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UNITED STATES: Defense Policy

Jane Wales, who will give the keynote address at the WAIS conference (July 28-31), is president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Northern California. She served as associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and senior director of the National Security Council, from 1993-1996. She has written a long, well-documented and thoughtful article on te US defense policy for the San Josť Mercury News (5/6/01). It is more in the area of WAIS chairman Michael May, co-director emeritus of Stanford's CISAC, than mine, but I share her concern that the Bush administration may be abandoning too lightly carefully worked-out defense agreements. My own feeling is that the Bush administration is too much under the influence of the missile industry and may be totally misjudging the overall situation. There is a danger that, in the name of defense, we may be reviving the old spirit of confrontation, and the US might find itself isolated.

The embers of World War II are still glowing. Following Hitler's suicide, Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 8, 1945. This year, Russian TV devoted most of its news to celebrations of Victory Day all over Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine, reviving memories of Russian defense going back to the Middle Ages, The celebrations were not directed against Germany, and there was no mention of the Western Allies. To judge from the speeches of Putin, Russia must defend itself, preumably against the "defense" missiles policy of President Bush. I hope that someone in Wasington is following this carefully and not misjudging the mentality of the world. However misguided the UN vote excluding the US from the human rights and narcotics commissioons may have been, there is a danger that the US is wandering into inglorious isolation, See

Ronald Hilton - 5/10/01