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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 - 09:34am May 15, 2002 EST (#2228 of 2232) Delete Message

Global Village Idiocy By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN was summarized by the TIMES as follows:

"Thanks to the Internet and satellite TV, the world is being wired together technologically, but not socially, politically or culturally."

We have to learn to "wire together" the world, socially, politically, and culturally, in the ways that make sense for human welfare -- that is make sense to the people involved.

The internet and other communications media are making that more necessary than before, but also more possible.

Above a certain level of complexity, staffed organizations have to be involved, and there have to be ways, that make sense in context, to check what matters enough.

To accomodate real human imperfections in the ways that matter to the people involved.

To accomodate the fact that "good will" is only partial, in the real world, in the ways that matter to the people involved.

To accomodate the fact that all people and organizatins make mistakes, oversimplify, and mislead in various ways, with various motivations, not all of them impure, but not all of them pure, either.

To accomodate the fact that, when right answers matter enough in action - there have to be ways to find them, in the real world, with real passions and imperfections, for people as they are.

People "make sense" of their world in a kind of statistical way -- and it matters very much, whether the "information" they condense generalizations from is right or wrong. The only way to see is by crossmatching, and a good deal of intellectual work. This is work that all people, everywhere do, and have to do to be human. We make sense of the world, by a lot of talking, and a lot of thinking -- and bring patterns into focus. Often those patterns are wrong -- but when we look at the same information -- organized in a certain way, most of us, most of the time, make the same patterns.

Matters of war and peace, and international cooperation between the US and Russia, in the world as it is, are intractably complicated, and some of the interactions will take staffs to comb out and master. Sometimes with involvement of staffs from other nation states and institutions. This thread is built as an example of some of the things that would be required to meet the needs of this staffed communication.

When two cultures that are very different and have systematic misunderstandings have to make real peace, and learn to interact, that will take staffing, too.

We are different enough that we can't "take for granted" each other's minds -- minds that have been formed by "swimming" in very different "seas" of information.

Contact, and confident cooperation -- will take work, accomodation -- and, at a number of levels, i a lot of straight talking.

I've written here, a number of times, that

" When the Soviet Union fell, and everyone, on all sides, had so much hope, we didn't have an end game -- and the United States was so tied up with lies, that it could not sort out problems before it -- or help the Russians sort out their problems."

We should work to fix things now -- and efforts in that direction seem to be occurring.

We have to deal with the limitations, mixed motives, and ambiguities involved - and there are efforts in that direction. Those efforts have to be strong enough, and well enough organized, to carry the day in the ways that matter most.

rshow55 - 09:36am May 15, 2002 EST (#2229 of 2232) Delete Message

Last year on this thread, 6/30/01 gisterme asked a big question:

" How do we move towards the future, and not get bogged down in the past, except in ways that are necessary so we can deal with the future?"

(S)he raised the question:

" how one can set up a "negotiating game" or "structure" that is illuminating, fair and productive?

and asked

" How do we move toward a better, fairer, safer future? "

An essential requirement is that we remember core lessons of our past. From Bosnia to Berlin to The Hague, on a Road Toward a Continent's Future by ROGER COHEN ends as follows:

" Communism promised equality. Hitler promised the 1,000-year Reich. Milosevic promised glory. All the West offers, alongside the prosperity of this boardwalk, is the rule of law. It's enough. It's more than enough on a continent that now knows, as no other, the price of the law's absence. .....

For the rule of law to be enough, the rule of law has to be respected, and information flows have to be good enough (and organized well enough) so that crucial decisions are reasonably made.

Because, as Friedman says in Global Village Idiocy , "the world is being wired together technologically" there are new technical possiblities that can permit us to connect more humanely and efficiently, socially, politically, and culturally, when it matters enough to the people involved.

Lchic and I did a 2 hour, 70 post session on negotiation in the middle east that I think summarizes a good deal about new opportunities in conflict resolution made possible by the internet, and prototyped to some degree here MD2000 rshow55 5/4/02 10:39am . The session goes from to . It includes many links to this NYT Missile Defense thread. The suggestions are directed, by way of example, to Friedman and Fisk, but are flexible, general, and inexpensive. I believe that if the staffed organizations of Europe, the US, and other countries thought about these opportunities, and adapted them their needs and responsibilities, the good things being talked about and hoped for about the "end of the cold war" could become real, in realistic, nutsy-boltsy, comfortable human ways.

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