Missile Defense Arguments

May 23, 2000

President Clinton will be traveling to Russia to broker a deal with Vladimir Putin. The President is planning to cut the U.S nuclear arsenal in half in order to win Russian concessions to allow the U.S. to build a limited missile-defense system. This raises the question of whether the U.S. needs permission to build such a system in the first place.

Many in the administration believe that the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty must be observed. But the ABM Treaty was signed with the Soviet Union, a country that no longer exists. And even if we abide by the treaty, the U.S. has a right to withdraw from its restraints if its "supreme interests" were jeopardized.

Opponents of missile defense argue that it is too expensive. But consider the alternatives: an American city destroyed by a nuclear missile launched by North Korea, China, or one of the rogue states in the former Soviet Union. Defense expert Mark Halprin points out, "we spend three times what we spend on strategic defense on cookies and crackers."

Opponents also argue that the military doesn't want early action on missile defense. Frankly, this is not even an honest argument. The military very much wants a near-term missile defense, both to protect vulnerable forces overseas and cities in the United States. It's just hard for senior leaders to promote missile defense when the Clinton administration has cut the military in so many vital areas.

Perhaps the major reason that missile defense is not a major issue for the American people is due to the fact that so many mistakenly believe the U.S. already has such a defense. We do not. We have the ability to build one, and we better get started real soon.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.