Leading Article: Up, up and far away

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The Independent Culture
SO NOW we know the secret weapon that can change again the whole face of global power. Stalin said that it was Russia's development of the bomb. President Reagan declared that it was the development of Star Wars technology that had finally driven the Soviet Union to admit to defeat. But the Canadian air force has shown that there is something that can defeat all the best of technology and its finest pilots (Top Guns in the US competitions indeed) - the humble weather balloon.

Instead of worrying about Boris Yeltsin's nervy finger on the trigger, or Saddam Hussein's efforts to build a long-range biological missile, what we have to worry about is hordes of impoverished Russians drifting into Alaska from the air, and the Gypsies of central Europe landing on the Downs in baskets. And what more appropriate weapon than that symbol of life at the end of the 20th century: hot air?