FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Time for a Missile Ban Treaty

by ALICE SLATER

This July, only one day after the US celebrated another anniversary of its Declaration of Independence from tyranny, it was reported that once more, a test of US anti-missile defenses against incoming long-range ballistic missiles, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California had failed again.  This was the third consecutive test of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Mid-Course  system, in which our military was unable to intercept an incoming missile, programmed to target the US, which had been launched towards the mainland from the U.S. Army’s Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein atoll, in the Marshall Islands.

This lunatic program, dreamt up by Reagan and known by its comic book reality, Star Wars, will never work.  Numerous scientists have testified that it would be impossible to guarantee that our anti-missile interceptors could accurately hit an incoming nuclear missile, because the enemy launch would be accompanied by a phalanx of decoys, preventing us from ever knowing with certainty which incoming missile would be carrying a lethal payload.

In the sixteen tests of this ill-conceived “defense”, only eight have ever hit their target over the past nine years and the target has been rigged with a homing device sending a signal to allow the anti-missile to zero in on its location.   One truly need not be a rocket scientist to figure out that this ill-gotten program, a multi-billion dollar gift to the military-industrial-academic-congressional complex is insane because no enemy attack would give such friendly instructions to our “defenses”.

In 2002, the US unilaterally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty which had been negotiated with the Soviet Union as a way to slow down the arms race.  The two countries reasoned that if they refrained from building anti-missile systems, they could also stop the burgeoning pile-up of missiles they were acquiring to “deter” each other during the Cold War.

After the Berlin Wall came down, any good will we had built up with the Russians swiftly began to dissipate.  We expanded NATO right up to Russia’s border, despite promises we gave to Gorbachev that if he didn’t object to a united Germany joining NATO, it would expand no further.

Russia lost twenty million people during the Nazi onslaught, and was understandably wary of a reunited Germany in NATO. Today NATO is even working to admit former Soviet Republics, Georgia and Ukraine, as members.  And we are planting our missile “defenses” in Poland, Romania, and Turkey.  A powerful global grassroots campaign influenced the Czech Republic to back out of a scheduled deployment in that eastern European country.   Adding Turkey to the mix of NATO missile bases must be particularly offensive to Russia, when you consider that part of the deal during the Cuban missile crisis between Kennedy and Khrushchev, was a secret agreement to remove US missiles from Turkey when the Soviets agreed to bring back their missiles from Cuba.

The US anti-ballistic missile defense program, started in 2002 after we walked out of the ABM Treaty, now deploys about 30 interceptors in Fort Greely, Alaska and at Vandenberg in California.    Despite the latest fizzle, the Pentagon announced that it would not be deterred in its plans to place another 13 interceptors in Alaska at a cost of $1billion.  In addition, the Congress has mandates that the Pentagon study an ground-based missile defense system in either New York or Maine.

One of the biggest sticking points in moving towards meaningful negotiations for nuclear disarmament is Russia’s strong objection to the US missile defense program.  When you realize that it wouldn’t work anyway, that it’s costing billions of dollars and untold losses of intellectual treasure applied to meaningless work, surely it’s time to call for a missile ban treaty. 

Indeed, both China and Russia have repeatedly offered a draft treaty to ban weapons in space where the US was the only nation to block their proposal at the UN’s Commission on Disarmament which requires consensus to move forward.  Any ban on weapons in space would have to deal with the missiles as well which are an integral part of a space fighting system.

Alice Slater serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and is a member of the Abolition 2000 Coordinating Committee.

 

Alice Slater is a founder of Abolition 2000, which works for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail