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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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new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every
(666 previous messages)
- 11:13am Mar 18, 2002 EST (#667
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
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
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: http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/regsys/maslow.html
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
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
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
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
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.
- 11:15am Mar 18, 2002 EST (#668
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.
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
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