IPPNW response to the US Decision on Missile Defenses in Eastern Europe
September 18, 2009
Barack Obamas decision to cancel US missile defense deployments in the Czech
Republic and Poland ends a controversial and wasteful program that never should
have been started in the first place. As a remnant of the Reagan-era ballistic
missile defense scheme that came to be known as Star Wars, the proposed array
of radars and interceptors was technically unsound, had become an obstacle to
negotiations on strategic arms reductions with Russia, and was an unfortunate
symbol of a domineering attitude in foreign affairs that President Obama had pledged
to correct. On all three counts, he has done the right thing.
long opposed the concept of a Star Wars-type missile shield as an inherently flawed
technology that would merely provoke the development of larger and more dangerous
nuclear arsenals, and as a cynical diversion from good faith diplomatic efforts
to rid the world of nuclear weapons. It was President Reagans stubborn insistence
on pursuing the original Strategic Defense Initiative, in fact, that resulted
in the failure of the Reykjavik summit in 1986, after he and President Gorbachev
had agreed in principle to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely.
the immediate positive response from President Medvedev, and see this bold decision
as paving the way for the denuclearization of NATO (and, eventually, all of Europe),
and for even deeper strategic reductions by the US and Russia than those already
proposed for the new START agreement.