[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V3 #31

arms-d@ucbvax.ARPA (05/15/85)

From: The Arms-D Moderator (Harold Ancell) <ARMS-D@MIT-MC.ARPA>

Arms-Discussion Digest Volume 3 : Issue 31
Today's Topics:

                              Future War
               Strategic Interests vs Popular Sympathy
              Reply to J.Miller: on a moral litmus test

Date: Mon, 13 May 85  9:01:39 EDT
From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1>
Subject: Future War
To: Wolf-Dieter Batz <L12%DHURZ2.BITNET@WISCVM>

I'm a bit confused by your message to me concerning future war. I
would suggest you might check back and see if perhaps the comments
about El Salvador and Nicaragua were made by someone responding back
to me.  At any rate, I have not made any comment on that conflict as
my professional activities have not included that area. @'m afraid
that all I have on the subject is my opinion, and unlike others I
hesitate to comment publicly on subjects of which I have no first-hand



Date: Mon, 13 May 85 17:01:10 EST
From: Herb Lin <LIN@MIT-MC>
Subject:  Helicopter-vs-Helicopter

    [From: jmiller@APG-1  - Mod.]

    Any (unclassified) information would be most 
    enlightening personally, and I could probably use it here at the 

In the last few years, there have been several articles in International
Defense Review on h vs h warfare (mostly harware, little doctrine).


Date: Mon, 13 May 85 17:06:01 EST
From: Herb Lin <LIN@MIT-MC>
Subject:  Future Army
To: jmiller@APG-1

Please tell us what "modern" includes.  I have heard that the 60,000
figure for the SU includes large numbers of T-54 and similar vintage
tanks -- certainly threatening to soldiers with machine guns only, but
higly vulnerable to modern anti-tank weapons.


Date: 29 Apr 1985 14:41:19 EDT (Monday)
From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1>
Subject: Strategic Interests vs Popular Sympathy

     With regard to your two comments;
     There is indeed a wind of change in South Africa. There is 
no question that apartheid is a reprehensible policy. There are 
surely men of democratic bent among Black nationalist groups. I 
believe you to be a bit naive in thinking they would be able to 
stand up to the encroachment by pro-Moscow elements in the event 
of establishing majority rule. Neither of us can do more than 
speculate on this, but the modern history of Africa supports my 
contention. The media may be attracted to reasonable- sounding 
bishops and other moderates, but power will gravitate to the ANC, 
much as it did to ZANU in Zimbabwe.
     You obviously misread my questions since you say I advocate 
direct US suppression of majority rule.
     My question is more oblique; is it smart to try to overthrow 
the existing government (lets take off the blinders and admit 
that this is the popular goal.) of a country of such dramatic 
strategic importance, a government that is willing to be aligned 
with the US, when the alternative will be a government most 
likely hostile to the US? Even if a mild, socialist, non-aligned 
state emerged, would we want this vital area to become other than 
solidly under western control......considering the propensity for 
non-aligned nations in this region to align with the USSR?
     I propose no concrete, well thought-out answers. I only 
raise the issue because I am concerned at the reluctance to 
discuss this region in these terms. Unfortunately for us, the 
modern world is too complex to judge foreign and defense policy 
in terms of absolute right or wrong.



Date: Mon, 29 Apr 85 12:28:05 pdt
From: alice!wolit@Berkeley
Subject: Strategic Interests

Jeff Miller writes that US policy should favor the white minority
government of South Africa because of that county's reserves of certain
"strategic" minerals and its position astride a "sealane chokepoint."

Given the current military postures of the US and the USSR -- giant
standing armed forces, heavily dependent on existing long-range rocket,
bomber, and naval units, with pre-positioned supplies -- and given the
inevitably short duration of any large-scale conflict between them
because of the incredible destructiveness of these weapons, it is
gratuitous to speak of "strategic" minerals in the way that one could
have fifty years ago.  It is inconceivable that a US-USSR war could
last long enough for the ore that is mined at its start to be turned
into weapons that will see use before it's all over.  Given a war, we
will have a hard enough time moving already manufactured weapons (and
troops) in time, given our meager sealift capability;  we will not be
wasting ships and time on dirt.

More important, though, is the ridiculous attitude that we must cede a
majority government in South Africa to the Soviets.  Certainly, if we
insist on backing the current racist government, we will have few
friends in power when the majority inevitably (and properly) regains
control.  But it is not too late to reverse our course and back the
majority.  The Soviet economic system is not so attractive compared to
that of the West;  it is only when we drive them to it, by support of
totalitarian regiemes like those of the Shah, Somosa, or Botha, that
the Third World rejects us (if even then: the US is STILL the largest
customer for Nicaraguan coffee).

But beyond the questions of economy, the moral issue is still not just
valid, but paramount.  One could have made a case for a US-German
alliance in 1940: the Nazis were winning, and Jeff Miller seems
to imply that it's in the best interest of our people to be on the winning
side.  Our TRUE interests, though, include promulgation of our democractic
ideals, not simply domination by military force.


Date: Monday, 29 April 1985 15:39:32 EDT
From: Hank.Walker@cmu-cs-unh.arpa
To: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1.arpa>
Subject: Strategic Interests vs Popular Sympathy

I didn't intend to accuse you of advocating suppression of majority rule.
Many people think that if we do nothing except mildly criticize the South
African government, they will continue to ignore us, regard all opposition
as Commies, and wind up with a revolution and anti-US regime.  The
revolution may be decades off, so over the short term, doing nothing may be
in the US's interest.  But in the long term, we lose.  Alternatively we can
actively promote peaceful change.  This might lead to an anti-US government,
or a democratic government.  The thinking is that it's better to take the
risk of getting an anti-US regime now, than be sure of getting one in the

I don't think opposition groups are overly ideological right now.  However
if things are allowed to degenerate to armed revolution, then extremist
elements will probably take control, and moderates will become extremists.
With peaceful change, the moderate majority is more likely (though not a
certainty) to stay a majority.  If the US helps bring about change, then any
current ill feelings towards the US might dissipate.


From:        LINCOLN HPS (on ERCC DEC-10) <L.Wallen%edxa@ucl-cs.arpa>
Date:        Monday, 29-Apr-85 14:32:11-GMT
Subject:     Reply to J.Miller: on a moral litmus test

	[From J. Miller
		Here's a thought that should engender some 
	serious defense comment and, inevitably, emotion.

I hope you do not mean to imply that the arguments of anyone
expressing abhorrence at your suggestion may safely be discounted.

		The US depends heavily on certain strategic 
	materials. Among these are uranium, chromium, titanium, 
	magnesium and cobalt. The USSR has reserves of most of 
	these. In case of war with the USSR, it would be a 
	grave strategic vulnerability if our supplies of these 
	minerals were not in friendly hands. Currently the 
	chief supplier of these and other materials is South 

		What should the US policy toward South Africa be?

To me, the answer to this question is obvious:  the US administration
has a clear duty to its people to ensure that the people of South Africa
are well-disposed towards the US.

		How valid is the contention that the US should 
	only associate with regimes that pass a moral litmus test?

		The chance that any majority government in South 
	Africa might be pro-Western is practically non-existent.

I have the uneasy feeling that you believe this state of affairs to be
"god-given".  Why do you think a majority (i.e., predominantly black)
government would be hostile to the west?  May I suggest that it is
because you implicitly recognise that from the position of a non-white
South African, the western powers can only be seen to be actively
supporting the regime that oppresses them.  You therefore reach the
conclusion that should they gain their civil rights, they will naturally
be hostile to the aides of their former oppressors.

But in this analysis lies the roots of your problem.  If the western
powers were sincere in their opposition to apartheid, and actively
strove to help achieve the civil rights of the oppressed people in South
Africa, why then would those people perceive the west as an enemy?
Afterall, there are plently of other ex-colonies who are not anti-west.

This point applies in a much wider context than South Africa..  For some
reason, that for the life of me I do not understand, western
governments, spearheaded by the US, remain intent on supporting the
REGIMES and unrepresentative governments of third-world countries rather
than the PEOPLE of those countries.  Even if aid must go via the ruling
group in a country it can be tied to the purchase of agricultural
supplies such as tractors, construction equipment for housing etc.  Why
is aid not perceived as an instrument to raise the standard of living in
a country -- i..e., for the PEOPLE.

It is so short-sighted to prop up despotic regimes.  How long will they 
remain in power?  Far from being in the best interests of the US this sort
of policy acts directly against their interests, making them seem to be
against any form of popular expression.  If the aim of the US is to
nurture popular control of a country, supporting tyrannical regimes
lays the foundations for the anti-western reaction you speak of
once steps towards popular control take place.

	Hans J. Morgenthau said that national leaders 
	whose pursuit of moral imperatives cause them to 
	sacrifice their peoples' true interests are the most 
	immoral of all men.

Absolutely.  How many more peoples will the US drive into the Soviet
camp in the name of "defence"?  

			Lincoln Wallen
			reply to :  lw%edxa@ucl-cs


From:        DIANA HPS (on ERCC DEC-10) <"[140,153]%edxa"@ucl-cs.arpa>
Date:        Thursday,  2-May-85 10:25:22-GMT

1)	If the USA is anywhere near as prudent as the UK, it will have
	stockpiles of scarce materials.  The UK has stocks of Uranium for
	10 years.  Thus trade bans by black African states would not
	cause much effect unless they were sustained for a long period.

2)	These states depend on their exports for foreign exchange.  For
	example, the USA currently buys oil from both Angola & Iran;
	Mozambique trades with South Africa.  It is unlikely that they would
	be able to withstand a long period of withheld trade, assuming
	they managed to organise it in the first place.

3)	The more the west refuses to help the oppressed people in these
	countries, the more they will dislike us.  Most ex-colonial countries
	have not rushed into the arms of the USSR, but have accepted aid
	from them because they were the only ones to offer it.

4)	According to a report by the UN in 1974, the USA has 50% more
	recoverable uranium than South Africa.  It seems it is cheaper to
	let black workers in Namibia work unprotected in (British controlled)
	uranium mines, breathing Radon 222, than to mine it in the USA with
	its well-developed environmental lobby & reasonably resistent 
	workforce.  (People who think that nuclear power is cheap might
	care to reflect on this).

As an aside, I know little about the structure of science research in the USSR.
If most of it is administrated by the KGB, then all the soviet scientists Jeff
claims are in the KGB would be quite normal.  Does anyone know anything about
			Dave Berry
			(seismo!mcvax!ukc!kcl-cs!cstvax!db, db%cstvax@ucl-cs)

[End of ARMS-D Digest]