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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 - 03:14pm Apr 22, 2002 EST (#1662 of 1675) Delete Message

almarst-2001 4/22/02 2:43pm Almarst , you've made some very good postings recently!

Packer's piece, has this in its last paragraph:

"On the whole, knowing is better than not knowing; in any case, there's no going back. But at this halfway point between mutual ignorance and true understanding, the ''global village'' actually resembles a real one -- in my experience, not the utopian community promised by the boosters of globalization but a parochial place of manifold suspicions, rumors, resentments and half-truths."

That's clear, and shows the limited contact that TV can provide over large distances. -- That contact is necessarily selective and biased, even when it is a TV news organization that often does try, as print news organizations do, to be objective. The "common denominator" is low. The objective, at best, is to get passing interest, for short, distractable times, from millions of people.

The internet can be much more focused - and has the potential to be as clear, and focused, as it is possible to be in a court of law, or a scientific conference -- with the additional advantage that the internet can collapse spatial and time constraints -- and bring information together for "connecting the dots" in more powerful ways than have been possible before.

But people remain people, and if "the global village resembles a real one" -- that's the human condition. Are people parochial, suspisious, prone to rumors, resentments and half-truths? That's true everywhere, always has been, and always will be. Are these human traits accomodated well in human societies, with good sensible results produced by less than perfect human animals? Good results happen very often, all over the world, and can happen on the internet, too.

The same human challenges that exist in other human communication exist on the internet, and for the same reasons. There's a lot of room for improvement -- and we have reasons to know the sort of things that can work -- because similar things work elsewhere.

It may seem low and obvious to say that

"things would be better if people lied less, were more able to check for misinformation more effectively, and if people were both less deceptive and self deceptive than they are."

Obvious, yes. Also true. And many of the challenges of peace and cooperation are on just that level. Institutions and procedures matter.

Without checking, and an assumption that things can be and ought to be checked when they matter, muddles, intentional and unintentional, are certain to happen.

Every human group and institution I know that works well knows that, at the level where function is actually good and flexible. As you're pointing out, there's also a lot to criticise.

almarst-2001 - 03:31pm Apr 22, 2002 EST (#1663 of 1675)

"the ''global village'' actually resembles a real one"

I doubt.

The people in a same Village KNOW each other's lives and problems, share worries and happiness. They feel their future is connected and interdependent.

Frequently, it seems the Americans have an aptitude of Mari-Antuanette - "Let'em eat the cake if they have no bread".

And those looking at America from a distance, see very little to understand what drives and worries this country. It's all foreign.

"The horse-rider would never understand the foot-walker" (Russian)

rshow55 - 03:42pm Apr 22, 2002 EST (#1664 of 1675) Delete Message

It is important for both sides to understand the other. And it is now more difficult than it has to be, in some ways.

rshow55 - 03:42pm Apr 22, 2002 EST (#1665 of 1675) Delete Message

There was an interesting piece today about an interesting man, with some background somewhat similar to mine - - who has gone very far:

For Wolfowitz, a Busy Life Being a Lightning Rod for Bush By ERIC SCHMITT

The piece includes this . . . "There's no question, if the Messiah came tomorrow and we could settle the Arab-Israeli conflict, it would simplify many of the challenges we face in the larger war on terrorism," . . . . "But we just can't afford to let one problem, no matter how acute it is and how serious it is, paralyze us."

and ends with this: . . .

"I know I'm sitting at the Defense Department," he said, "and I know people like to put certain labels on me, but I really believe military power is just a small piece of American power. The greatest power we have is what we stand for."

Therefore it is important to stand for things that can be clearly explained, in the light of evidence, and important to stand for things that other reasonable people respect. Including people outside the United States.

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