IPPNW response to the US Decision on Missile Defenses in Eastern Europe

Released September 18, 2009
[PDF 64KB]

President Barack Obama’s 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.

IPPNW has 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 Reagan’s 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.

We welcome 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.

Close window