May 01, 2001
Like Ronald Reagan, President Bush
Like Ronald Reagan, President Bush is rejecting the morally bankrupt argument that the only defense against nuclear war is mutually assured destruction. It's perfect that the first letters of that euphanism spell "MAD" becuase such a policy is mad.
A proper role of government is to protect its citizens from foreign invasion. Whether it's from a navy assault (i.e. Pearl Harbor) or a nuclear missile attack, the U.S. government has an obligation to develop the means for an adequate defense. Bush has the moral high ground by calling for a missile defense system.
Critics say that missile defense would violate the ABM treaty. However, Bush countered today by saying, "This treaty does not recognize the present or point us to the future. It enshrines the past. No treaty that prevents us from addressing today's threats, that prohibits us from pursuing promising technology to defend ourselves, our friends and our allies is in our interests or in the interests of world peace." The ABM treaty was signed in a day when Communist containment (rather than smart, moral confrontation a la Reagan) was the foundation of U.S. foreign policy. Now, the Cold War is over and only one member of that outdated treaty exists.
Critics also say that building a missile defense would create a new nuclear arms race. Nations would build more and more nukes to overwhelm any shield the U.S. would build. That may be a result, but that doesn't address the moral argument that the U.S. government should provide its citizens an adequate defense. Defense technology does not remain stagnant or it becomes obsolete. The U.S. army improves the fighting capabilites of its jets and tanks. Other nations respond by developing new weapons to penetrate improved tank armor and jets' steal capabilities. Only anti-miltary pacifists would object to improving military technology for fear of starting an arms race. With that thinking, why even bother moving past wooden clubs and stones?
Also, what's so bad about an arms race? The U.S. and the former Soviet Union ran one, and the good guys one. One nation is in the dustbin of history, while the other leads the free nations of the world. Anyone who thinks the U.S. couldn't win another arms race with China (or any other country) lacks any appreciation of U.S. economic dominance.
Mark this down as an important event in the George W. Bush Presidency.
"Bush Calls for Replacing ABM Treaty"
President Bush's remarks to the National Defense University