FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Farewell to the ABM Treaty

by David Krieger

Without a vote of the United States Congress and over the objections of Russia and most US allies, George W. Bush has unilaterally withdrawn the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, rendering it void. His withdrawal from this solemn treaty obligation became effective today, June 13, 2002.

Bush’s action is being challenged in US federal court by 32 members of Congress, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI). We should be thankful that there are still members of Congress with the courage and belief in democracy to challenge such abuse of presidential power.

Since becoming president, Bush has waged a campaign against international law. Withdrawal from the ABM Treaty is but one of a series of assaults he has made, including pulling out of the Kyoto Accords on Climate Change, withdrawal of the US from the treaty creating an International Criminal Court, opposing a Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention that would allow for inspections and verification, and failing to fulfill US obligations related to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

Bush told the American people that he was withdrawing from the ABM Treaty so that the US could proceed with the deployment of missile defenses defenses that most independent experts believe are incapable of actually providing defense. The president has traded a long-standing and important arms control treaty for the possibility that there might be a technological fix for nuclear dangers that would allow the US to threaten, but not be threatened by, nuclear weapons. In doing so, he has pulled another brick from the foundation of international law and created conditions that will undoubtedly make the US and the rest of the world less secure. He has also moved toward establishing an imperial presidency, unfettered by such constitutional restraints as the separation of powers.

In 1972, when the US and USSR agreed to a treaty limiting anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems, they did so for good reasons, which are described below in the Preamble to the treaty to which I have added some comments.

Proceeding from the premise that nuclear war would have devastating consequences for all mankind, [Nothing has changed here, except that 30 years later we might better use the term “humankind.”]

Considering that effective measures to limit anti-ballistic missile systems would be a substantial factor in curbing the race in strategic offensive arms and would lead to a decrease in the risk of outbreak of war involving nuclear weapons, [This relationship between offensive and defensive systems still holds true.]

Proceeding from the premise that the limitation of anti-ballistic missile systems, as well as certain agreed measures with respect to the limitation of strategic offensive arms, would contribute to the creation of more favorable conditions for further negotiations on limiting strategic arms, [The recent treaty signed by Bush and Putin only applies limits to actively deployed nuclear weapons and at levels high enough to still destroy civilization and most life on the planet.]

Mindful of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, [The United States under the Bush administration has been contemptuous of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its Article VI obligations to achieve nuclear disarmament.]

Declaring their intention to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to take effective measures toward reductions in strategic arms, nuclear disarmament, and general and complete disarmament, [These promises remain largely unfulfilled 30 years later.]

Desiring to contribute to the relaxation of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States…. [The US missile defense program and related US plans to weaponize outer space have the potential to again send the level of international tensions skyrocketing, particularly in Asia.]

The ABM Treaty was meant to be for an “unlimited duration,” but allowed for withdrawal if a country should decide “that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests.” Bush never bothered to explain to the American people or to the Russians how the treaty jeopardized the supreme interests of the Untied States. It is clear, though, that withdrawal from the treaty as a unilateral act of the president has undermined our true “supreme interests” in upholding democracy and international law.

David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He can be contacted at dkrieger@napf.org.

 

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

More articles by:
May 31, 2016
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Imperial Blues: On Whitewashing Dictatorship in the 21st Century
Vijay Prashad
Stoking the Fires: Trump and His Legions
Uri Avnery
What Happened to Netanyahu?
Corey Payne
Reentry Through Resistance: Détente with Cuba was Accomplished Through Resistance and Solidarity, Not Imperial Benevolence
Patrick Howlett-Martin
Libya: How to Bring Down a Nation
Bill Quigley
From Tehran to Atlanta: Social Justice Lawyer Azadeh Shahshahani’s Fight for Human Rights
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump, Sanders and the Exhaustion of a Political Model
Bruce Lerro
“Network” 40 Years Later: Capitalism in Retrospect and Prospect and Elite Politics Today
Robert Hunziker
Chile’s Robocops
Aidan O'Brien
What’ll It be Folks: Xenophobia or Genocide?
Binoy Kampmark
Emailgate: the Clinton Spin Doctors In Action
Colin Todhunter
The Unique Risks of GM Crops: Science Trumps PR, Fraud and Smear Campaigns
Dave Welsh
Jessica Williams, 29: Another Black Woman Gunned Down By Police
Gary Leupp
Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail