Anthony replies to Les (forwarded)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue May 16 07:03:39 MDT 2000

Les wrote,

"But there is something i have not figured out yet. There are numerous
reports (one from Union of Concerned Scientists published a few weeks ago
in Nature) which clearly state that the missile defense plan is technically
flawed and can be defeated by any power with even very few delivery
vehicles, a la Korea or Iraq in possible near future."


Anthony replies,
But what if the Union of Concerned Scientists is wrong? And how is any
potential nuclear opponent of the USA to know who is right - the pentagon,
or the critics?

Iraq, a country whose leadership believed that the political and
battlefield weaknesses of US imperialism would protect it, find out
otherwise. If I had a few missiles to lob towards the USA - a missile
defense system would make me think twice - especially if I did not have one.

But even if they are right about the technical flaws in currently planned
systems, this does not mean that militarily those systems are worthless. Why?

1. In a nuclear war, the side that survives wins. If a small country
destroys Seattle, Washington D.C. and Fort Worth - so what. North Korea,
Iraq, Russia or whatever country you nominate - ceases to exist. The flawed
defense system protected 70%, or maybe only 50%, or maybe only 30%, of the
targets - whereas the nonexistent missile defense system of the nominee -
didn't protect any of the targets.

2. Whichever country develops a flawed system now, tests it, and starts
working on the flaws, is likely to be the first to develop a system with
less flaws.  A good example of how this principle works can be found in
another - though related - endeavor, the Hubble Telescope. It was flawed,
but now it is fixed. If it was never built, the flaw could not have been
detected, nor could it have been corrected.

[Mikhael Gorbachev, when he was the leader of the Soviet Union believed
that it was technically possible to build such missile defense systems.
Gorbachev was (and no doubt still is) a very well informed, and
intelligent, man. His problem was the time and expense, not the technical

Les wrote,

"In the era of US-Soviet battles and massive proposed kill capabilities, i
know the US could work to drain the Soviet economy by making the Reds keep


Anthony replies,
This strategic principle of the cold war, in my opinion, has been adopted
with a new spin as one of the centerpieces of post cold war US global
strategy. The new spin is that the USA will stay so far ahead of every
potential opponent, that no other country will dare enter an arms race with
it. The idea is to put the USA into an unassailable position as the only
superpower on the planet, and consequently THE final arbiter of all
military conflicts between other countries - and within other countries.

This direction has been developing within US policy for over 100 years, but
with the fall of the Soviet Union it has begun to take on a new form. The
first tests of this emerging new form were Grenada, El Salvador and
Nicaragua. Afghanistan, and Iraq, were more advanced tests.Yugoslavia the
most advanced yet.

Europe and Japan - the real imperialist rivals of the USA - no matter how
much their interests may be in conflict with the policy of the USA, and no
matter how much economic muscle they may have - must defer to the USA
forever, because of its military hegemony. This is the theory.

The real dangers to the ruling class of the USA are not small countries,
not poor countries, but the other rich countries.

And Russia. And China.

Especially a Russia allied with Europe.

Or, a Russia allied with China.

In other words, when it comes to  global conflict - Russia has fallen from
its place as one of two superpowers - but, because of its nuclear arsenal
still maintains a powerful potential as a country that could be the spoiler
for global hegemony of the USA.

This role would be partially - or even completely - nullified if the USA
were to install an SDI. How partially, or how completely, would depend on
how flawed such a system really turned out to be - something which could
really only be finally tested in a nuclear war.

The other country that must be considered in this equation is China. The
Chinese Communist Party, capitalist roaders though they be - and corrupt
though they be, is a very, very savvy organization. Their strategy is aimed
at making China the rival of the USA in the global economy, and the global
political economy. My view is that they think that a capitalist sector of
around 20% of the economy - integrated into the world capitalist economy,
but subordinated to the "socialist economy" can be the locomotive that
pulls the "socialist" 80% forward.

In terms of building powerful industrial and "new" economic sectors
simultaneously, this strategy has much to say for it. [In terms of building
anything remotely resembling socialism, I think its a bust.]

This strategy has its military component, and the military component has a
very important program to develop nuclear missile systems.

China's first military frontier is in Asia. India and Pakistan have nuclear
weapons. So too may North Korea. So too do some of the states that were
part of the former Soviet Union in central Asia. And of course, so do the
USA and Russia.

Here, I think - is the real nuclear powder keg of the world.

If there is a war amongst any of these powers - which goes nuclear, the
chances that the one superpower on the planet will get involved are very high.

So, what would you do if you were sitting in a think tank on the Potomac-
or in an office at the Pentagon, NSC, or State Department? Push for SDI.

And, of course, some defense contractors would love you for it, and help
make your plans into a reality.

Anyhow, that's how it looks to me.


Louis Proyect

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