[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V2 #40

daemon@ucbvax.UUCP (05/27/84)

>From @MIT-MC:JLarson.PA@Xerox.ARPA  Sun May 27 02:30:45 1984
Arms-Discussion Digest Volume 2 : Issue 40

Today's Topics:

		Technological vs Political Solutions (3 msgs)
		Re: global US-USSR conflict is remote
		obnoxious "checks enclosed" 
		Basic flaw in *any* forward-basing mode for defense

Date: 24 May 1984 02:00-EDT
From: Herb Lin <LIN @ MIT-MC>
Subject:  Technological vs Political Solutions
In-reply-to: Msg of 14 May 84 02:40:34 EDT from JoSH <JoSH at RUTGERS.ARPA>

    From: JoSH <JoSH at RUTGERS.ARPA>

	From: Caulkins
        "I don't believe that it requires a fundemental turnaround in
	the makeup
        of the human mind to realize that making ever more weapons
	that threaten
        civilization and the species is a bad idea, and that new political
        approaches are needed.

    Do you think that the political leaders of the world over the past 40
    years cannot see this obviously simple fact?  Do you think it really
    makes a difference in the political arena?

In fact, I think they cannot see this obviously simple fact.  Indeed,
there is a good deal of psychological research that indicates that
people are unable to cope with large changes, and react by denying
their reality, especially when under stress.  Furthermore, when they
may not have to face the outcome (i.e., a nuclear war), they
underestimate the probability of undesirable events significantly.
However, it is NOT a question of intelligence, at least not as
measured by the standard measures (usually given when not under real


Date: 24 May 1984 02:07-EDT
From: Herb Lin <LIN @ MIT-MC>
Subject:  Technological vs Political Solutions
In-reply-to: Msg of 21 May 84 23:45:39 EDT from JoSH <JoSH at RUTGERS.ARPA>

actually, you bring up an interesting question to which I would like
to see some answers.  Can someone imagine a scenario in which the
US/USSR are "dragged" into a nuclear war by some third world nuclear

If so, please post it.  I haven't come up with any, and yet this is
the thing most often mentioned.


Date: 24 May 1984 06:03-EDT
From: Robert Elton Maas <REM @ MIT-MC>
Subject: Technological vs Political Solutions

    Date: 24 May 1984 02:07-EDT
    From: Herb Lin <LIN @ MIT-MC>
    Can someone imagine a scenario in which the US/USSR are "dragged"
    into a nuclear war by some third world nuclear usage?
Same technique as VietNam. USA and USSR have "advisors" in various
third-world countries (Honduras, Israel, Lebanon, Afganastan, Germany,
Japan, you name it somebody has advisors there). So a local nuclear
war starts, and our advisors and troop ships get nuked out of
existance. We (USA or USSR) retaliate against that third-world nation,
and obliterate some enemy (USSR or USA respectively) advisors and
troops etc. we didn't know were so close, or else that enemy nation
has a protective treaty and resents our use of nuclear weapons and
denies their friendly third-world nation used them first. Seeing how
things got out of hand in VietNam and Lebanon, I worry a lot about a
third-world nuclear war <sorry for play on words> getting out of hand.
It's just too difficult to contain war when there are technical means
to enlarge the war.

[Worried pessimist, REM]


Date: Thu 24 May 84 20:26:32-PDT
From: Eric J. Horvitz <EJH@SU-SCORE.ARPA>
Subject: Re: Arms-Discussion Digest V2 #39
In-Reply-To: Message from "Moderator <ARMS-D@MIT-MC.ARPA> " of Wed 23 May 84 22:43:56-PDT

"Most serious analysts feel that a fullscale global US-USSR conflict is
remote."  --JOSH  

Either our definitions of the term "remote" are very different or you
are probably a bit off in your assessment of the thoughts of the grand
experts.  I have found through personal communication with a number of
our country's top "serious" experts that the most prevalent view is
that fullscale US-USSR conflict is not remote at all.  As one example,
at a recent round table seminar, I asked Dick Garwin point blank:

	"Considering all that you know, what is your estimate for the
	likelihood of a massive nuclear exchange between the US and
	the USSR within twenty years?"

Garwin knitted his brow and squirmed a bit before coming up with an
answer.  "I would give that a 30% chance," he said confidently.

Even Hermann Kahn was bullish in estimating the chances for a massive
nuclear war between the superpowers.  Tell me, which serious experts
have you been studying?



Date: 26 May 1984 05:03-EDT
From: Robert Elton Maas <REM @ MIT-MC>
Subject: Me too, obnoxious "checks enclosed" mailing received

Indeed, when I went to check my mail Thursday (first time in over a
week) I found that misleading letter. I haven't opened it yet. I may
ask the postal inspector to open it with me. (I'll pretend not to know
what's inside, and to be freaked out by the threat on the cover
"penalty for illegal use", then pretend to be really shocked by the
fraudulent gimmick inside.) Graham ought to be ashamed of the tactics
his organization is using. Is he that desperate to save face for his
wonderful idea that happens not to be feasible currently due to
revelations of nuclear winter, that he must resort to every dirty
trick he can think of to push his idea on us before we all recognize
its faults??

Apologies to Lowell Wood who shares Graham's views but not his tactics.
(LLW must feel about Graham like President Carter felt about Billy?)


Date: 26 May 1984 05:17-EDT
From: Robert Elton Maas <REM @ MIT-MC>
Subject: Basic flaw in *any* forward-basing mode for defense

There seems to be a basic flaw in any weapon that is based closer to
the enemy's homeland than to one's own. What right do we have to put
our weapons in their yard? Isn't that an untrusion on their space?
Don't they have the right to push us back to at least the midpoint
between our homelands? Therefore, if we put anti-ICBM weapons in space
as their normal basing mode, don't the USSR have the right to shoot
them down whenever they pass over USSR territory? Sputnik set a
precedent for peaceful passive devices to pass over enemy territory
providing they are in orbit. Yuri Gegarin (do I have that name
correct? It's been awhile) extended that precedent for manned peaceful
flights providing they are in orbit. But no precedent has been
established for weapons over enemy territory under any circumstances
(anti-sat weapons haven't been officially acknowldged).

Perhaps we (USA and USSR) should make it clear that any weapon capable
of damaging enemy homeland or enemy satellites or other enemy vehicles
should be forbidden to fly over enemy territory, EVEN IF IN ORBIT, by
establishing a treaty or agreement to that effect? Exceptions could be
granted only by mutual agreement such as a joint BMD system. Then
one-sided BMD as well as satellite killers would be FORBIDDEN, while
observer satellites which report violations of the treaty would be
explicitly PERMITTED by the Sputnik/Gegarin precedent.

I favor such a treaty to avoid the destabilizing effect of any
forward-based weapon. Rebuttal anyone?

[End of ARMS-D Digest]