The Missile Defense Divide

Read Time:
5m 26sec

The Periodical Observer

Ocean and the Persian Gulf," notes O’Hanlon, but also keeps an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean for six to eight months a year. With the Soviet Union no longer a threat, says O’Hanlon, this regular naval presence in the Mediterranean is unnecessary.

• Persian Gulf. Maintaining no-fly zones over Iraq since 1991 has been demanding, and the costs of constant airborne patrols now outweigh the benefits, O’Hanlon says. U.S. fighter aircraft should remain in the region to deter Iraq’s Saddam Hussein from attacks against Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, or against the Kurds or Shi’ites within his own borders. But de-emphasizing airborne patrols would allow the withdrawal of perhaps half of the

U.S. aircraft. This would cut the 25,000 U.S. military personnel in the region to fewer than 20,000.

All in all, O’Hanlon calculates, his cuts would involve some 25,000 service members. Though this would be only 10 percent of the existing overseas force, it would be about 25 percent of the personnel "routinely deployed away from home bases and families." The result, he says, would be a significant boost in troop morale and military readiness.

The Missile Defense Divide

"Europe’s Aversion to NMD" by Justin Bernier and Daniel Keohane, in Strategic Review (Winter 2001), United States Strategic Institute, 67 Bay State Rd., Boston, Mass. 02215.

Why have America’s European allies been so reluctant to go along with the U.S. effort to develop a defense against a potential "rogue state" missile attack? In part, they’ve deemed continued reliance on arms control and nuclear deterrence less risky; they’ve also worried about Russia’s opposition (which has softened recently). And then there’s the multibillion-dollar cost. But, say the authors, there’s another, oft-ignored reason: "European governments do not believe that North Korea, Iran, and Iraq harbor intentions of using long-range missiles against Europe, even if they will be capable of doing so."

Europe does not object to ballistic missile defense per se. "The Netherlands and Germany, for example, have decided to buy...a newer version of the Patriot theater missile defense system," note Bernier,


Star Trek’s Wilsonian Mission

This paradox of democracy—that it cannot tolerate intolerance—is at the heart of Star Trek. Reflecting from the beginning the political ideology of the United States, Star Trek has always been democratic in spirit. The mission of the Enterprise—"to seek out new life and new civilizations"—appears to capture the spirit of democratic diversity and what is now called multiculturalism. But I would like to reformulate the mission of the Enterprise: More accurately, it is "to seek out new civilizations and destroy them" if they contradict the principles of liberal democracy. Above all, [Captain] Kirk and his crew set out to eliminate any vestiges of aristocracy or theocracy in the universe. In short, their mission was to make the galaxy safe for democracy.... If anyone claims a natural or divine right to rule over anyone else in the galaxy, Kirk automatically reaches for his phaser.

—Paul A. Cantor, a professor of English at the University of Virginia, in Perspectives on Political Science (Summer 2000)

86 Wilson Quarterly

a staff member of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, in Washington, and Keohane, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Western European Union Institute for Security Studies, in Paris. However, theater missile defense systems are able to shield only relatively small areas from shortrange missiles.

Nor has Europe failed to grasp the rogue states’ growing military capabilities. In a report last year, for instance, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service warned that nuclear, bacteriological, and chemical weapons, in combination with long-range missiles, constitute "a direct threat . . . to Germany and NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization] in the medium and long term." By 2005, the report said, Iraq will possess a mediumrange missile capable of threatening parts of Europe. However, Bernier and Keohane point out, European governments, unlike that of the United States, see no intent or will on the part of rogue states to employ such weapons.

"While Europe has significant economic and political interests in the Middle East and Far East," the authors write, "these interests are not backed by military commitments comparable to those of the United States." The Europeans count on "their growing, and relatively strong, political and economic ties with ‘the rogues’ " to deter attack.

But if Europe’s opposition to the U.S. effort stems to a significant degree from a strategic calculation that Europe, unlike the world’s lone superpower, has little to fear from the rogue states, the authors warn, that could have "profound" implications for NATO. Its members, after all, are pledged to regard an attack on one as an attack on all.

Economics, Labor & Business

Is the New Economy History?

"Does the ‘New Economy’ Measure up to the Great Inventions of the Past?" by Robert J. Gordon,
in Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 2000), American Economic Assn., 2014 Broadway,
Ste. 305, Nashville, Tenn. 37203–2418.

The celebrated "New Economy" has run into difficulties lately, with woes now almost a regular feature of business news coverage. Are these just minor bumps in the road leading to an economy fundamentally transformed by the computer and the Internet? Gordon, a Northwestern University economist, doubts it. The computer’s greatest benefits may well lie "a decade or more in the past, not in the future."

While the late 1990s were very good years for the U.S. economy, awash in computer investment, the recent productivity revival, he says, "appears to have occurred primarily within the production of computer hardware, peripherals, and telecommunications equipment, with substantial spillover to the 12 percent of the economy involved in manufacturing durable goods." In more than 80 percent of the economy, however, computerization has had virtually no impact on productivity. "This is surprising," he says, since more than three-fourths of all computer investment has been in wholesale and retail trade, finance, insurance, real estate, and other service industries.

When, from the 1970s through the early 1990s, investment in computers failed to yield productivity gains, many economists predicted that they would arrive eventually. But unlike the electric light and the electric motor, which, once invented, "took time to diffuse [because] initially they were very expensive and didn’t work very well," computers "provided powerful benefits early on," Gordon writes. "Many of the industries that are the heaviest users of computer technology—[such as] airlines, banks, and insurance companies—began in the 1960s and 1970s with mainframe technology and still perform the most computation-intensive activities on mainframes,

Spring 2001 87

More From This Issue