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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?

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rshow55 - 11:13am Mar 18, 2002 EST (#667 of 671) Delete Message

There are basic human needs, and knowing them gives a sense of both how we are strong, and how we are fragile. And how our enemies are strong, and how they are fragile. We are MUCH stronger, and less fragile, than our enemies if we just play it straight, on issues of fact and straight dealing, and do things that make military sense. Including things needed for effective deterrance, and effective interdiction.

The tragedy of September 11 probably wouldn't have happened if people in the world had believed that we had usable, flexible, calibrated, powerful deterrants. And given the risks, interdiction as part of the mix of humanly reasonable options can't be ruled out either.

Here are some basic, universal relationships that we need to take into account -- and that make our opportunities clear.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs by William G. Huitt
Essay and Image:

Berle's Laws of Power
taken from Power by Adolf A. Berle . . . 1969 ... Harcourt, Brace and World, N.Y.

The "0th" rule . . . . "Power is always preferable to chaos. ...To control chaos, people work in frameworks of power. According to Berle, these frameworks are always subject to five rules, which I think are right, and directly relavent to our nuclear peril, and the fixing of it.

Rule One: Power invariably fills any vacuum in human organization. ........... When presidents neglected to give detailed attention in nuclear policy, other people took power in that area, in a tradition, very isolated from the American mainstream. That group of people, as it has developed, mostly in secret, over fifty years, now holds power. But not unquestionable power.

Rule Two: Power is invariably personal.

Rule Three: Power is invariably based on a system of ideas of philosophy. Absent such a system or philosophy, the institutions essential to power cease to be reliable, power ceases to be effective, and the power holder is eventually displaced.

Rule Four: Power is exercised through, and depends on, institutions. By their existence, they limit, come to control, and eventually confer or withdraw power.

Rule Five: Power is invariably confronted with, and acts in the presence of, a field of responsibility. The two constantly interact, in hostility or co-operation, in conflict or through some form of dialog, organized or unorganized, made part of, or perhaps intruding into, the institutions on which power depends.

These things are very important constraints - - considering them simplifies things, by ruling out a good deal. Consideration also gives a sense of what can reasonably be done. ( What can be done at reasonable cost is a subset of what can be explained to the world community. )

We may have to use the force we have - sometimes persuasive force, or instititional relatins - sometimes lethal force - - but ideas also matter. Rule three can't long be broken without consequences.

Our ideas and ideals, when we live up to them , are vigorous. To the extent that we're not living up to them, we have some work to do --- not very difficult work, if faced. The system of "ideas" that the terrorists, Iraq, and N. Korea have, are contradictory and fragile. Iran has its logical fragilities, too.

Those pressure points at the level of ideas can be powerful -- they'd be overwhelmingly powerful if we had most of the world behind us. As a nation we need to understand, more clearly than we do, why so many in the world are not behind us.

We may be approaching a point where the world will have to get organized enough to make us understand some of these things.

rshow55 - 11:15am Mar 18, 2002 EST (#668 of 671) Delete Message

We are looking for stable solutions, with acceptable (minimal) risks to ourselves and others. We can't minimize our risks without considering the needs of other people, long term -- because other people are dangerous animals, as we are ourselves.

MD656 rshow55 3/17/02 8:24pm

You'd think that the information in the March 13 OpEd Advertorial would destroy "Star Wars." You'd think that the information in this thread, and the responses of MD system supporters would destroy "Star Wars." But it isn't going to happen without some more force behind it. If world leaders decided they wanted answers clear enough -- clear enough to work in a jury trial - they could get them. And clarity, and weight at that level is what is warranted and needed here.

MD152-153 rshow55 3/3/02 10:56am

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