Re: SDI was Re: Expanding the "United States of America"

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Wed Jul 18 2001 - 21:59:33 MDT ( writes:
>The point of a defensive system in a military theater is as you describe.
>The point of a population defense system against WoMD has to be to stop all
>or probably all incoming missiles. If you stop 90% of 20 missiles, the
>threat has not been countered.

 That doesn't have to be the point of a population defense system. Stopping
a single accidentally launched missile doesn't sound like a frivolous goal.

>A system in development that stops 20% in five years and 40% in 10 years
>and 60% in 15 years doesn't deter attacks on population. It may serve to
>deter attacks on hardened military targets promising retaliation. If we
>build hardened military targets promising retaliation, any enemies we have
>will notice that those tools can be used for offense as well as defense.
>I'd like to hear how developing a system like this promotes stability in
>the period in which it's an imperfect shield.

 I suspect it promotes stability by reducing the chance that a conventional
war would escalate into a nuclear war. I claim that the biggest danger of
a major nuclear war comes from the losing side of a conventional war trying
to scare the winning side into a truce by launching a single nuclear missile
and gambling that the winning side will be too cautious to retaliate with
a nuke. With an SDI that will probably stop the first few missiles, a
nuclear strike that would be designed to be as threatening as a single
missile is now would produce less certain results and would end up looking
a lot more like an all-out attack, so would be more likely to be detered
by MAD logic.
 For stopping an all-out attack by a country like Russia, I don't forsee
SDI ever making a serious claim to replace MAD.

Peter McCluskey          | Fed up with democracy's problems? Examine Futarchy: | or .ps

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