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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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lchic - 10:32pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#857 of 868)

Would Tony Blair really launch a nuclear strike against Iraq - with an American Trident missile, the only nuclear capability in Britain's arsenal - with all the consequences that would have throughout the Middle East? Is the threat credible? Would it do anything to deter Saddam? As Hoon dug himself in, there was silence from the Foreign Office, one of whose ministers (Peter Hain) is a member of CND and whose official view is that, far from threatening states with nuclear weapons, it is in Britain's strategic national interest to engage constructively with those states which pose a potential threat.

Or has Whitehall accepted that, despite its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty, nuclear weapons are not only here to stay, but to be used? Hoon could unwittingly have provoked a debate on this crucial question. There is no sign of it yet.,7369,674722,00.html

lchic - 10:35pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#858 of 868)

If Mugabe got 'kicked out of the Commonwealth' .. isn't there a case here for 'kicking Bush out of the world'?

rshow55 - 10:40pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#859 of 868) Delete Message

At a moral level, the United States is losing prestige at a very great rate. But notice that Bush is being forced to learn, in the Middle East, how limited strictly military power can be. The trust on which the practical function of NATO depends is now in tatters.

MD130 rshow55 3/2/02 6:59pm

"Erica Goode's IDEAS AND TRENDS piece Hey, What if Contestants Give Each Other Shocks? deals with issues of concern to most people I know, and shows a case where scientific information can give evidence on an issue about humanity, and one particularly troubling. During WWII, what did the Germans know, and when did they know it? "

lchic - 10:41pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#860 of 868)


Europe agreed yesterday to fund a satellite navigation system that will rival America's mighty Global Positioning System (GPS), which is widely used by every self-respecting traveller from the weekend yachtsman to fighting soldiers.

The European Union's transport ministers have signed off the first 450m (280m) which, along with the 100m already authorised and the 550m promised by the European Space Agency, will pay for the four-year development of the Galileo system.

Loyola de Palacio, the EU's transport commissioner, said that Galileo would be compatible with the American GPS, although it will be seen as a competitor in the satellite navigation market.

"We now have a 'yes' for Galileo, which signifies Europe's wish to be present in the international scene in the areas of research, technology and industrial development," Ms de Palacio said.

Galileo a network of satellites positioned in a stable, geostationary orbit around Earth is scheduled to be launched over a two-year period beginning in 2006. It is expected to be operational from 2008 onwards.

The system will be civilian controlled, unlike the military-operated GPS, and it will provide some 100,000 new jobs for European companies, such as Airbus, Thales and Eutelsat.

John Spellar, Britain's Transport minister, welcomed the decision to go ahead with Galileo, despite the fact that the UK, along with Germany and the Netherlands, had voiced doubts over the financial viability of the plan at the end of last year.

"Because of the importance of Galileo to Europe, we and other member states such as Germany and the Netherlands have been keen to ensure the viability of the project," Mr Spellar said.

"Our concerns have focussed on the management of the project, funding, costs and the benefits to users. I am glad that today the council has accepted our concerns and we have successfully negotiated sound financial and other safeguards," he said.

The safeguards will require the council to review Galileo's progress at the end of 2003 and to take a decision on the continuation of its development phase and on the capping of future funding so there is no need for further financing from member states, Mr Spellar said.

The US is concerned about the security of the civilian-run Galileo system. GPS, like the Russian equivalent, can be downgraded or taken off-line if an enemy state or terrorist group tries to use it, for instance to launch guided missiles.

Alvarez Cascos, the Spanish Development Minister, said: "The Galileo project has a civilian impetus and it will be managed by civilian authorities. It is up to the authorities to decide which users can use it."

Jean-Claude Gayssot, the French transport minister, said that Galileo would give Europeans much-needed independence from the American GPS. "Only the realisation of this civil system will allow the beginning of the development of the use of satellite navigation in conditions which are suitable for Europeans," Mr Gayssot said.

"It will allow the European Union to liberate itself from dependence on the American GPS system."

Some commentators have questioned the usefulness of a second, Western-built satellite navigation system, but supporters of Galileo argue that the "sat-nav" market should grow with the emergence of more powerful pocket computers and mobile phones.

Because Galileo is designed to be compatible with both GPS and the Russian Glonass satellite navigation system, it should mean that users will have a more accurate and reliable service for areas that are poorly covered at present, such as northern Europe.

rshow55 - 10:48pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#861 of 868) Delete Message

lchic 3/26/02 10:40pm . . . recon satellites are being discussed, as well. With "views from the skies" widespread, large scale surprise attacks become much more difficult. The maneuvers of Desert Storm would not have worked -- and Afghanistan would not have worked as well -- if such views had been available to all combatants.

And with "independent views" - claims about risks from missiles can be independently evaluated, as well. Also claims that overstate the number of people killed by factors of the order of 10-fold - which may have been instrumental in getting the US Nato allies to agree to what the US wanted in Kosovo.

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