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 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    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.

Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (5726 previous messages)

rshow55 - 05:20pm Nov 13, 2002 EST (# 5727 of 5728) Delete Message
Can we do a better job of finding truth? YES. Click "rshow55" for some things Lchic and I have done and worked for on this thread.

The "Golden Rule" is a minimal standard, but very good for the basic interactions that peace and economic cooperation takes. Practically every religious and cultural group pays some lip service to the "golden rule." The form I remember reads

" Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. "

Few but the a tiny group of the most conscientious people today think of this in the literal, explicit sense world peace and prosperity needs.

The Golden Rule is less than a workable, comprehensive guide to living.

But now, it is worse used than it ought to be, since " others " in the rule is usually read to be " others within my group " and not " others in outside groups, as well. " The point needs to be taught, with intellectually clear context, today.

For complicated practical cases the "golden rule" has to be subject to qualifications, especially when it applies outside a group. But the golden rule counts "when it really matters" ... "when cooperation is required" ..... "when things are going wrong." It isn't necessary or desirable, to do away with the tribal ties that bind and provide identity. But workable, nonpathological interfaces between tribes ARE required.

When peace seems impossible, these interfaces are lacking. The problem is emotional, of course, but it has a large intellectual content, too.

Harry J. Gensler treats the Golden Rule with distinction in

I liked this -- but how much detail is needed to meet what is said!

" To apply the golden rule adequately, we need knowledge and imagination. We need to know what effect our actions have on the lives of others. And we need to be able to imagine ourselves, vividly and accurately, in the other person's place on the receiving end of the action. . . .

The "golden rule" is especially important when passions stand against it - when the people involved hate each other. It is then that the "golden rule" is most essential for complex cooperation and for peace.

How would you want an enemy to treat you? You'd be repelled if he attempted to embrace you. Instead, you'd want clear communication, with clear, proportionate and credible threats and incentives.

You'd want clear rules of conduct agreed upon between you, that you could each abide by. So that you could cooperate, stay out of each other's way, maintain each other's dignity, and interact as efficiently and honorably as possible. Neither side would have to love, or forgive, or like the other. Neither side would have a right to expect it. What each side would want would be a way of living together in peace.

Friendship, if it happened at all, would come much later. First, livable patterns of peaceful interaction need to be fashioned.

In the Middle East, and elsewhere these are needed. And they are possible only if all sides can remember that even their enemies are full, complicated, vulnerable, dangerous human beings.

Who might become neighbors, if grudging ones. Or even friends.

rshow55 - 05:35pm Nov 13, 2002 EST (# 5728 of 5728) Delete Message
Can we do a better job of finding truth? YES. Click "rshow55" for some things Lchic and I have done and worked for on this thread.

Societies that don't satisfy human needs well, and don't have coherent patterns of power and reciprocity that can be sustained - are ugly, weak, and unstable.

Societies that do meet these needs are inherently stronger, and can be better defended in every sense that matters.

In the Arab world, there are very difficult challenges to meeting these needs - because oil has changed so much, so fast. An easy answer is to organize a nation around war. But that is becoming prohibitively dangerous, as well as wasteful - and we have to learn to do less of it. And that is possible, while at the same time increasing the security of nation states - states which must, to some degree, be able to take care of themselves - but states that can also increase their own security under clear, workable systems of international law. Systems of international law that are evolving, and being formed and renegotiated, now.

3658 rshow55 8/12/02 8:06am

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