Friday, June 21, 2002

Oh, and while we're on NRO, here's another goofy article about MAD and the ABM treaty by John Miller. Not that there's anything new here, but I still marvel at conservatives' ability to reasonably make incredibly ludicrous arguments. Case in point:

This dubious piece of Cold War diplomacy was based on a dangerous theory. It placed strict limits on the testing and deployment of antimissile weapons, in the hope that if the United States and the Soviet Union lay naked before each other, unable to fend off ICBM attacks, neither would risk a first strike.

Actually, judging by the historical record, it wasn't that dangerous at all... at least not as dangerous as the alternative. Predictably, Miller never mentions the problems with ABM systems, the utter failure of Star Wars, and the fact that the systems that are currently being proposed and (pseudo-)tested would never have worked against the USSR, an acknowledgement that NRO made when it was backing Dubya's argument that scrapping the ABM treaty was no threat to Russia and yet now conveniently (and predictably) ignores.

The pointless spin goes on, until the readers reach this howler:

The ABM Treaty's devotees predicted chilly international relations and the advent of a new arms race if their sacred document were ever abandoned. In reality, the United States and Russia have warmer relations now than they've had at any point since the Second World War and both countries' nuclear stockpiles are set to decrease dramatically

Uh huh. Now, lessee... is there, possibly, maybe, another explanation for that that might override the Russian's natural distrust of the ABM system?

Just one?

I'm pretty sure the readers can think of it. It's not surprising that NRO would make this sort of ludicrously illogical argument, but it is surprising that anybody actually reads it or, even worse, actually pays attention to it. Of course, there's no way that the Echo Chamber is going to "fact check their asses", any time soon (it would take decades), but I think this example, and the previous one, show just how deficient NRO is as a source of intelligent commentary and useful information. It's just spin, and bad spin at that.

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