Yesterday in intro to IR we discussed the morality of former US President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) from a moral standpoint. We debated the morality of replacing the theretofore existing principle of Nuclear Deterrence for a missile defense shield meant to destroy launched nuclear weapons, thereby making nuclear weapons essentially useless. Some quarter of a century later, the New York Times reports that President Bush has won acquiescence from some European allies for his version of a missile defense shield that would cover the European continent.
BUCHAREST, Romania — NATO leaders agreed Thursday to endorse a United States missile defense system based in Europe and to provide more troops for Afghanistan, but they declined, as expected, to back President Bush’s proposal to bring Ukraine and Georgia closer to NATO membership…
…“There has been, over 10 years, a real debate as to whether there is a ballistic missile threat,” said Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley. “And I think that debate ended today.”
The Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, has objected repeatedly to building parts of the missile defense system in former Soviet bloc states, despite Washington’s assurances that the system is a response to threats from Iran, not from Russia. Mr. Putin, saying the system would fuel a new arms race, has even threatened toaim Russian missiles at the system, while also offering the use of a substitute system in Azerbaijan.
NATO’s final statement invited Russia to cooperate with the United States and Europe on developing defenses jointly.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international affairs committee of the Russian Parliament, said that missile defense would be high on the agenda for the meeting between Mr. Putin and Mr. Bush in Sochi, a Russian resort, scheduled after the NATO conference, which Mr. Putin is to attend Friday.