Does a good offense require a missile defense? In two Web-exclusive interviews, journalists Bradley Graham and Frances FitzGerald analyze the rationale for missile defense under Bush. Plus, FRONTLINE's interviews with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard Perle.
+ "Hit to Kill," by Bradley Graham
"Given how frustratingly elusive the dream of a nationwide antimissile system has proven, the confidence and determination that Bush and his advisers have continued to bring to the endeavor has been all the more impressive -- or foolhardy, depending on which side of the argument one is on." An excerpt from Bradley Graham's book Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America From Missile Attack (2001).
+ "The Path to Controlling Weapons in Space," by Philip E. Coyle and John B. Rhinelander
"While intended as defenses against enemy ICBMs," write the authors in this September 2002 article from Disarmament Diplomacy, "[space-based missile defenses] would increase the chances that someday there will be an arms race, and possibly eventual conflict, in space."
+ "National Missile Defense and the ABM Treaty," by Philip E. Coyle and John B. Rhinelander
In this article from the September 2001 issue of World Policy Journal, Philip E. Coyle and John B. Rhinelander challenge the Bush administration's rationale for withdrawing from the ABM Treaty. "The bottom line," they write, "is that development of national missile defense could go on for many years without violating the ABM Treaty."
A Web-exclusive interview with Bradley Graham, a veteran Pentagon reporter for The Washington Post and the author of Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America From Missile Attack (2001). He offers his perspective on how missile defense fits into the Bush administration's foreign policy and national security strategy, and how the so-called "Bush Doctrine" may affect the politics of missile defense on the domestic front.
In this Web-exclusive interview, Frances FitzGerald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and journalist and the author of Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars, and the End of the Cold War (2000), discusses how George W. Bush's foreign policy owes more to Ronald Reagan than to George Bush the Elder. She also suggests that missile defense can be understood as part of a grand vision of American Manifest Destiny, in which U.S. military supremacy is extended into space.
Paul Wolfowitz is deputy secretary of defense in President George W. Bush's administration and is the former dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He also served as undersecretary of defense in the administration of George H.W. Bush. Here, he talks about the strategic rationale for missile defense, about the need to counter emerging threats, and about the Bush administration's decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.
Richard Perle is chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an influential group of advisers to the Pentagon. He served in the Reagan administration from 1981 to 1987 as assistant secretary of defense. He tells FRONTLINE that the end of the Cold War has made arguments against missile defense obsolete, and that the United States' status as sole superpower gives it unique rights and responsibilities.
||National Security Strategy of the United States|
Released on Sept. 17, 2002, the Bush administration's first formal statement of its national security strategy reconsiders the notion of "deterrence," one of the hallmarks of military strategy during the Cold War, in favor of a doctrine of pre-emption: "We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and our allies and friends." Missile defense, the document states, will still factor in to the military strategy. "Our response must take full advantage of ... modern technologies, including the development of an effective missile defense system."
||Nuclear Posture Review|
Submitted to Congress on Dec. 31, 2001, the Nuclear Posture Review is the result of the Pentagon's year-long study into nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy. "Terrorists or rogue states armed with weapons of mass destruction will likely test America's security commitments to its allies and friends," the report stated. "In response, we will need a range of capabilities to assure friend and foe alike of U.S. resolve."
||Bush Speech at National Defense University|
On May 1, 2001, less than four months after taking office, President George W. Bush outlined his vision for missile defense in a speech at the National Defense University. "We need a new framework that allows us to build missile defenses to counter the different threats of today's world. 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 interests," Bush said, referring to what his administration interpreted as the ABM Treaty's limitations on research.
||Reagan's "Strategic Defense Initiative" Speech|
On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan, in a nationally televised address, called for research and development into missile defenses: "I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete," Reagan said. "[W]e're launching an effort which holds the promise of changing the course of human history." Reagan's critics would deride the plan as "Star Wars."
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