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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 - 10:35am May 4, 2002 EST (#1999 of 2043) Delete Message

NEWS ANALYSIS: Administration's Plans for Mideast Talks Face Obstacles by TODD S. PURDUM

Any reasonable closure in the Middle East faces obstacles. If there are too many lies -- too many cases where people cannot reasonably "collect the dots" and "connect the dots" so that they can come to reasonable accomodations when they have to - there's no possibility of closure at all.

MD1975 rshow55 5/3/02 2:30pm ... MD1976 rshow55 5/3/02 2:32pm

MD1956 rshow55 5/2/02 11:24am ... MD1959 rshow55 5/2/02 1:34pm
MD1961 rshow55 5/2/02 2:20pm ... MD1962 rshow55 5/2/02 2:54pm

The US does not have to be involved in all conversations. Focus, in conversation - takes the participants it happens to take. If pairs, or groups of parties are clear among themselves -- they can get wider clarification later. There are only so many "impasses" involved in the Middle East - and real problems can be attacked and solved. Defining what is impossible, and why it is impossible, can be important work, if real solutions are ever to be found.

rshow55 - 10:39am May 4, 2002 EST (#2000 of 2043) Delete Message

Herblock's series on nukes is superb - and the problems he made vivid have festered, unsolved, even undefined in detail, in an ongoing disaster waiting to happen, since Truman's time. Short forms, and visual forms, are vital to do what they do, but sometimes more detailed formats also have their uses.

You need as many formats, and as many levels of detail, as you happen to need for the clarifications and explanations that have to occur. We have all the formats we need to deal with many thing much better than we have done, if we use them.

An important reference, much discussed on this thread, and not containing details in any way denied by gisterme , is THREATS TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The Sixteen Known Nuclear Crises of the Cold War, 1946-1985 by David R. Morgan

I believe that this thread has made a contribution, either as a prototype, or as an actual (though deniable) channel of communication. Last night I saw a fine movie from 2000, Thirteen Days - about the Cuban missile crisis. The level of communication between the US and the USSR during that crisis was paltry -- and perilous. If the evidence from that "open literature" source can be credited as an index of the communication in existence then - and if I'm correct about how little communication improved in the the 30 years thereafter -- then this thread has probably been (or has prototyped) the largest bandwidth, clearest line of political-military communication that has ever existed between the US and Russia. I think I've been doing what Bill Casey would have wanted -- and if you see Thirteen Days , you may have a sense of why the work needs to be done - and some of the difficulties that have been and remain involved with the effort.

If you see Thirteen Days you may also see how unstable our "strategic balances" have been, and remain. Patterns are coming to being that permit them to be much more stable - but there is a long way to go - and the world could easily end unless we get some of these problems fixed.

There are some problems that must be defined, and focused, and negotiated in great, clear, and documented detail, if they are to get to workable, sane closure at all. They are too complex and difficult otherwise. That means, for a number of things, closure - and complex cooperation, has been technically impossible. These technical constraints can rather easily be removed now, because of the capabilities of the internet - including some prototyped here.

Nuclear weapons are an example. The middle east is another example.

Most of the most important problems in the world today involve other examples.

rshow55 - 11:36am May 4, 2002 EST (#2001 of 2043) Delete Message

On missile defense, and some other issues, there are problems with "connecting the dots." Under current rules -- "chain breakers" are easy to come by -- almost without end. With a few changes in rules, and focus - we could get to sharper answers.

Chain Breakers

It would be a major step forward if responsible people in negotiations counted and classified the "chain breakers" that stood in the way of specific progress.

A large fraction of the "showstoppers" involve only a few kinds of impasses.

With the internet, and some good faith and some courage, it is now possible to get around these kinds of showstoppers.

If nation states with real power, and real staffs tried for solutions -- there would be some setbacks and frustrations.

But new understanding is within reach, and major problems can be solved that could produce permanent improvements in the human condition.

Solutions that would make our survival more likely.

We need to do better about complex problem solving than we have done. We can.

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