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The Forum > Article Comments > Oh, the Cold War how I miss it so: Russia and America's missile wars > Comments

Oh, the Cold War how I miss it so: Russia and America's missile wars : Comments

By Marko Beljac, published 14/6/2007

Missile defence is a make work scheme for the US aerospace industry, even so, it would be crazy to start a new arms race in Europe.

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A major factor in the US continuing its star wars process is the power of the Pentagon and the desire of the military to retain its own power within teh US. Having the missile defence system and expanding it to Europe gives the Generals and Admirals in the Pentagon who control it continuing and expanded power.

As James Carroll said in "House of War" (a detailed history of the Pentagon) when the Cold War ended there were two runners in the arms race. One runner, the USSR, stopped running but the other, the USA, continued to run.

Much of the foreign policy/adventures of the US are driven by the Pentagon. If there were no (or diminished) foreign adventures requiring the deployment of military personnel and hardware the importance and power of the military leaders would diminish.

The other major factor is the power of the big industrial concerns that make billions selling military equipment.

It is the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against which drives these things.
Posted by Plaza-Toro, Thursday, 14 June 2007 10:02:14 AM
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knowing that america's foreign policy is ultimately driven by the military industrial complex is depressing enough. if i could just be confident that the carleton group was in it merely for the money my depression would be slightly relieved by the hope they wouldn't actually use these doomsday weapons, merely sell them.

but the quality of the bush2 regime adds a panic factor: some of them are genuinely psychotic. since more than half the electorate of the usa share dubya's mental qualities, we can expect similar management teams to appear in future.

the only question is, will we starve ourselves to extinction, pollute ourselves to extinction, bomb our selves to extinction, or suddenly achieve democracy with sane, just, and rational society?

the bookies will take any amount of money on the last one, name yer odds.
Posted by DEMOS, Thursday, 14 June 2007 12:26:16 PM
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This all goes to show that the Cold War fostered a much safer strategic environment than that which exists today. We are more likely to see a nuclear attack in the current international system than we ever were during even the tensest times of the Cold War. By withdrawing from the ABM treaty and fast-tracking its missile defence program America has fatally weakened that only international mechanism that truly kept us safe from a nuclear exchange, that of the superbly acronymed M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction).

BMD will create an arms race. In fact the race is already up and running. Itís just not in Europe. Yes, Russia does have the capability to beat America's missile shield and its deterrence capabilities are not seriously challenged, but China's existing arsenal is in danger of being rendered obsolete. China, if it is to have any hope of retaining what influence it still has over Taiwan must (and is) invest heavily in upgrading and expanding its nuclear systems. In response to this India will (and is) feel the need to upgrade and expand its stockpile to offset China's. In view of this (and here we get into really dangerous territory) India's traditional enemy Pakistan will be forced to upgrade and expand its own nuclear deterrent or risk being pushed around by India.

We will probably not see a major nuclear arms race in Europe, but we will definitely see one in Asia, and, given the regions historical political instability, and the fact that Asia is much closer to Australia than Europe, thatís far worse.
Posted by My name is Dylan, Thursday, 14 June 2007 3:50:42 PM
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A good post Marko

I think the US and Russian military establishments need each other. Long may they be equally matched in nuclear missiles.

After 6 years of Dubya Putin is looking more cerebral and mature as each day passes.

I think the media are looking at European BMD and Russian missiles because America's media empire wants to keep us busy,

Meanwhile my blog, Pete's Blog, is looking at nuclear missile issues as close to Australia's region as possible http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com .

On AUSTRALIA TO GO NUCLEAR using the Harpoon missiles we already have see http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com/2007/06/australia-to-go-nuclear.html

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Thursday, 14 June 2007 7:20:35 PM
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yes, I would agree that the military-industrial complex plays a huge part, if not decisive, in all this stuff. The fact that the institutions of the national security state endure despite the end of the cold war leads one to think that enduring policies and postures will continue despite the demise of the "Soviet threat." High tech industry is never developed by markets.

I think we should be a little bit carfeul about MAD. That was more a declared policy than an actual policy. US nuclear doctrine has never really embraced MAD although MAD was reality esp after the Brezhnev builldup. Ever since US has tried to escape MAD but the point made about accidental nuclear war is very interesting and worth exploring.

Pete, cool pic of Indian nukes at your blog. I have some comments there.
Posted by Markob, Friday, 15 June 2007 9:46:23 AM
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Marko

I agree that the US military and its supporting industries dream up threats to justify their existence.

But the nuclear missile threat from rogue states will exist in the near to medium term (5 to 15 years) and may kill millions.

This means (I believe) Japan will be making a rational decision to work with the US to develop a viable ballistic missile defence (BMD) before North Korea develops a viable nuclear missile system. 3 "airliner missiles" cost the US $10s of billions after 9/11 and one accurate missile hit from North Korea could cost Japan many times more. So a cost benefit argument is there favouring BMD deployment against the comparitively few missiles North Korea could field.

Similarly Iran may only be able to field comparitively few missiles against states that are nearer to it (at first) ie Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Against many missiles with MIRVs the cost benefit argument goes out the window. But there we are talking a less likely Russia, China, India threat.

Meanwhile Pakistan is a wild card with too many missiles but it knows India might destroy given an excuse if the US doesn't do it first.

I think BMD is a rational response to countries that have been desperately staking so much of their limited income so few nuclear nuclear bombs.

BMD planning IS the "justice" of countries who have been in the Bomb making business longer and so have more Bombs and other technical advantages. Significantly such potential "victors" just happen to have a reliable track record of not starting nuclear wars.

It potentially extremist Muslim states with nuclear weapons (Iran, Pakistan) and "starve to make Bombs" despotisms (North Korea) that should be prevented from kiliing us.

BMD may well be worth the cost given military spending will be astronomical anyway.

Pete
http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com/
Posted by plantagenet, Saturday, 16 June 2007 1:00:24 AM
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