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Anti-Ballistic Missile Weapons?

Cliff posted more than 14 years ago | from the star-wars-redeux dept.

News 356

Rolan asks: "With the recent development of Anti-balistic Missile Technology, and it's obvious ability to be expanded to an Anti-Satelite/Spacecraft Weapon, I've begun to wonder what exactly happend to the treaties we made reguarding these weapons. Specificially I know that, during the cold war, we made treaties with the USSR that prohibit both parties from developing such weapons. Has the disolving of the USSR Nullified/Voided these treaties, or have we simply decided to froget them? Or is there actually a loop hole that alows these weapons? "

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nucler test ban treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573289)

why do you think the us didn't renew the Nucler test ban treaty I believe it restricted StarWars type technologies

Re:abm stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573339)

Research is allowed but Deployement is not. Putting up a 100 Missile Defense grid and calling it a Resarch should be intersting.

Re:nucler test ban treaty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573345)

Dude, the nuclear test ban treaty also prohibits making anti-nuclear defence devices. IE) anti-ICBM. They set it up that way so that no one would have a defence so no one who has nukes has an advantage. -Mark

Re:Anti Satellite Weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573346)

Actually the F-15C and F-15E are both single-seaters. The "even" letters are single-seaters (A,C,E,G) and the "odd" letters (B,D,F) are their two-seater counterparts.


I'm not a real anonymous coward, I just play one on TV.

Re:loophole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573347)

USSR doesn't exist but Russia does. This is whom the treaty would link to.


Re:Self-centeredness. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573348)

You see us as self-centered, we see you as jealous.

I guess when you live outside the US and you see us trying to protect our own interests with such vigor, it might be construed as being self-centered. Don't try and pretend that every country doesn't do the same thing, the US just has to do it a lot more.

Just imagine your country has the wealth and power of the US, now amplify the effort your country puts out to protect it's self interests... congratulations, the entire world now thinks you are self-centered.

It's ok to stick up for your own country, but realize that the difference between your country and the US is only a matter of dollars and cents.

Re:Treaties ARE still in effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573349)

I would disagree that there is "no way" that China, Iraq, Iran, or North Korea could cause significant damage to the US. Define "significant damage".

A single warhead (nuclear or biological) that hits San Francisco or LA would probably considered very serious. The point of current US ABM research is for exactly this type of situation.

The systems in development are not designed to provide protection against a massive launch from Russia. They are designed to provide protection against a rouge nation with a few weapons. With no ABM system, North Korea could simply demand concessions from the US or they will hit the west coast. Would you be willing to sacrifice LA and then destroy North Korea?

One could argue, of course, that the systems are not that valuable because the warheads could be delivered by other means (suicide bombing, car bomb, etc).


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573350)

This is pretty serious -- it's a little known fact that the USSR actually has the capacity to toally decimate our country, and still survive. They have an extensive network of underground nuclear shelters in their country.

Begging the obvious questions - if its such a big secret - how come you know about it?

Your post makes great comedy, if that was your intent.

Re:Treaties ARE still in effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573351)

On principle, the U.S. would never back down. A nuclear threat against a U.S. city would cause the U.S. to threaten to blow the whole country to pieces if a missile even came close to a U.S. city. Awhile back, North Korea was making noise about launching a nuclear missile at the U.S., to which Clinton and the State Department cooly responded that they would turn North Korea into a "smoking hole in the ground" if North Korea actually attempted such a thing. They were NOT kidding, either. Any nuclear launch against the US by another country will result in the complete and utter annhilation of the attacking country, even one as big as China. Threatening to do so will only make the U.S. more aggressive - if China threatened to nuke LA for U.S. interference and starting sending boats across the strait, I guarantee not one would make it as several U.S. carrier groups rushed to the scene. I do not think they would hesitate to hit the staging zones on the mainland, either. Note that I am not maintaining that this is good or bad, but it is how it is.

International law == oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573352)

Laws are created by nations. Treaties are only as
good as the honesty of polititions in office.

Oh, the UN? It is a bad joke. The UN is mostly
controlled and funded by the US. The UN is a
tool used by US polititions to override the
US constitiution as is convenient. (treaties
take precidence, so make a treaty as desired...)

Only a fool would obey an arms limitation treaty.
If your enemy is a fool, make a treaty!

loophole? (0)

uninerd (79304) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573364)

For that matter, what good are all our old agreements with old red? I am not much for the technicalities of world affairs, but who do all of our treaties with the former USSR still pertain to?

Re:Alright, but will the treaty allow for Linux? (0)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573366)

Seriously. I think we all should learn some history, it is part of where we come from and our future. I still read history cause its our hertidge, our shame, our bright momment, our actions and our hopes. I mean we have to learn from the great leaders of the past so that we can strive for a better future.

P.S. - that's a lot better then the old -> Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it

Treaty Re-negotiations (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573371)

I recall seeing an article within the last few weeks about changing this particular treaty. The reason being that the there will be too many countries in the future capable of creating ICBMs. It may have included some type of tech sharing on our anti-missile tech.

SCUD missiles @ Gulf (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573373)

They blew up the fuel tanks, to make fireworks, the warheads still fell. ;-P

abm stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573374)

Yes, the ABM agreements are still in effect. We have offered to re-negociate them with the Russians in return for some concessions on our part (regarding nuclear waste ect.) And some help in dealing with some problems. I am not sure about the research part of it, I do know that space research on this is not acceptable under the ABM agreement and others. The reason why they were first signed is to make it so that the two superpowers could not protect populations and so on, and could not hope to win a nuclear war. MAD or mutually assured destruction is the idea behind that. Just a bit of history for the younger geeks.

Anti Satellite Weapons (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573375)

These have been around for almost 2 decades if not longer. The Air Force can shoot down a satellite using a special missile and an F-15 (can't remember if it is the C or E (single or two-seater))

Re:Treaties made concerned nuclear weapons (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573376)

The Scud was developed AS a nuclear missle. Until it hits, you can't tell what warhead has been installed. You won't see anything special from it's flight profile.

ABM treaty clarification [and an amusing detail] (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573377)

IIRC, the US designated a site in North Dakota as its protected zone under the ABM treaty. Current talk of an ABM defense involves 2 US ABM sites: one in Alaska, and the one in Dakota. This, of course, would require a clear violation of the ABM treaty [2 sites > 1], so some thought is being given to just one site, in Alaska [requiring a transfer, if you will, of the protected ABM site]. What is most amusing about this situation is the site in Alaska. The mainland of the US could be protected from a single site in North Dakota but, surprise! Alaska's congressional delegation has made it very clear that the US citizens residing in that great state are just as deserving of ABM protection. So we may very get well a single ABM site there, a site which would [for obvious geographical reasons] be a bit more open to a disruptive strike than the site in the Dakota hinterlands.

--an anonymous wonk

Re:Ronald Reagan was right!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573378)

I think that Reagan was completely AGAINST signing a treaty that would limit our ability to defend ourselves. The USSR was at the end of its rope, and when Reagan refused to give up star wars (a kind-of similar technology to ABM's), the USSR didn't have much else they could do to counter. Reagan stood strong for DEFENSE. It very well could be a reason that communism fell in the USSR. America should DEFEND itself against whatever might come up. An arms buildup isn't necessarily for a strike. It's for a deterrant (sp?).

Scientific American article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573379)

There is an excellent article in the Aug 99 issue of Scientific American that talks about the stupidity of SDI. The article is titled "Why National Missile Defense Won't Work." Unfortunately I couldn't find a link at

It goes deeper into the problems with SDI and missile defense in general, and if i remember correctly it casts dobuts about the accuracy of the patriot missiles launched during the Gulf War.

The first problem that these systems have is that they have trouble identifying their targets correctly. Even very smart defense systems have difficulty distinguishing missiles from debris before they pass by. And if enemy missiles are detected, the interceptor has to turn around, accelerate, and determine the other missiles course before it touches down. Then, if by some miracle the system figures all this out, the enemy missile just explodes and scatters its insides at somewhere besides its target.

The point is, with as big of a gamble as missile defense is, the money could be much better spent elsewhere.

Big defense spending will create jobs! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573380)

Oh how I long for the '80s again. Say what you will about that decade but life was better for all of us back then. There were more jobs (and high paying jobs too), technology expanded wildly (which we now enjoy today), and a lot more money being saved and spent in the best damn economy the US has seen since the post-WWII era.

And before the nay-sayers bitch about how we suffered in the 90s after living on a credit card for 10 years, that's a load and you know it. The US economy crumbled because we won the cold war. The Soviet Union crumbled and suddenly there was no big bad Red anymore to justify the defense industry so tons of jobs and defense-supporting industries suddenly went *poof!*. Still, Reagan was an economic genius who pulled America out of a nasty slump as much as Roosevelt did with his New Deal, yet did so without expanding government. Kudos to you Ron, you deserve yo have your likeness carved into Mt. Rushmore alongside your fellow greats.

F-15 Spacewar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573381)

I remember reading more than ten years ago in Popular Science magazine about an anti-satellite missile the USAF developed to be launched from an F-15 at max altitude. This was/is a small high speed projectile (not explosive) that simply slams into the target.

Re:ABM treaty clarification [and an amusing detail (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573382)

ABMs in Alaska are for N Korean and Chinese missiles which track thru Alaska for least distance to the US.

This was in... (1)

rbf (2305) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573403)

the Readers Digest a few months ago. Basically what the article said was, the USSR is dead, Russia is not honoring the old argeement because it was with the USSR. The U.S. Military and Congress want to tear up the whole thing because the Russians are ignoring it and going ahead with development, but the Clinton Administration wont... We can research but not develop Anti Balistic missile technology. The article really made the point that its all being hung up within the Clinton Administartion!

Pretty screwed if you ask me!

The treaties are probably gone. (1)

DrZaius (6588) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573413)

Considering the USSR no longer exists, one half of the agreement no longer exists. I would assume having an agreement with nobody isn't going to hold.

Other things to consider:

- was it the US who developed these weapons, or was it some other country

- was the 'anti-anti-balistic weapons' agreement made with Russia?

I am ignorant to most of the issues, but I might start somebody who isn't on the right path :)

Re:USSR != Republic of Russia (1)

seeken (10107) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573424)

I believe there are treaties to deal with space based weapons- to forbid them, that is.

I do agree that we should scrap the ABM treaty, though, and deploy the anti-icmb system. When someone wants to nuc us, make them do it the hard way- smuggle it in and drive it to ground zero.

I think we should disarm all our icbms, fill the warheads with Ricky Martin CD's and Titanic Videos and launch a pre-emptive cutural annihilation strike. It's the only way to be sure.

Surfing the net and other cliches...

Re:The ABM Treaty is still binding (1)

scherrey (13000) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573432)

"International law is very clear here."

A more demonstrably incorrect statement would be difficult to comprehend. Actually, the situation is that when the USSR was looking to get busted up the continuation of treaties, acceptance of debt, and recognition of Russia as the replacement power in the UN Security Council were all previously negotiated and, thus far, the respective sides have followed these treaties to the same level as they did in the past.

That said, this is an agreement in principle with no bearing in law. For such a thing to be fully enacted the U.S. Senate would have to had ratified such agreements which did not occur.

As far as the Russians being upset, the Russians will have to get over it. The USA has not broken the ABM treaty and probably will have no need to do so.

Additionally, if American foreign policy isn't governed by "self interest", what exactly should govern it? Oh wait - I forgot about Clinton and the PRC. I guess we should qualify that as America's self interest rather than that of the person doing the negotiation.

Re:Treaties ARE still in effect. (1)

scherrey (13000) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573433)

This is completely incorrect. Treaty rights don't revert to anyone unless such a thing is specified in the treaty. No one signing the ABM treaty expected the USSR not to make it out of the 20th century (unless they went out with a big bang) and such text was not contained.

The reason why Russia is on the UN Security Council is because they negotiated that within the context of the UN where the U.S. Senate has no jurisdiction. For all matters regarding treaties, the U.S. Senate must ratify any changes or else they have no legal binding force on the USA.

Finally, while what you say about our ability to wipe someone else off the planet is certainly true, the real issue is how far we can be pushed before we'd be willing to do so. Consider what kind of reaction the PRC might expect if they can prove they have ICBM's capable of reaching any point in the USA. Presently, the USA's policy is to defend Taiwan against aggression. If the PRC's announce they're getting their province back and interference by us will result in a nuke popping LA, what do you bet we might let them slide in and not fire a single shot at those troop transports going across the straights? Certainly most American's wouldn't be willing to trade LA for Taiwan (as I would :-) ) and a president like Clinton, or any of the major contendors for 2000 would be unlikely to develop the backbone necessary to fend off such a threat.

Re:The arms race continues. (1)

isenguard (14308) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573437)

> I did a bit of research on Star Wars (the Regan version not the Speilberg version)...

Star Wars - perhaps you meant George Lucas, rather than Speilberg :-).

6 Months Notice??? (1)

sterno (16320) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573441)

What the heck is the point of the six month notice clause. There's no international body that exists to enforce treaties and punish people for breaking them, so what exactly is the point of an out clause. If you want out, just ignore the treaty :)


Re:Treaties made concerned nuclear weapons (1)

Dougan (30082) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573452)

Not really. It's called Mutually Assured Destruction -- the only real reason we're not all living in underground bunkers now. It's hard to justify firing nukes at Russia if you know that they'll just go ahead and turn your continent into a giant smoking hole in the ground in response...

So, if you go and build anti-ICBM missles, Russia's gotta go do it too to keep the balance of power in check -- and all you've accomplished is wasting a whole lot of money.

Re:Treaties made concerned nuclear weapons (1)

CryptdotX (30285) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573453)

Doesn't it seem kind of moronic to agree to a treaty which doesn't allow you to protect yourself?

It seems like saying something like, "Okay, I agree not to fire at warships invading our beaches." Or possibly, "I agree not to attack bombers that are going to drop bombs on our country."

It just seems silly to me.


Re:No Longer In Force (1)

SETY (46845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573469)

It's unfortunate when a "Democratic" superpower plays games.
I don't want to see a 21st century Cuban missle crisis. And as an aside I wish they would mention the invasion of Cuba more when History talks about that crisis. "Gee we invade their country and then they take steps to protect themselves"
Lets please learn from our mistakes..........

Re:Are'nt we overlooking something? (1)

Potent (47920) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573470)

But whether or not China has the "right" to invade them is irrelevant - we are still bound by treaty to defend Taiwan.

Re:Self-centeredness. (1)

Coward, Anonymous (55185) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573473)

WWII- Revenge
Vietnam- To keep capitalism powerful
Gulf- To keep oil for the US price down
Kosovo- To stop an upcoming power

All of these event were to lok out for number 1.

Of course wars are fought for selfish reasons. Has there ever been a war which wasn't?

Australia has been involved with al of these situations

Then I suppose Australia is just as selfish as the US for fighting in these same wars.

we have a little wealth and a little power, but not all of it goes into self interest.

Not all of the USA's wealth or power goes into self interest either. I would imagine that the Israeli's were quite happy that US patriot missiles shot down Iraqi scud missles. The citizens of Kuwait were probably happy when Iraq lost control of Kuwait. The jews in the concentration camps were somewhat overjoyed when they were freed. The countries that receive forein aid from the US are probably grateful for it. The list goes on.

Our country actually cares for others then itself.

Your cynical views towards the US could be applied to your country as well. Maybe your country only helps out other countries so that your country will receive aid when it needs it, this is quite greedy of your country and does not indicate that it cares for any other country, simply that it cares about the aid another country can give it.

It's fuzzy logic!!! (1)

Bacteriophage (78483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573492)

Yeah, I believe the original deal was to prohibit the assembly of ballistic missiles. There was no treaty that specified the prohibition of building ANTI-ballistic missiles :). The US is obviously using fuzzy logic to justify its continuous foray into nuclear weapons technology. Gotta love those government scientists!

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."

Re:The ABM Treaty is still binding (1)

jass (83214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573494)

Even if international law is not clear, determination of succession lies within the power of the Executive Branch. And the Clinton has signed a presidential finding asserting that the US views Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to be collectively bound by the treaty (i.e., collectively allowed one ABM site).

Does Congress want to challenge this executive power? It may not be a bad thing if it did because, during the cold war, the president has accumulate enormous power. In my opinion too much power. But Republicans are hypocrites if they launch such a challenge. They have long argued (as recently as the Bush administration) that Congress ought to delegate to the president such powers. In fact, Congress has gone so far as to delegate to the president the power to effectively declare war. In doing this, Congress has blatently ignored the constitution. And because of separation of powers issues, the U.S. Supreme Court has gone along with Congress' abdication of legislative oversight.

Before the Gulf War many Democrats tried to insist that Congress must formally declare war before U.S. troops could engage in positive action. The Republicans vigorously argued against this position, and they prevailed. It is absurd to argue that the president has the power to effectively declare war but not to decide issues of succession.

Re:The ABM Treaty is still binding (1)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573528)

The Russians initally deployed 64 Gorgon [American Name, Can't Remember what the Russian name is] missiles around Moscow. I belive most of them were [all I think] removed in the early to mid 80's after the PoltiBuro realized their effectiveness. And it is for the same reason that the USA did not deploy theirs.

Remember: the treaty allowed them to withdrawl with 6 months, notice!

Re:abm stuff (1)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573529)

Concessions? you mean more so called Economic Aid? [cough, cough] Bribes?

Re:Are'nt we overlooking something? (1)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573530)

I doubt when Chinese does invade the US will honor that treaty

Re:6 Months Notice??? (1)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573532)

It was part of the treaty. By your logic, why have treaties since no one enforces them?

US Government doesn't care (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573542)

It doesn't really matter what the status is on the treaties made between the US and USSR. The United States doesn't actually honour its promises unless it has the most to gain anyway.

Contracts Are Still Binding ... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573543)

The Russian federation has assumed responsibility for all contracts and treaties held by the former USSR. If they hadn't the whole Eastern European economy would have collapsed, probably taking with it most of the world's economy. In any case, treaties are not null and void simply because a party no longer exists, of course the real issue (with all treaties) is one of enforcement and oversight.

Really? So who's backing my confederate $$$ today? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573544)

Seriously, I've got $20,000 in confederate money?

Sorry but when governments go, they're gone- along with any promises they made. The new gov't might say they'll carry out the old agreements, but that's by their own graciousness, and they're by no means bound to those old agreements.

BTW, I've got some DIVX discs that I PAID to have permanently enabled. I've got my contract! It's valid forever right? With whoever takes over the DIVX consortium or buys up the pieces right?

Uh huh. Yah whatever.

Re:Treaties (2)

Listerine (7695) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573550)

Enter crowd control.

If a politions starts telling the horde (as in people... unfathomable millions of them...) that the government just screwed something up, well, then that politician wouldn't be doing his job.

The purpose of the government is to get people to believe that the purpose of the government is righteos and just. That they exist for the people, that their entire intention is to help YOU, and try to both pass off all of their actions as this and create other actions to show YOU that they are doing this.

And then someone in the back says, "But we're in a Democracy! We ARE the governemnt." Bullshit. All the President/Congress/Court can do is change the preferences. They clean up. Dont ask me whos in charge. I dont know whos in charge. Most likely nobody. Only one person, nobody, could control something so riduculous and frivolous as a government such as ours.

So who is in charge? Most likely a priciple. Some guideline that is subconsiosly ingrained into politicians so that they believe that they are serving their country by appeasing populaces with laws that support the majority morals and wars that defend all that the US represents.

Communism? Baaaaad. Why? Because there has to be an enemy. Serbia? Baaaaad. Why? Because there has to be an enemy. Drugs? Baaaaaad. Why? Because there has to be an enemy.

So the question begs, "What happened to our Anti-Ballistic Missle Weapons treaties?" Who knows? Who cares? Obviously not the media or government. Not our enemies, not space aliens, not the Jews, not the Mafia. Who cares? People. Who cares about people? I dont know.

first event is not inconsistent with a meteor. (2)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573551)

Regarding the first event described in Australia:

A meteor's observed speed depends on it's speed relative to the earth. If it is travelling at a slightly different speed, and is being overtaken, or is overtaking, the earth, in a similar orbit, a very horizontal, "slow" flight path could be observed.

The explosion that is described seems consistent with something similar to the Tunguska event.

Re:Anti Satellite Weapons (2)

ansible (9585) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573552)

Yeah, but LEO is where most of the spy satellites are.

Of course, you're not going to pick off some of the most important birds with that missle, because they're in Geosync.

What you'd need is a really big laser. They'd be easy to hit because they dont' move relative to the ground.

The arms race continues. (2)

cornice (9801) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573553)

I did a bit of research on Star Wars (the Regan version not the Speilberg version) back in '87 for of all things a college english research paper. What I found was that:

1 - It's very difficult to make a good anti-missle missle (or device - remember the plan for the giant accelerator in Texas?) since the Soviets could easily make missles that are tough, reflective and travel in erratic paths.

2 - Any SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) device that actually worked after a couple rounds of Soviet improvements i.e. reactions to US SDI devices would be much better offensive weapons than defensive missile killers.

Many speculate that this is why the Soviets were willing to agree to a treaty. Regan had a perfect situation - plenty of money for "defense" and a population mostly in support of _this_ defense program.

I don't happen to think that the tests that are going on right now are nearly as significant as what went on in the '80s but I do think that most of these devices easily play a dual role. They happen to be very fast, powerful and precise weapons and the general public doesn't mind testing them or spending money on them. This is what pisses off the Russians.

Who should be the second party to the START treaties now that there is no USSR? The Russian Moffia? They are more organized than anyone else...

Could we ./-effect the govt? (2)

198348726583297634 (14535) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573558)

What about a mail campaign to our fine representatives in washington? Why not let them know that backing out of treaties like this is stupid! Not just email-writing, which we're all so good at, but physical mail and faxing. It costs a little more in effort and cash, but it's far more effective. (think about the poor student intern who get assigned to read/delete the rep's inbox!)

Re:US Government doesn't care (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573561)

Yeah, just ask any native american tribe about the US government's history at doing what it promises :)


Re:[Anti] Weapon Development (2)

IanCarlson (16476) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573562)

...and with that he utterly forgot what he was trying to say.

Does anyone remember the AK47 ban? The law said guns could not be sold as AK47s. With that, along came the AK48s and the AK57s. In any law, there is a loophole. In this case, a loophole is defined as any action which violates the spirit of the law and not the wording.

The US does this and continues to do this everyday. I don't see how this nation could function if the government didn't exploit holes in the law governing themselves.

But, the problem is not the international laws we have made, the problem is that the US is intent on playing big-brother/mediator/faux protagonist in everything it does. I think this stems from the false notion that the US is the last great super-power. The truth is that countries govern themselves well or they fall to someone who does it better.

So, dear Slashdotter, the US in doing dastardly deeds, indefinitly, and there's nothing you can do about it. Sorry.

Re:Really? So who's backing my confederate $$$ tod (2)

Audin (17719) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573563)

BTW, I've got some DIVX discs that I PAID to have permanently enabled. I've got my contract! It's valid forever right? With whoever takes over the DIVX consortium or buys up the pieces right?

I don't know, man...that last part kind of throws your sanity into question...

Re:Treaties made concerned nuclear weapons (2)

Audin (17719) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573564)

The Scud was developed AS a nuclear missle. Until it hits, you can't tell what warhead has been installed. You won't see anything special from it's flight profile.

Uh, no. The Scud is little more than an upgraded V-2. It even uses carbon vanes for thrust vectoring. They were originally deployed by the Soviet army in the early 50s. Any nuclear weapon a modern Scud-using state could get their hands on would almost certainly be much too heavy for the scud to lift.

Porous borders... (2)

J.J. (27067) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573567) good point - and it did cross my mind while making the post. However, while I start to drift a bit in my discussion, I attempted to keep the focus on the delivery of these materials by ballistic missles. Alternate means of delivery should be covered by alternate means of detection/deterrence. I started to discuss that, but wanted to keep the post as on-topic as possible with my thoughts.

The only defense is not peace. Peace is a wonderful, garguantuan step, but world-wide peace will never stop acts of terror and hate. There are simply too many people in this world with differing viewpoints. Most are valid - the problem comes when people fail to see the other side's view, and will break the rules of society (i.e., violence) to attempt to bring about the change. But that's another topic for another story...

And to supplement the post a bit:

After making the post, several others have replied that know far more in the way of details regarding the specifics of the treaties than I. The general consensus to Rolan's question is that yes, treaties exist that ban ABM weapons, but the Clinton Administration is currently negiotiating to change/withdraw from those. So in effect, they didn't care when the system was developed, but now that it exists, they're making a token effort.

Are'nt we overlooking something? (2)

Potent (47920) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573570)

Even though the former USSR is no longer considered a threat, they could re-target the US in a matter of minutes. Let's not forget the biggest threat - CHINA! Thanks to Slick Willie selling us out for campaign contributions, the Chinese can now target and strike locations on the west coast of the United States with nukes. Let's also not forget that we are bound under treaty with Taiwan to come to their rescue if anyone is to ever invade them - and China is poised to strike at any time.

US Russia relations regarding missles (2)

blackwizard (62282) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573571)

Okay, here's the deal.
The USSR does not want us to develop anti-ballistic missle technology. They consider it a violation of the treaty. However, we want to do it to "protect ourselves from rogue nations" such as North Korea, India, etc... which are currently developing ballistic missles. The USSR does doesn't care, and wants the treaties to stay in effect, but we are developing this technology anyway.
So, what's happening now is the USSR is pissed off at us, and probably doesn't have the funds to develop their own anti-missle defense system, even though we are trying to convince them that everything is okay and they should develop one to protect themselves against these "rogue nations". They see it as a threat because now they can't attack the US as easily. So they are threatening to develop better missles that we can't defend against.

This is pretty serious -- it's a little known fact that the USSR actually has the capacity to toally decimate our country, and still survive. They have an extensive network of underground nuclear shelters in their country.

Anyway, rant mode off. I am getting tired of typing this as I am in "lynx" right now. =)

Re:Self-centeredness. (2)

Xenex (97062) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573582)

Yes, it's all self interest..... you have a very large stratigic
millitary base in the middle of Australia. However you will
not even help a country that has been fighting along side
you since WWII, and very strongly in Vietnam (1960 Quote
from Australian PM Harold Halt; All the was with LBJ.)

Yes, when Australia becomes a primary force in
peacekeeping in East Timor, the US has nothing to do with
it. Why? Because of their arrogance, and that they are only
looking out for number 1; themselves.

WWII- Revenge
Vietnam- To keep capitalism powerful
Golf- To keep oil for the US price down
Kosovo- To stop an upcoming power

All of these event were to lok out for number 1. Australia
has been involved with al of these situations, yet only
one of them directly affected us. Why? Because we don't
have the wealth or the power of the US, but we have a
little wealth and a little power, but not all of it goes into self

There is a greater difference between "our country" and
"your country" then dollars and cents. Our country actually
cares for others then itself.

Re:Treaties - One Little Erro (2)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573583)

I just realize I made a little error, nothing major. There was only SALT [no SALT I or II] but there was 2 STARTs, START I and START II. [I kind got the # of those two mixed up]. As well, START II was never ratified by the US Congress.

Re:Are'nt we overlooking something? (2)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573584)

Of couse, just like the Northern Americans invaded the South [or was it the other way around] when the South split. China has every right to do the same, after all Formosa is a rogue Chinese province.

Re:I assume this is about orbital weapons treaties (2)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573585)

The Polyus has never been confirmed or denyed by the Russians. The ABM treaty never specified explosives. It delt with weapons that would shot down [Anti] Ballstic Missile [Nukes].

Remember, the AC-33 is not a every effective ABM. I belive the toss time [the time for a nuke to hit US] is anywhere from 3 minutes [Typhoon off coast] to ~20 to 30 for SS-18's or so from Ground Silos. In that time, they have to take off, fly to area [the AC-33 have a limited range for its laser] and shot.

Re:Anti Satellite Weapons (2)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573586)

yeah, I know this weapon. It is a torpedo like shaped device that fit into the undercarriage of the F-15s. It is an anti-satellite weapon [not ABM] and very ineffective at that].

The way this works is that when the satellite is approximately overhead, the F-15 Afterburns to 50,000 to 55,000 feet and the Missile fires.

The missile had a lot of limitation:
1] The Satellite has to be within a very narrow angle off the launch point or it will not hit [it didn't have much manoverbility]
2] It only goes up to near where the Space Shuttle Goes, near LEO [Low EarthOrbit] it really didn't have gas to go higher

Re:Turn about is fair play. (2)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573587)

Play Fair:

Hhh, lets see.

1] The Americans Conducted an ILLEGAL blockade of an Island [Cuba]. Why? Soviets was gonna put ICBM's there? Illegal you say? It was legal for the Soviets to puke Nukes there, but not legal for Americans to blockade it. Assuming it did violate the Non-Profilateration Treaty [The Cuban Missile Crisis was before the Treaty Anyway], then the American IRBM [InterMediate Range Ballstic Missiles] in Turkey sure heck did first.

2] Americans pretty much handed Nuclear Weapon Designed Plans to Isreal despite the NPT which was signed before then.

3] Kosovo. Do I even have to go on? Illegally Delcaring war on another country, and don't even give the NATO bullshit. NATO cannot attack another country legally [or wait, yeah they can, remember? US Controls NATO].

4] Ratification of START II. The START II treaty was signed by both US and USSR, the US Senate never ratified it.

5] The F-15 ASAT Weapon. The Americans called it Anti-Satellite but it is technically an ABM weapon [although a crappy one at that]

Seriously, Americans have never obey a treaty unless its to their advantage

Ask Native Americans about Treaties... (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573592)

If you want to get a good understanding of how useful having treaties are with the US Government, just as the Native Americans. For over 200 years the treaties signed with the Native Americans by US Government have been violated! Even if we do sign a treaty and obey it on the outside our block ops guys are trying to figure out a way to violate it in secret.

Americans are the "good guys"??? (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573593)

Ask all of the priests in Central America who were slaughtered by CIA-trained "death squads" if America is "good"...

While you're at it, go ask the Russians who let their economy be a tinker-toy for Harvard economists who broke it wide open and then didn't bother cleaning up the mess...

After that, ask the people who live in the Bikini Atoll, who were nuked without warning during the "Mike" atomic tests, if America is "good"...

Maybe if you have some spare time you can ask American GIs from the Gulf War, who were forced to swallow "anti nerve gas" pills the Pentagon knew, based on over 30 reports were very harmful, if America is "good"...

And lastly, ask the ghosts of Ro Gun Ri if America is "good"....convinced yet????

M.A.D. (Mutual Assured Destruction) (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573594)

In *Theory* - MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction is the only reason that the Cold War "worked". If one side or the other had a-missile technology... then the MAD doctrine would have fallen apart (because one side is no longer 'assured' destruction. For that reason, a-missile technology is actually more of a first-strike technology (in the sense that if you have it, you have no deterent against not striking first), therefor the reason for the bans.

In *Practice* - For those of us in So. Cal. , watching the recent exo-atmospheric a-missile test was *really* cool - I can't beleive just how much that thing lit up the sky when it hit the target

ABM system no defense agsint proliferation (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573595)

Your argument seems well thought out, but certainly you must know that the type of system the US is developing is directed against nations who likely do not need to get fissible material from a Russian nuclear worker through clandestine means.

Those parties who would purchase such material, notably nations like Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea, could easily use more effective measures for using such material in the United States.

The United States has extremely porous borders. It is not impossible that a fission device could be brought into the United States and used as part of a terrorist operation. Such an attack would certainly be more crippling, as it would not be obvious who to blame (the historical dilemma of terrorism).

Even more likely in the 21st century, is a biological attack using any number of extremely dangrous materials easily available.

The only defense is peace. I know that sounds trite, but really, there is no feasible technological defense to the various offensive measures an opponent could employ.

Turn about is fair play. (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573596)

The Russians were breaking the agreements since day one. Ever since the first treaty, Russia hasnt bothered to fullfill thier end of the bargain. But the U.S. did TRY to play fair.
Well, the Beaurocrats in Washington have discovered that you cant trust Russia (or China, or Saddamn, or blah) to play fair.

Frankly, I dont like Weapons of Mass Destruction anymore than the next person, but the reality is that America has to look out for itself. Most of the other nations in the world resent the U.S. (if not hating it outright) and would go to any lengths to see our downfall. Even by signing phoney treatise and peace initiatives and whatnot in order to buy 'em enough time to stock up thier arsenal enough to do some real damage.
Thats the reality of how the world works. I would rather be on the winning end.

I dont trust any other nations promises of "reducing thier stockpiles". I never have and never will.
In world politics, its every nation for itself. Always has been, and regardless of what weve been told, it always will be. Once the U.S. is gone, the world nations will turn on each other, just like jackals in the desert. two cents worth.


No Longer In Force (3)

Aaron M. Renn (539) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573597)

There is definitely a legal interpretation that the ABM treaty is no longer in effect due to the fact that the other party to the treaty - the Soviet Union - no longer exists. In fact, President Clinton negotiated a series of amendments to the ABM treaty. (These are not related to the current negotiations over the US deploying a limited missle defense). These amendments explicitly name Russia as the successor state to the Soviet Union for the ABM treaty. However, Clinton has not submitted this treaty to the Senate because he knows it will not be ratified. When you hear things about Congress delaying votes on the CTBT, various appointees, UN dues, etc. remember that part of that is because Clinton has refused to submit various treaties - such as the ABM modifications and the so-called Kyoto protocol - that he has signed and is implementing via executive order to the Senate for official ratification. He knows full well that the Senate, for example, voted 95-0 in a non-binding vote to reject the Kyoto treaty. Ah, the games people play.

Re:nucler test ban treaty (3)

scherrey (13000) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573599)

Nuclear test ban treaty only covers the testing of nuclear warheads by blowing them up. Its also a non-poliferation treaty, i.e., all participants "unilaterally" agree to cease poping nukes either above or under ground.

Additionally, the treaty isn't being renewed because its never been enforced. Clinton signed it early on knowing full well that the Republican Senate would not ratify it. I presume he was hoping that his party would get control of the Senate in the meantime.

In summary, the treaty's never been enforced cause we've never ratified it and it has nothing to do with "StarWars".

Clinton is attempting to re-negotiate (3)

JamesKPolk (13313) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573600)

CNN/Time [] has this story from about a month ago mentioning that the US is attempting to work with the Russians on this.

My guess is, in the long run, Russia will have to bend on this, as the country's in such a mess, that it hasn't the will to fight over this. When the economy, the corruption, the basic conventional defense, Chechnya, Dagestan, and such are going on domestically, foreign policy will take a back seat. Especially with the first presidential election without Yeltsin running coming up.

[Anti] Weapon Development (3)

IanCarlson (16476) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573601)

Yeah, "What happens to the weapons development during peacetime?" seems like a valid question.

Well the answer is pretty simple. Obviously, they don't stop. Peacetime is only a padding between wartimes and the best way to make sure your enemy doesn't defeat you at the next go `round is to be practicing in the off-season. Does anyone here honestly believe that with the nuclear club opening up as much as it has in the recent years that any nation in its right mind would stop Weapon and Anti-Weapon development?

I, for one, don't think so.

A much more valid topic of debate is whether or not the media coverage just drops off or if the information is no longer submitted for public consumption.

Re:Treaties made concerned nuclear weapons (3)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573602)

Actually the SCUD isn't an intercontinental ballistic missile, it just doesn't have the range of a true ICBM. The Treaties were written about being able to shoot down ICBM's capable of nukes, bio or chem that can be launched from any point on the planet to any point on the planet. The SCUD can be shot down with just about any current system, however an ICBM requires much more precision.

I can remember back during the start of the Gulf War, thinking that we should have been wearing full chem gear. Didn't know it then, but if Sadam Hussein had actually loaded his SCUD's with Chemicals, the missile would have been to heavy to fly the short distance from Bagdahd to Ryhadh. Of course when he started moving the missals closer to the border, thats when we started wearing full gear.

IMHO, the treaties of old no longer apply to today. And while it pains me to think we have to break them to protect ourselves. It would be much worse, for us, if we let other countries have the advantage.

ABM treaty (3)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573604)

It's been a while since I researched this, but IIRC research is allowed under the ABM treaties, it's just deployment of a missle defense that's prohibited.

I expect that we'll just ignore the treaty and deploy, if Congress thinks it's to our stratigic advantage - the US generally has little respect for international law or treaties. (Unless of course some major campain contributor stands to gain.)

The ABM Treaty is still binding (3)

jass (83214) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573607)

International law is very clear here. The ABM treaty signed with the USSR is still in effect. Under international law, the USSR did not die. Some parts of the nation left, and what remained was renamed. But the nation did not disappear. For example, Russia did not have to loose the U.N. security council seat that belonged to the USSR.

Under the ABM treaty, each country is allowed to have one ABM facility. The Russians have built one around Moscow. The U.S. has not yet built one.

The Russians are extremely upset about U.S. actions. The U.S. is moving in a direction that will require the U.S. to either renegotiate the treaty or break it. I sure hope the U.S. does not break it. The last thing we need is a nationalist fascist party to take power in Russia.

American foreign policy is usually governed by "self interest." But American policy makers often make serious misjudgments about what that interest actually is. Recall the US overthrow of a legitimate Iranian government and the installation of the Shaw (this action lead to the Islamic Revolution) and Vietman.

these treaties aren't worth much... (3)

MillMan (85400) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573608)

much more than the paper they're written on. Whats going to stop the gov't from just working around this stuff? Lies, cheating, etc? The star wars program was (I beleive) show to be nothing more than a black hole for money, at least by the popular press. I don't think it was, I think they came up with some laser weapons. In fact they do, they used a laser a few years ago to modify the orbit of a sattelite. They could have turned up the power and blown it to bits if they want to. This was actually reported by the mainstream media (not frontpage news, however).

These treaties do a few things. They give the citizens a small amount of false security. They're also like a truce between animals...when you have to males fighting over territory, they'll fight for a while, someone wins, ans they have a kind of truce. But we all know they're going to be fighting again later. Same thing here. The nuclear weapons we've disarmed haven't been destroyed, they're simply disasembled and in storage. If a nuclear war comes along, they'll be ready to go in no time.

The point is this: The US and Russia were used to doing what they want during the cold war. The only thing that limited the extent of their actions was each other, specifically Mutually Assured Destruction. Today, the US stands alone. Many have said the US has lost a influence over the past 20 or 30 years. I say the US certainly has runs the world directly or indirectly pretty much top to bottom. So basically our government does what it wants, like a neighborhood bully. Witness the recent "war" in kosovo. We f'ed that country up for many, many years to come. Has any good come out of it? Absolutely not, the racial hatred is as bad as it ever was.

So what makes anyone think the US cares about what these treaties say? Who is going to tell the US what to do? Who can stand up to the US' military might? No one. The only thing I can think of is a few small nuclear weapons in a truck parked somewhere in Manhatten. Evasive terrorist groups are the only real (or even imagined, for that matter) threat to the US right now. There are no coutries left that can threaten the US.

Re:The original text... (3)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573610)

That was the origional 1972 Treaty, it was later modified to have only 1 ABM system for one location and later reduced to 0

White Sands Movies (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573611)

White Sands has a few neat movies, the THAAD ones show missiles blowing up other ones. Very cool. White Sands Movies []

Treaties ARE still in effect. (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573612)

All treaties with the former USSR are still in effect. Treaty rights reverted to the CIS upon dissolution of the Soviet Union, and then to the Russian Federation. This is the same reason Russia now sits on the UN Security Council. The US will use the escape clause to break the treaty, claiming that the situation of the US has changed since the signing of ABM in 1972. This is (to some extent) true, since in 1972, N. Korea, Iran/Iraq did not have ICBM technology. They still don't, but they are getting close. However, this is a foolish arguement, since there is absolutely no way any of those nations can develop a significant biological/nuclear arsenal capable of doing significant damage to the US. *One* of our Ohio-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines could easily annihilate the population centers of one of those countries. I think the leadership of those three countries (like many others) can be very foolish, but they are not suicidal. Unfortunately, the US has not dealt with arms control issues very well under the current Clinton administration. The recent CTBT fiasco is a good example. In the case of CTBT, the US really should have a capability to remanufacture old weapons designs, which is what Russia does. In that case, there is no need to test - if you think an old weapon is no longer functioning, you simply build a new one based on the old design. Right now, the US cannot do that, at least without extreme difficulty (not to mention massive political fallout - pun intended). FYI, current global active and hedge nuclear stockpile statistics are available from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists []

Treaties ARE still in effect. (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573613)

All treaties with the former USSR are still in effect. Treaty rights reverted to the CIS upon dissolution of the Soviet Union, and then to the Russian Federation. This is the same reason Russia now sits on the UN Security Council.

The US will use the escape clause to break the treaty, claiming that the situation of the US has changed since the signing of ABM in 1972. This is (to some extent) true, since in 1972, N. Korea, Iran/Iraq did not have ICBM technology. They still don't, but they are getting close. However, this is a foolish arguement, since there is absolutely no way any of those nations can develop a significant biological/nuclear arsenal capable of doing significant damage to the US. *One* of our Ohio-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines could easily annihilate the population centers of one of those countries. I think the leadership of those three countries (like many others) can be very foolish, but they are not suicidal.

Unfortunately, the US has not dealt with arms control issues very well under the current Clinton administration. The recent CTBT fiasco is a good example. In the case of CTBT, the US really should have a capability to remanufacture old weapons designs, which is what Russia does. In that case, there is no need to test - if you think an old weapon is no longer functioning, you simply build a new one based on the old design. Right now, the US cannot do that, at least without extreme difficulty (not to mention massive political fallout - pun intended).

FYI, current global active and hedge nuclear stockpile statistics are available from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists []

More grist for the military industrial complex (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573614)

Why are people asking whether or not these treaties are still valid? That's like asking if its illegal to J-walk. All you have to do is check. Either the CIS honors all Soviet-era treaties or it doesn't.

That aside, the current tactic of developing an anti-ballistic missile defense is a disastrous development in international affairs.

Firstly, it is terribly destabalizing to treaties that have kept the world from turning into a cinder for fifty years.

Why is it so destabalizing? In order to succesfully maintain peace by integrating such a system into our countermeasures, our "enemies" must be thoroughly convinced that it works, and that any attack they make on the United States would be thwarted by such a system. This is not the case. It is highly unlikely that such a system would defend the United States against current offensive measures that the Chinese or Russians could employ in an attack. Hence, it destroys our treaty relationships with these countries while providing no real defensive gain. Please see the recent article in Scientific American regarding the fallacy of an anti-missile defense (written by people who know more about it than you) if you have doubts.

The most important point is that this project is just another in a long line of pork projects to prop up the military industrial complex. The United States has spent more money since the fall of the Berlin Wall on military projects than most taxpayers would assume is prudent. Some projects the military doesn't even want, like the B2 (Gen Horner, of the Air Force at the time when the B2 was rolled out, was firmly against the B2 as its mission description seemed unclear, and it was simply too expensive), or recent submarine deployments, which have navy officers griping that they are retiring (scrapping) subs which are hardly broken in just to get the new ones on line and tested. Now we have the F22, the JSF, and whatever else is on tap, meanwhile American children are attending some of the crappiest schools in the first world.

Of course, the American propoganda machine has been working hard for fifty years to convince you that some bogey man is about to invade us, so we need all of these toys to protect our empire. Now of course, we know factually that the CIA vastly exaggerated Soviet military power during the cold war...and now they want us to believe North Korea (which can hardly feed its citizens) is going to launch ICBMs against New York. Whatever.

Suitcase Nukes (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573615)

If any such 'suitcase nukes' were built, they probably wouldn't work anymore. The radiation from the fissionable material degrades the components and makes the weapon inoperable within a few years time.

The US has a regular maintainance and repair schedule for its nuclear weapons. After the breakup of the soviet union, one has to wonder how many Russian nukes are still in usable condition. The US govt probably suspects the same, so they're throwing their weight around.

Chemical and biological weapons are actually a much bigger problem.

Treaties made concerned nuclear weapons (4)

Skim123 (3322) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573616)

Those treaties we made with Russia concerned just anti-nuclear missile weapons. During Nixon's stint in office, scientists had come up with a way to build anti-missle missles around large cities or important tagets that needed to be protected from the Reds. Russia threatened to do the same, so a treaty was struck up guaranteeing that neither side would protect itself from a nuclear onslaught.

I wonder how Regan's Star Wars program affected this treaty. Anyway, the point being, is those treaties concerned nuclear weapons, not standard missles, like the SCUD missles that were supposedly shot down during the Gulf War.

Re:ABM treaty vis a vis The US and Russia (4)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573617)

The truth of the matter is that the only way to prevent nuclear war is to stop nuclear proliferation and limit the number of nuclear weapons in existence. Too bad the US Senate took a big step in the wrong direction last week.

The thing is, the threat of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) works great when you've got a small number of nations with nuclear weapons. The USA and USSR weren't about to nuke each other, because they knew damn well it was suicide. And they each had stringent controls in place to ensure no accidental launches. And they also had reasonably stable political systems, so none of the countries were about to fall into anarchy. So our treaty with the Soviet Union made a lot of sense back when they still existed.

The problem now is that rather than having a small number of powerful nations with nukes, the world now has dozens of countries with nukes, some in very unstable regions. This poses a huge problem: what if some piss-ant dictator, who's not necessarily very sane, manages to gain control of one of these countries (even if for only a short time)? They may decide that their neighboring country, or the US (the favorite demon of various dictators of the world) needs to feel some pain. So they launch some nukes, and don't care if we retaliate. Or maybe they think we won't retaliate with nukes, for political reasons. Are we supposed to leave ourselves open to this?

Yeah, it would've been great if we could've prevented everyone from getting nukes, but the genie's out of the bottle. I don't think we're going to be able to get it back in just yet. An undefended US is just too tempting of a target. However, if we have a defense system, it gives us much more leverage when trying to prevent nuclear proliferation. If then we say, OK, let's all get rid of the nukes; then the afore-mentioned nations have no good reason not to go along. Having the nukes is no longer much use, and why risk the anger of the world community if there's no gain?

The only way we're going to eliminate the chance of nuclear war is through diplomacy, since as you said any defense system can be overwhelmed. However, the chances of a nuclear attack coming from a stable nation is very low, due to the MAD factor and diplomatic efforts. Having the defense system provides protection against those that diplomacy will never reach.

And so, a defense system is the only way for us to truly take a step forward in nuclear disarmament.

let me correct that... (4)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573618)

These are ALL consistent with meteor events.

And btw, how do you judge the speed of something moving overhead? How can you compare a trail in the night sky with a jet airplane, when you cannot even see the object and have no idea how large it should be? If you don't know the size, you can't tell the speed (as you can't judge distance). Common commercial jets are similar enough in size then observation allows some rough judgements about their speed.

Objects with what appear to be sparks coming off? Sounds like a meteor to me. As to this:

And as to why three objects can come into the same area---a larger meteor that has broken up in the past, or several objects in resonance in their orbit will be travelling in the same path, with very close time.YEKIMENKO: How would a microwave generator be used "in anger" Boris?

BELITZKY: It would be used to fire a plasmoid, that is, a blob of plasma into the path of an incoming missile, its warhead, or an aircraft. The plasmoid would effectively, ionize that, region of space and, in this way, disturb the aerodynamics of the flight of the missile, warhead, or aircraft, and terminate their flight. This makes such a generator and its plasmoid a practically invulnerable weapon, providing protection against; attack via space or the atmosphere.

Plasma is a gas...even in large quantities, it is subject to rapid diffusion in the atmosphere. It is hot--the air surrounding it is cool. It has a tendancy to expand with respect to the air around it and diffuse.

If you want to believe though, please go ahead and do so.

ABM treaty vis a vis The US and Russia (4)

Spaceman The Spiff (11784) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573619)

The Anti Ballistic Missle Treaty still applies between the United States and Russia. As I remember the details the treaty prevented weapons that intercepted missles in the atmosphere. This is why the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI or "Star Wars") was allowed, for it was space based. The United States can continue to develop space based weapons, though I'm not sure there is any use.
The problems with SDI are: 1)Cost. It is still extremely expensive to develop any of these technologies. One estimate was that it would cost close to one trillion dollars. 2)Defense/offense dilema. Creating countermeasures is always easier that building more effective defences. The easiest way to get around an SDI system is to simply launch more missles. As well you could use criuse missles which are not suceptible to space based defenses.
There were other reasons that were more important during the cold war, but don't apply to our current situation. The truth of the matter is that the only way to prevent nuclear war is to stop nuclear proliferation and limit the number of nuclear weapons in existence. Too bad the US Senate took a big step in the wrong direction last week.

Russia must abide, US doesn't have to necessarily (4)

Mr. White (22990) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573620)

When USSR ceased to exist and Russia came to existence, the Russian government decided to uphold in principle all the treaties USSR made, as well as assume national debt that USSR had.

As far as I know, US senate passed no official measure acknowledging this transition. Hence, every so often when senators mention various treaties made with then USSR, they will allude to the fact that the US has no legal obligation to abide by that treaty. In practice, however, the US administration has for the most part abided by the terms of these treaties.

Why the US doesn't really care. (4)

J.J. (27067) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573621)

The treaties signed with the USSR are still in effect with Russia. If the dissolving of the Soviet Union also dissolved all the treaties things would've gone to hell in a handbasket very quickly.

I assume that Congress/DoD is developing the weapons under the guise of an anti-ballistic missle program, and are just promising not to expand the use of the weapons to an anti-satellite type mission. In the old days of the USSR, this would have caused an uproar. But today, it's essential for the United States to have an ABM program. Russia understands this, and allows the technology to be developed without causing too much difficulty.

The problem is the downfall of the Soviet Union. Tracking the proliferation of nuclear arms in Eastern Europe & elsewhere is one of the larger problems that our country's intelligence agencies have today. Over the past several years, the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union has diminished frightenly. Corrupt soviet officers, the Russian mafia, even gov't officials have been conviently losing track of nuclear arms to their own financial gain.

There are far too many terrorists in this world. During the height of the Cold War, the checks of the USSR were sufficient enough to deter the loss of nuclear materials. However, the collapse of Russia's infrastructure has sent that system of checks into ruin. The nuclear materials that helped make the USSR the superpower it was has fallen into the hands of hundreds, in not thousands, of individuals and countries worldwide. A lot of these people resent the US's self-appointed role as the world's police force. When you're sitting up as high as the United States is, everyone wants to knock you down.

Now, most of these individuals/countries that have the nuclear weapons do not have the means of delivery. As far as my non-existant security clearance knows, North Korea is the only country hostile to the United States that has a ballistic missile capable of deilvering a nuclear warhead to within US borders. What scares the United States is what they don't know. After the Gulf War, the weapons inspectors were shocked to see how far along Iraq's nuclear capabilities had come. Iraq had progressed beyond the best of estimates by an order of magnitude, and all right underneath the noses of the collective world. Who's to say that they same isn't happening elsewhere? And that when the technology is finalized, it's not coming torwards the United States, packing enough power to level Los Angeles?

There's simply too much uncertainity these days. In some respects, the Cold War was a Good Thing, because our intelligence assests were focused, and the threats come from a single source. Nowadays, the threat can come from anywhere, and the price of eternal vigilance is high. This is why these ABM systems are being developed. Today, North Korea poses a real nuclear threat. Tomorrow, who knows where that threat will originate. The United States is a high profile target - Congress understands this, and Russia understands this.

That is why the US gov't doesn't care.

(sorry for rambling a bit - it's getting late.)

Civil Law Precident? (4)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573623)

If I remember my U.S civics class correctly, the US supreme court held in the decision of Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward that contracts are still valid of themselves, even if the authrity by which they were issued isn't. This is a bit of a stretch of analogy(okay, a lot of a stretch), but it seems that similar principles would apply on our side at least. It is something of a dicey issue as to how this applies to the fromer members of the USSR; it is obsiously fair to argue that they individually were not signatories of the treaty, and are free to ignore or renegotiate its terms. The other half of it is that the bulk if not all of the former soviet republics are in such poor shape economically that there is little worry that they are going to be whipping out a fusion powered orbital rail gun any time soon. As for the US, I'd just as soon that they held up their end of the old bargain. Semi-effective orbital space weapons kind of give me the creeps.

I assume this is about orbital weapons treaties... (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573626)


1) Polyus (I think that's right) was a Soviet orbital weapons platform they did indeed launch in the 1980s. Reportedly the booster carrying it up malfunctioned and it never reached orbit, but still, they tried breaking the treaty first.

2) The treaties involve explosives in space. The two anti-missile weapons I'm familiar with right now involve:

-- a) A projectile that, instead of exploding in front of an ICBM, merely rams into it. It has no explosives, it's just basically a huge cannonball fired with great precision. Breaks no treaties for having weapons in space. I mean, the only way to really ban it would be to ban anything that could be pointed at another object and rammed into it, which would ban ICBMs anyway.

-- b) Lasers mounted in the noses of 747s that would fry holes in ICBMs, causing them to plummet back to Earth. The theory here is, 747s kept in constant flight could respond immediately to a launch, firing at ICBMs in less than 30 seconds and causing them to fall back onto the country that launched them. Again, this puts no weapons into outer space, and banning it would basically be banning all military aircraft.

So, basically, it seems that the U.S. is still respecting its treaties.


I'm not a real anonymous coward, I just play one on TV.

Tesla Weapons (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1573627)

The new anti satelite, anti spacecraft technology is based on Nikola Teslas research into directed energy weapons. Numerous US military bases at antipodes bouce EM pulses between each other through the earth and then direct them upwards and away from the planet. STS-48 is footage of a shot fired from the Exmouth US military base in the North West of Western Australia. For more info about the West Australian tests (although they go on all over the world) read... htskies.html []

ABM's (5)

Bill Henning (504) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573628)

As I understand it, the ABM treaty was inherited by Russia. Interesting question: Do the breakaway republics have to honor it?

A better question is, can such a system actually work? I doubt a massive launch could be stopped; but it should be possible to stop the "lone missle" scenario.

A neat solution would be to build a "Global Missile Defense" shield; that would automatically target and down ICBM's regardless of the point of origin.

The problem with a global shield is that the UN could get its knickers in a twist and decide not to allow ANY space launches.

Other problems with a missile defense - it does NOTHING to stop any of the following:

- suitcase nukes

- cruise missiles

- (surface) ship carried nukes

- car transported nukes

- bio weapons (any of the above delivery mechanisms)

Species wise, we need to get off our collective buts and stop keeping all of our eggs (humans) in one basket (earth).

The ABM Treaty (1972) (5)

hpa (7948) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573629)

Most treaties the U.S. signed with the Soviet Union are still in force as agreements with Russia. The Russians are really ticked off that the U.S. are apparently completely disregarding the ABM Treaty, and have threatened to freeze any further arms reduction talks (e.g. START III).

USSR != Republic of Russia (5)

scherrey (13000) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573630)

I am not aware of a treaty signed with the new Russian Republic that brings over all treaties that we (the U.S.A. for your ferin' types) have signed although I wouldn't put it past Clinton to have slipped such a thing in without going to the Senate for ratification. I know that lots of the START treaty that we've subsequently signed was continued from negotiations with the USSR but those are new treaties for all intents and purposes.

I could be wrong about the lack of said "continuance" treaty but barring its existence, and from my recollection the ABM treaty was specifically between the two powers and not a general non-proliferation treaty like nuclear testing.

That said, the ABM treaty is effectively dead. Additionally, there are specific exemptions in the ABM treaty that allow ABMs to protect specific areas for each side. The Soviets have a large array of ABMs around Moscow but I don't think we ever deployed ours. To allow our continued development, we could still operate under the explicit exemption in the treaty for a limited protection net.

One area where there is no treaty control is space-based weapons. We can thank Ronald Reagan and his willingness to walk out on Gorbachev to protect "Star Wars" development. This would be a better approach, albeit more expensive and difficult, because it stops the inbound ICBMs before they start re-entry and can "MIRV", thus reducing the number of targets that must be tracked an intercepted. As you may recall, to nullify the notion that this was a tactic the unbalance the arms balance, Reagan offered to give the technology to the Soviets in return for negotiating a complete ban on all nuclear weapons. This one-two punch was the straw that broke the camel's back for the USSR.

We should continue this policy because the cost of entry into the nuclear club is now low enough for any 3rd world nation and many individuals to afford. If we don't deploy a system that makes successful delivery of such warheads unlikely, thus drastically increasing the risk that a launch would be intercepted inviting an overwhelming and potentially nuclear retaliation without the intended benifits, its not likely that we'll get out of the next decade without a missle being launched against a major power.

Re:Treaties (5)

Tarnar (20289) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573632)

Remember that when the concept of ABM was introduced, the only way to intercept a warhead that was in space, and a relatively insignificant, almost untrackable target was to blow up a nuke in it's general vicinity.

So the ABM treaties were introduced because if nuclear war sounded bad enough, atmospheric nuking and a non-perfect intercept percentage just wasn't desirable.

We are trying to get rid of those treaties! (5)

CRobin (20777) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573633)

The clinton administration is currently trying to get Russia to change those treaties. I was just reading another article about it today. Looks like France, Russia, and France are all getting pissed. Here is a that article -10/31/141l-103199-idx.html

Treaties (5)

nicksand (28560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573634)

Remember that treaties are, ultimately, nothing more than a couple of scraps of paper. In themselves, they hold no power to enforce. Whatever enforcement mechanisms are in the world's arms treaties are obviously not worth a rat's ass. Now that the cold war is supposedly over, does the US suddenly head towards peace? Hell no. Our politicians know that their are plenty of other conflicts out there that they can twist to their advantage.

Take Kosovo for instance. The UN backed by the US goes in to righteously stop a genocide and help throw down an evil dictator. After a war in which no friendly soldiers lose their lives, the politicians declare a victory. Everybody feels happy and confident in the powers of the US and UN. But what about the second genocide that has happened in Kosovo? Where the Albanians are now attacking the Serbs and forcing new mass exoduses? Well . . . those are swept under the rug as life goes on in American politics. A country in ruins and no true resolution to a conflict between to ethnicities, all so that the politicians could bump themselves up a few points in the polls.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with treaties. Well . . . the answer is simple. Treaties in general are nothing more than policitial tools. People listen to them as long as they are convenient and that they can break them without getting in trouble. The only times that treaties in themselves have any use beyond symbolic purposes is when policitians drag us into another war. Treaties can then be used as a justification for attacking the "evil" forces of our enemies.

So in summary: if you think you can find safety behind the walls of a treaty (particularly one related to weapons), you will find out that you are wrong the hard way. There will always be some evil schmuck who will be breaking the treaty, either with or without the permission of their government.

Re:SCUD missiles @ Gulf (5)

Stu_28 (83254) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573635)

Actually, in fact, not one SCUD was shot down by a Patriot missle. The simple fact is the SCUDs were built during World War II and litterally fell apart in the air.

As it stands no country, that I am aware of, currently has the capability to "shoot down" a missle of any type with any viable accuracy. The only defense to missle attack at this point is a missle which detonates in close proximity to the inbound missle showering it with shrapnel, thus disabling the inbound missle. But, this does not have an acceptable destruction ratio--far below the 80% accuracy mark.

As for the assumption of this technology being manufactored with the former USSR's status as a threat, this is not true. The reasons that these types of weapons are being produced is quite frankly that other countries, who took no part in the treaty, are producing nuclear weapons--and our nations must be ready to defend against nuclear attack.

Keep in mind, the anti-ballistic missile is being designed for one purpose, defense from an air threat. This is not a weapon of attack, and therefore should not be infringed upon by any treaty.

As for the implication that this type of technology could be used as a type of anti-satelite/anti-spacecraft weapon, this is quite possible. Think of the reasons that this could be a good thing. Assume that the U.S. intervenes, at NATO's insistance, into another country's small war. This country has spy satelites, which can pin-point the U.S. troop movements and positions. The U.S. then would have the option of "blinding" this other country's satelites, insuring less U.S. casualties and allowing for a greater likelihood of a swift success--with less bloodshed. Would this be a bad thing? Considering the fact that the U.S. is sending their troops in at the world's request, I think not.

Also, let's remember, these weapons are meant to be a deterrent. Just because we have them does not mean we will use them, unless of course it is unavoidable. Knowing that your enemy has the means to defeat an attack, makes it far less likely that you will be the aggressor.

Finally, with the break-up of the Soviet Union, many less that politically stable countries and terrorist factions have increasingly been found to have access to cold war weapons of mass destruction. From biological agents to nuclear warheads, both of which can be delivered via ballistic missile. So, it is in every country's best interest to explore means of protection against this threat.

The world, as it stands right now, is not a simple friendly place. It is complex. There are conflicting religions, political structures, and morals. In these turbulent times, with such hatred in existance, each country must prepare to defend their way of life, virtues, and beliefs. As they can no longer depend on another to do so, without political or financial benefit.

The original text... (5)

MaPfJa (90764) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573636)

As anyone can find out with a google "uncle sam" [] search, the text of the treaty is available online [] including some explanations.
Quotes from the explanation:

"The Treaty permits each side to have one limited ABM system to protect its capital and another to protect an ICBM launch area. The two sites defended must be at least 1,300 kilometers apart, to prevent the creation of any effective regional defense zone or the beginnings of a nationwide system."

"The most recent Treaty review was completed in October 1993. Following that review, numerous sessions of the Standing Consultative Commission have been held to work out Treaty succession -- to "multilateralize" the Treaty -- as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union and to negotiate a demarcation between ABM and non-ABM systems."

Allow me to explain (5)

Temporal (96070) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573637)

The United States is in fact working closely with the Russian government to create this new technology. It is true that the Russians are upset, but we have agreed not to deploy the defense systems unless the same technology is deployed in Russia simotaneously. The idea is that many countries other than the United States and Russia are gaining ICBM technology, and those countries are not bound by the treaty. Thus, we want to make sure that we are defended against them.

For those who don't understand the treaty: The only way we were able to prevent a nuclear holocaust during the cold war was through MAD (Mutually Assured Distruction), meaning that neither side would launch because they knew that they would have been destroyed themselves. If one side had built a nuclear defense system that completely defended them against nuclear attack, MAD would have been no more, and nothing would have stopped that side from destroying their opponents. Fortunately, the leaders of both countries realized this and created the treaty before anything bad happenned.

Treaties (5)

BWS (104239) | more than 14 years ago | (#1573638)

the USA and the USSR [now Russian] still have many treaties from the old cold war era. Specifically SALT [Strategic Arms Limitation Treats] I and II as well as the START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] and the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] Treaty that effects the current fiasco. The ABM Treaty is signed by both countris and is still in effect with Russia Instead of USSR.

The ABM treaty allows origionally 2 ABM Defense Zones each nation with 100 Interceptors [ABM Missiles] which was reduced to 100 Interceptors at 1 Defense Zone [At this point I belive USSR picked Moscow and the USA picked a missile range but not sure which one]. It was later reduced to allowing no ABM.

However, the critical points of the treaty are [those that effect us anyway:
1] Both Parties May Agree to Amend The Treaty
2] One Party May Withdrawl If They Provide a 6 Month Notice
3] It allows the research but not actual deployment of any kinda

The US is trying to get around this by going through either of the two routes, with the first more likely the perfered one:
1] Talking with Russia to allow the deployment of a limited one for testing
2] Pull out of the treaty [Remember, the 6 Month]

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