defense, either the one now being "tested" or one that might actually be workable -- the questions of "how much?" -- about key technical details aren't answered. When they are answered, the program is clearly, plainly, far fetched - not worth betting American or world security on, or money on.

Once some of those points are made clear -- which will take work, but which can be done -- it will be clear, no matter what your politics may happen to be -- that the Bush missile defense program is a fraud -- cannot work -- and that key people in the administration have to know it.

The clarification can be done, without breaching security walls, in terms of standard open literature engineering - judgeable by professional engineers with credentials to lose -- at the level of showing what "technical miracles" the DOD contractors will have to come up with to make missile defense a realistic program.

There are many such miracles -- and many of them unlikely indeed -- especially in combination.

That can be made clear. It will take some work, and some force, but I believe that, with the stakes involved, it will happen. A big issue is getting the information presented so the it can be widely understood, and clarified, subject to examination from all sides, beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard, in significant ways, is the standard very often met in litigation.

rshowalter - 01:01pm Aug 20, 2001 EST (#7931 of 7932) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Russia Official: No Missile Progress By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

" MOSCOW (AP) -- The chairman of the Russian parliament's defense committee said no progress was made in his talks Monday with U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton on the two countries' dispute over Washington's plans for a national anti-missile shield.

" ``We have not heard from the Americans a clear-cut explanation of what it is that is not to their liking in the (1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty,'' Andrei Nikolayev was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

" The treaty prohibits national missile defenses as a way to discourage nuclear attack.

" He said Bolton asked him what Russia's response would be if the United States pulls out of the treaty, which American officials have said could happen in a matter of months. Nikolayev said Russian officials are preparing a response, but did not say what it would be.

" President Vladimir Putin has said Russia would pull out of other arms controls treaties and could equip existing single-warhead missiles with multiple warheads.

" Washington says it wants an anti-missile shield to defend it against attacks by small states such as North Korea and Iraq, and that the ABM treaty is a relic of the Cold War.

Comment: Technical FACTS about what can be done matter here, and need to be clarified. The administration is pushing a program that cannot work in any strategically meaningful sense, for reasons that have not been given "a clear cut explanation."

" Moscow opposes changes to the treaty, saying it is a guarantor of international stability, and that withdrawing from it would prompt a new arms race that Russia could not afford.

Comment: The cost of this "arms race" is a question of fact , and key technical facts on the issue ought to be, and can be determined, given the will to have them determined.

" The key meeting in Bolton's weeklong trip to Moscow will be with Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov on Tuesday.

" Meanwhile, a senior U.S. air force delegation arrived in Moscow on Monday for talks on military cooperation.

" The head of the delegation, Lt. Gen. Thomas Keck of the U.S. Air Force, will fly on a Russian nuclear bomber, the Tu-22MZ, after training on flight simulators, the ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies reported.

" The group will also meet with the head of Russia's Air Force, Gen. Anatoly Kornukov, and visit aircraft bases in Ryazan, Engels and Saltsty, the reports said. The visit runs until Aug. 25.


U.S. Air Force Commander to Fly in Russian Bomber By REUTERS includes this:

"A top U.S. arms official flies into Moscow this week for talks with Russian officials hungry for pledges on nuclear arms cuts that could clear the way for a deal on missile defense."

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