Bush Announces ABM Treaty Withdrawal
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2001 President Bush announced today he would notify Russia that the United States will withdraw from the 1972 Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty.
Speaking in the Rose Garden, Bush said the 30-year-old treaty "hinders our government's ability to develop ways to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue state missile attacks."
He made the announcement following a meeting of the National Security Council. The president, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld comprise the council.
Bush said the treaty is outmoded. In 1972, the United States and the Soviet Union subscribed to "mutually assured destruction." The ABM Treaty enshrined this strategy of deterrence, based on the understanding that a nuclear attack by either would be met by instant, massive retaliation.
Since then, Bush said, the Soviet Union has dissolved and the United States and Russia enjoy better relations. The United States does not regard Russia as an enemy, he said, but that does not mean there are not enemies in the world.
"As the events of September the 11th made all too clear," he said, "the greatest threats to both our countries come not from each other or other big powers in the world, but from terrorists who strike without warning or rogue states who seek weapons of mass destruction.
"Defending the American people is my highest priority as commander-in-chief. I cannot and will not allow the United States to remain in a treaty that prevents us from developing effective defenses."