Cold War Deterrents 'No Longer Enough,' Bush Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 2, 2001 President George W. Bush laid out his intention to field a national missile defense system in a speech May 1 at the National Defense University here.
Cold War deterrents are "no longer enough" to maintain peace, Bush said. "We need a new framework that allows us to build missile defenses to counter the different threats of today's world," he said. "To do so, we must move beyond the constraints of the 30-year-old ABM treaty."
The U.S.-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty of 1972 limited the number of ballistic missiles each country could maintain in an age of mutually assured destruction. Bush believes the treaty doesn't reflect today's realities.
"No treaty that prevents us from addressing today's threats, that prohibits us from pursuing promising technology to defend ourselves, our friends and our allies is in our interest or in the interest of world peace," he said.
Bush said his defensive missile policy would also "encourage still further cuts in nuclear weapons."
A new missile defense system is needed because challenges to democracy and peace once presented by the Soviet Union have been replaced by threats from several nations long unfriendly to U.S. and allied interests, Bush said. These nations have or seek nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, he continued, and some already have the ballistic missile technology to deliver them.
"A number of these countries are spreading these technologies around the world," he added. "Most troubling of all, the list of these countries includes some of the world's least responsible states."
One of today's urgent threats to world peace is a small number of missiles held by states in which terror and blackmail are a way of life, he said.
"They seek weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors and to keep the United States and other responsible nations from helping allies and friends in strategic parts of the world," Bush concluded.