Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some Things Will Never Change

Just when we're sheltered under paper, the rockets come at us sideways.
- Meat Puppets

Finally, someone writes a truthful, easy to read article about missile defense.

The bottom line? Strategic Missile Defenses Don't Work.

The caveat? Strategic Missile Defenses Make the World More Dangerous.

That's really the most simplistic explanation of this subject that I can come up with. The article goes on to describe why.

So, why is Obama supporting any type of missile defense even as he dismantles Ol' Dubya's lunatic money hole of international destabilization? His plan calls for a missile defense sytem that is less expensive and more mobile, but has the same problems of "being ineffective" and "making things more dangerous."

One word answer: politics.

There is a lot of government money, and lobbying, tied up in missile defense. That dog has been barking for a lunatic money hole of international destabilization since the Reagan years, trying to fatten someone's bottom line. The only real good we have out of it is the increase in missile technology and radar that have been developed because of the program.

Obama also realizes that, at some point, Republicans more beholden to missile defense ideology (money) will be back in office.

With the technology advances being good, but the deployment proving problematic, Obama wants to set up a vehcile for missile defense investment that is less expensive and less destabilizing.

There is also the "Democrats want America to be weak" meme, propogated by partisan hacks, moneyed defense interests and sustained by individuals unfamiliar with the terms stability, rationality and reality. By keeping some form of missile defense, Obama hopes to quiet at least some of those voices.



Dante said...

Bush takes a stance you don't agree with and it must be for ideological reasons. But Obama disagrees with you and there MUST be some ulterior motive. Surely Obama doesn't like missile defense?! That's unpossible! That was clearly marked in the "evil" column. [And this is the point where a sentient robot from a 60's sci-fi pulp novel would blow up while trying to sort out the logical contradiction.]

You know it is possible that since mobile missile defense has a great track record Obama's decision could have something to do with spending money on a proven idea over an unproven one. The only person I see falling for the "Democrats want America to be weak" meme is you, Pat, for your immediate assumption that Obama is merely playing politics over an important part of our national defense.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Let's not get confused.

The tactical interceptors do have a good track record of success. But Patriot batteries are already mobile, and no one is suggesting cutting out this working program. Bush 43's plan was not about tactical theatre interceptors and neither is Obama's plan.

As the article clearly states, we're not talking about tactical theatre interceptors such as the Patriot system, we're talking about the strategic (ICBM) missile defense.

And the political trend has been for GOP Presidents to dump money into missile defense in order to politically label Dems as weak on defense when they attempt to point out the fact that we're paying for something that doesn't work. This has been the case since Reagan was President.

Confusion between the tactical (read: Patriot) successes and the strategic missile defense failures only strenghtens the meme.

It ain't like I just come up with this stuff in a vaccum.

Dante said...

The only real differences between "tactical" and "strategic" are trajectory and velocity. I know your article rambles about 70% being not good enough but compared to 0% I'll take it. Besides, nobody is lobbing nukes at us any time soon. If "strategic" missile defense is used in our lifetimes, it's likely to be used defending Israel or India. Nice side-stepping though of my primary reason for comment.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Sorry to sidestep, I thought you wanted to talk about the realities, destabilizing nature, and ineffectiveness of strategic missile defesnes by confusing that with tactical missile defenses.

You really wanted to talk about the Bush/Obama thing. If Obama is a real fan of strategic missile defense, he is deluded as the rest of this failed strategy's proponents. Or worse, he is listening to someone that is. I never thought I would catch such hell for criticizing decisions of this administration.

But I'm going to look to the usual pattern: Dem advisors are usually international balance of power cooperationistas who attempt to respect "balance" and acheive "stability." GOP advisors have recently been neoconservative fantasy-landers who look with contempt and disrespect on the theories of balance of power, stability and rationalism.

Both schools of thought have significant drawbacks, but the neoconservative ideology has the potential to cause far greater damage. That ideology includes strategic missile defense, as every GOP president to have neocon advisors has advocated some sort of SDI, while many Dems have argued against it.

But realism goes beyond just international relations considerations. If there is an international realist advising Obama on this matter, that individual's ideology should take into account behaviors of a future GOP administration with regards to policy.

Which is why I came to the conclusion that I did.

Dante said...

"Sorry to sidestep, I thought you wanted to talk about the realities, destabilizing nature, and ineffectiveness of strategic missile defesnes by confusing that with tactical missile defenses."

And miss your half-baked rationalizations of why it's ok for one side to do something but not the other? No thanks.