Реферат: Consequence of building the National Missile Defense

Consequence of building the NationalMissile Defense.

The Bush administration states that given the growing ballisticmissile industry in other countries and the current political role of theUnited States in the world, and especially after the attacks of September 11,2001, the United States government has to prepare itself for attacks of anykind. The claim is that the building of a National Missile Defense will providemore security to the people of the United States, and will in fact ensure thesafety of every citizen of the United States within its territory (Handberg13). But the proponents forget to take into account the dire consequences ofbuilding such a horrendous space weapons system.

Since the beginning of the nuclear age, both the United States andthe Soviet

Union have beensearching for effective ways to defend themselves against nuclear attack. Inthe early 1960’s, the Soviet Union’s superiority of invention in long-rangeballistic missiles forced the United States to reevaluate its air-defensesystem. This nuclear race was a major facet of the cold war between the UnitedStates and the Soviet Union. The cold war was still fully active when presidentRonald Reagan proposed the building of National Missile Defense System.Originally, this plan called for development of a space based weapons systemthat could detect and destroy ballistic missiles of any kind, launched againstthe United States from any distance, without causing harm to the people or theenvironment of the United States. (Rip 3)

Currently, chances of the United States being attacked by ballisticmissiles of long range are very low, or do not exist at all (Ellis 1). Eventhough the United States government suspects that countries like North Koreaand Iran or for that matter any Islamic state, may launch such an attack, thesecountries are not in possession of weapons of mass destruction withcapabilities of harming the United States. In the book by Anthony Cordesman called Strategic Threats andNational Missile Defenses: Defending the U.S. Homeland he states “Noproliferant state currently has the ability to strike the United States withballistic missiles. If threats do emerge, US conventional superiority or, ifnecessary, offensive nuclear forces will deter attacks on the United States” (Cordesman87).

Up to this day Iraq was on the toplist of ‘potential nuclear threat’ to the United States. The Bushadministration publicly announced that they had evidence of Iraq’s possessionof weapons of mass destruction. With that promise many soldiers were herdeddown there only to find these nuclear weapons and free the people of Iraq andsecure the United States. As it turned out, this was not the case. In factweapons of destruction of any kind, were not present in the territory of Iraq. Butas the search for “imagined” nukes went on, so did the death toll kept goingup. This of course brings out an excellent question. Maybe, just maybe sourcesother than the Central Intelligence Agency are correct in saying that“currently there no country is capable of striking the US with ballisticmissiles.” The author of The Missile Defense Controversies, EarnestYanarealla puts it best the US’s role as ultimate judge, as the following:

The United States sees itself as aredemptive force with a God-given responsibility to root out evil and spreadgoodness throughout the world either by shining moral example or, whennecessary, by the swift and sure military sword of justice”(Yanarealla). Ofcourse these assumptions do leave one to question the necessity of such extrememeasures.

Although the US government isinsisting on building this missile defense system, the Pentagon hasn’tthoroughly tested the system. Seven tests of hitting an airborne target wereconducted. The Pentagon states that all seven were successful, and that the USgovernment is ready to start this project. But a professor at the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology, Theodore A. Postol, in his article “Why MissileDefense Won’t Work” explains how the tests were conducted, and how they were infact unsuccessful. In his detailed article, he clearly explains that in thefirst two tests, the system failed to distinguish between the target warheadand a set of decoys that were shaped like warheads. Modern nuclear missiles alllaunch multiple decoys along with one or more warheads.  After this failure in the first two tests,the multiple realistically-shaped decoys were replaced by a single largeballoon-shaped decoy in all of the later tests. In order to make the testsappear successful, the unidentifiable decoys were removed from the test field.Dr. Postol states:

“All the problematic shortfalls in the defense system discovered inthe first two experiments have been removed through the painstaking designingof a set of decoys that would never used by any adversary, but would make itpossible to distinguish warheads from decoys in flight test” (Yanarella 86).

This of course does not stop the Bush administration from buildingthis system. The administration insists on pursuing this until they get theresults they need. Given enough time and money this system will work. Thisproject is given the top priority and it has unlimited budget (GPO par11).

Another controversial issue about theNational Missile Defense system is the cost to the American public. In his bookDavid Multimer called ‘The Weapons State: Proliferation and the Framing ofSecurity ‘ says that:

“Effective missile defenses are difficult tobuild – not the least because America’s adversaries have every incentive tofind ways to defeat them – and that the investment of billions would produceonly a high-tech sieve.”

This project will be the single most expensive project in thehistory of the United States. The Chairman of the Missile Defense Program andthe AMB Treaty Committee, Senator Joseph R. Biden, estimates the cost to bebetween sixty billion and one hundred billion dollars (2). And perhaps theprice might go up to half a trillion dollars, depending on the exact systemthat the US government develops (GPO 15). This amount will mean more taxes fromevery citizen. Instead of spending this amount of money building the NationalMissile Defense system, the US government would be better served paying off thenational debt to its citizens.

As we all know the recent attacks of September 11 weren’t nuclear;they were realized by using civilian airplanes as a weapon. These attacksclaimed more than three thousands lives. Considering the unavailability ofnuclear weapons at present, these kinds of attacks are more likely to occurthan nuclear attacks. With this notion in mind, the US government will bebetter of focusing its attention, and money on increasing security at airports,malls, or other public places. More attention should be paid on water reserves,or campuses.

One of more serious consequence of building the National MissileDefense is that it would be a violation of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty of1972, signed between the Soviet Union and the United States as a way to controlthe danger of nuclear war. The treaty bans the building of weapons of suchcapacity (Nordeen 226). The US government can start this project only with theconsent of Russia, and the Russian president didn’t give its approval for theviolation of this treaty. The Bush administration did violate this treaty in 2002.The Us government has to remember that, even after the collapse of the SovietUnion, Russia still is in possession of all of its nuclear arsenal. Thisviolation means that now the Russian Federation has all right to startdeveloping counter measure so that the United States defense system could bepenetrated. The violation of this treaty also means that the Russian Federationis allowed to help any country in the development of its nuclear weapons.Already, Russia is helping Iran in developing its nuclear facilities, and as weknow Iran is one of potential threats to the US. The violation of this treatyputs no restraints on Russia’s assistance to any country willing to buildnuclear weapons. There are many countries willing to develop such facilities foroffensive or defensive purposes, and they are willing to pay handsome amountfor such assistance. Of course this has not started as of yet, but surelyimplications are there.

At present the only state that hasthe power to launch weapons of mass destruction against the United States isRussia. Dean Rusk, Secretary of State in 1984 stated, “It would be foolish inthe extreme to suppose that we could obtain any significant or lastingadvantage over the Soviets in space weaponry” (Cordesman). Although the Russiaof today is not the same as the Soviet Union of 1984, it is still very powerfulin the field of nuclear weapons.  Theviolation of this treaty would greatly encourage Russia to upgrade its weapons.An upgrade of nuclear weapons by Russia could trigger another dangerous armrace, which would lead to Cold War once again. The author of ‘DefendingAmerica’ James Lindsay states that:

“Most countries, including many ofAmerica’s closest allies, warn that missile defense will trigger an arms racejeopardize three decades of arms control efforts.”

Everybodyremembers how dreadful those times were. The infusion of constant fear andanxiety on peoples’ minds were beyond what words could express.

But inthe absence of a National Missile Defense system, Russia is currently willingto decrease its production of nuclear weapons (Ellis 89). These statistics showthe superiority of Russia in nuclear weapons. It would be a good move by theUnited States to do the same. In fact, these two nations could cooperate infighting against the unconventional production of nuclear weapons by otherstates. The statistics in the book called ‘Strategic Threats and NationalMissile Defenses’ by Anthony Cordesman show that the US posses 33,500 nuclearweapons, and Russia posses 62,500 nuclear weapons. If the United States agreedon nuclear arm reduction, then this move would reduce the risk of the UnitedStates being attacked by weapons of mass destruction. Once this nuclear armsrace between the Russian Federation and the United States begins, theconsequences of could be devastating, both for the US and Russia as well as forthe entire globe, resulting in ultimate destruction of the planet earth.

With Russia’s help, the US government could actually avoid thethreat of being attacked with weapons of mass destruction, and reduce thenuclear production of both nations. Building bigger weapons could make theUnited States more powerful, but this will increase our enemy’s desire to harmthe US more. This will create more hatred against Americans.  Having a more powerful nuclear arsenal is notwhat makes a number one nation. The United States and Russia could reallychange the world, and stop this nuclear race, and bring peace to earth, ratherthan attempting to find security in a technological solution.

One of the overlooked peaces in this riddle is China. China doesposses nuclear weapons, and the building of the National Missile Defense willincite China to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. China does not want the UnitedStates to have superiority over them. Unlike Russia, China is not a decliningpower but a rising one, and again, unlike Russia, China has specificterritorial issues over Taiwan over which it could conceivably wage a war withthe United States. As Saira Khan, the author of Nuclear ProliferationDynamics in Protracted Conflict Regions: a Comparative Study of South Asia andthe Middle East says:

            No one should be surprised, then,that Beijing looks skeptically on President George W. Bush’s claim that‘America’s development of defenses is a search of security, not a search ofadvantage.’”

So as we can seeChina doesn’t look too favorably on this issue either, and China should beconsidered in making such decisions.

Right now the building of aNational Missile Defense system should not be the main concern of the UnitedStates government. The government should carefully consider everything beforejumping to any conclusions. The building of such a system would make the UnitedStates

less secure rather than more secure at present. Besides we need tostop this madness of nuclear race. As Albert Einstein best put it in 1946,“There is no defense in science against the weapon which can destroycivilization.”