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When a former pilot turns his hand to thrillers you can take their authenticity
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are first-class... far too good to be missed.'
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The New Cold War 07/11/00

The headlines are thought-provoking, to say the least: U.S. president Clinton and Russian president Putin clash on the matter of an American missile defense plan; the leaders of North and South Korea meet in summit talks; nuclear secrets are compromised in some high-security facilities. After a few years of the public feeling that the threat of nuclear attack may be over, are we in for a new cold war? Dale Brown, author of Battle Born and other military/political thrillers, offers his opinion on the international situation.

by Dale Brown

Two issues are dominating the attention of Americans these days: relations with North and South Korea and deployment of a national ballistic missile defense system. These issues have one thing in common: they are the exact result of the end of the cold war and the world's reaction to the so-called New World Order. As I depicted in my latest military technothriller Battle Born, this presents the United States with unique and deadly challenges.

[IMAGE] Korea has been Asia's battleground for centuries. China, Japan, the Soviet Union, and even the United States have all used the Korean peninsula as a foothold to secure power, presence, and influence in the rich natural wealth and developing markets of Asia. But the current political and ideological split on the Korean peninsula is artificial, and the gross imbalance in the quality of life between North and South is being realized by many suffering under Communist oppression.

The only way for Korea to be truly united is for all other nations to back off and get out of there. The recent talks between North and South Korea are a vital first step in peaceful reunification. It may take a generation to accomplish, but Korea need not be a battlefield if all nations would give peace a chance there. As I predicted in Battle Born, reunification does not automatically mean there will be a fight to the death between North and South. Such an Armageddon might take place if the superpowers continue to involve themselves in a power struggle in Korea.

One outcropping of foreign meddling in Korean affairs is North Korea's development of a nuclear ballistic missile arsenal that far exceeds what it would need to attack South Korea. North Korea is building a ballistic missile weapon system, using technology provided by the People's Republic of China, that threatens American military bases in the Pacific as far away as Okinawa, Hawaii, and Alaska. The reason is obvious: this is where reinforcements for South Korea's defense would come from if war should break out. Further, as a source of cash to maintain its massive military force, North Korea is selling this ballistic missile technology to countries such as Pakistan, Libya, Iran, and Iraq.

The need for ballistic missile defense systems did not start as an American political campaign issue. It started because the proliferation of long-range nuclear-weapons technology has become so serious to American national security that it can be ignored no longer. Twenty-two nations now have ballistic missiles in their arsenals. Nine of those nations (the United States, Russia, China, U.K., France, Israel, India, Pakistan, and Iran) have exploded or are known to possess nuclear weapons; many more have the capability of delivering chemical or biological weapons, which can be just as dangerous as nuclear devices.

The fear is that if the U.S. deploys a missile defense system, other nations will quickly increase their nuclear stockpiles to try to overwhelm the system. Their enemies will then increase their stockpiles even more to counter, and the arms race will be on. The fact is, the arms race is already on, years before an effective ABM (antiballistic missile) system can be deployed. More and more nations have ballistic missile technology because such weapons are being bought and sold on the world market. For some nations, their value as a commodity far exceeds their military value. The U.S. has an obligation to use its advanced technology and industry to help defend its citizens against this growing threat.

The only effective deterrent against an increasing number of nuclear threats is a multilayered system, designed to destroy missiles in all phases of flight. A limited missile defense system is just that: limited. It becomes too easy to defeat or work around it, and its effectiveness is questionable. Just as a multilayered nuclear offense system (land-based bombers, ground-launched missiles, and sea-launched missiles) was the best offensive strategy during the cold war, a multilayered defense system (the Airborne Laser to attack missiles in the boost phase, the Theater High-Altitude Air Defense system to reach missiles in the midcourse phase, and the Aegis Tier Three system to protect against warheads in the terminal phase) is the best solution.

Exciting times--and serious challenges--lie ahead. Maybe it's time to choose our own future, and allow other nations to choose theirs.

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