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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.

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almarst-2001 - 07:00pm Mar 7, 2002 EST (#251 of 272)

"not to talk of the world's "duty to intervene" but rather of a country's "responsibility to protect" all people within its borders. "

Sweet talk... Thats the specialty of Annan. Stright talk would pop someone else from the seat he occupies thanks to the nod from Washington. And he knows too well the masters are watching.

Try and represent the "unbiased" interest in ALL nation's affairs.

rshow55 - 07:56pm Mar 7, 2002 EST (#252 of 272) Delete Message

A consideration of what is "unbiased" depends on facts and weighting of facts that depend on persuasion.

Secretary General Annan is a politician - his job is a politician's job -- and a lot of people feel he's a gifted diplomat. In a world full of conflict, he seeks common ground. - - That may seem "inelegant" but is nevertheless essential.

Politicians have to find common ground. It is their job.

So do other people and organizations, within limits, trying to do the best they can. Organizations, with time, often find ways to improve on past performances.

Secretary Annan was looking for a way around reistance to the fact that "most countries did not want to hear from outsiders about potentially serious problems within their borders."

And found it in "sweet words" that I found constructive, and well fit to the persuasive problems at hand.

Progress sometimes gets made. Change occurs. Status positions change. Ideas do change. For instance, Putin's international position and Russia's position, is far higher than it was a year ago, when Muddle In Moscow was printed.

Progress, in a world which is very complicated, where consent is required, depends on persuasion . Diplomacy often helps. "Sweet words" can be precious things - - and for those words to be connected to more forceful action -- enough people and groups have to be persuaded.

If only more countries, including the United States, could be effectively persuaded to "hear from outsiders about potential problems within their borders."

If that were more possible, there would be fewer dangerous, expensive fictions -- and better chances for peace and prosperity. I think the arguments for missile defense are mostly wrong - on technical and other grounds. But the motivations for missile defense would be less, if kinds of communication that Annan strives for were more often effective.

almarst-2001 - 08:10pm Mar 7, 2002 EST (#253 of 272)

"if kinds of communication that Annan strives for were more often effective."

His job definition clearly states "Be INEFFECTIVE"! And he is not about to jeopadise his job.

almarst-2001 - 08:13pm Mar 7, 2002 EST (#254 of 272)

"Organizations (NYT), with time, often find ways to improve on past performances."

I suggest you go back and read the coverage of a "humanitarian" bombing. Sorry, Not much of difference after 60 years.

rshow55 - 08:40pm Mar 7, 2002 EST (#255 of 272) Delete Message

There was a certain media bias against Serbians --due to some imperfect public relations. Some that many might find understandable, if unfortunate.

As you may recall from posting last year, I had a conversation, some years ago, with a female journalist who covered Serbia. She was raped punitivily on four occasions, to discourage her from covering certain things.

She was a resiliant and spirited lady, and by many standards a dedicated journalist. All the same, I suspect that her reporting had a bias.

From a Olympian perspective - - such things may not make so much difference. All the same, in the world we live in - - some things are very bad public relations.

Although my sympathies with the Russians in WWII is extreme, and my sympathy with the Germans very attenutated - - it remains true that the rapes of German women that were routine Soviet practice at the end of the war -- whatever their justice from an overall perspective -- were very bad public relations indeed - - and the Cold War might have been less ugly had they not occurred.

Sometimes, your selective moralizing seems to me to be unfortunate.

For peace , real people, with real faults, who hate each other, often for good reasons - and who cannot completely forgive - have to make shift to live in peace anyway.

My own view -- after looking at a lot of NYT text - some 60 years old, some more recent -- is that there's a lot of difference after sixty years - and that the techniques of persuasion have much advanced.

For public spiritedness, it would be hard to find a more committed organization - - that is also an effective organization - - than The New York Times. Shortcomings from particular points of view notwithstanding.

almarst-2001 - 09:16pm Mar 7, 2002 EST (#256 of 272)

"She was raped punitivily on four occasions, to discourage her from covering certain things. "

For someone involved in dealing with a "wearpons of mass affection and public judgement" which is media, one shoud exclude himself from a case when unable to be honest or impartial. Imagine a US president who was raped as child by some catholic priest, for example and eager to "repay" back to the church. Yor argument CAN'T be accepted. Sorry.

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