Monday, February 04, 2002

Aussie Wussies-Australian intelligence officers advised against helping with an American missile defense plan, fearing an arms race in East Asia. Prime Minister Howard ignored the advice. Let's look at the two worldviews. View 1-A missile shield will encourage development of more missiles or better evasive capabilities of missiles to get around/overwhelm the shield. Development of missiles will be slower without a shield program. View 2- A lack of a shield will encourage development of more missiles, knowing they'll get through. A shield will slow development of missiles less likely to get through and shoot down the ones that are launched. I think there will be an arms race in Asia regardless of a shield. Can the critics of missile defense guarantee that the Chinese and North Koreans will play nice if we skip building a shield? The question should be whether the money plowed into a system will be worth the improved safety from attack provided by it. That is still an open question, but one worth further research. I'd like to give a future president, faced with missiles heading towards LA and Seattle (or Taipei or Tokyo) an option to shoot them down and say to the offending country, "You really shouldn't have tried that" rather than being forced to parking-lot the offending party. The system, if feasible and affordable, will save lives on both sides. The argument that the money could be better spent improving relations with the likely suspects is problematic; bribes won't likely keep these countries peaceful forever.

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