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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 11:56am Jul 29, 2001 EST (#7573 of 7573) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

"The flaws in imperfect treaties can generally be fixed, whether through further negotiations or in the Senate ratification process. Last week, representatives of nearly 180 countries met in Bonn to refine the Kyoto Protocol. Important changes were made that addressed previous American complaints. But instead of engaging in serious negotiations in Bonn, Washington's representative was instructed to stand aside.

"The administration has also so far ignored a useful opportunity to address many of the objections it has raised to the nuclear test ban treaty. Early this year, Gen. John Shalikashvili, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, proposed steps that Washington could take on its own to strengthen verification of other countries' compliance with the ban and assure that America's own stockpile of nuclear warheads remained reliable in the absence of testing. Yet the White House has shown no interest in the Shalikashvili recommendations.

"The Bush administration's negative approach has all but scuttled efforts to enforce the global biological weapons ban. Unanimous agreement is needed to produce a new draft accord. Other countries are moving ahead with the Kyoto Protocol, but efforts to slow global warming will be badly weakened by the refusal of the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases to participate. The future of the ABM treaty remains in doubt.

"This is not a productive role for the world's leading country and the architect of much of the international law created over the last half-century. Contempt for the concerns of other countries will only erode American influence.

  • * * *

    That erosion of influence is happening.

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