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:
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
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
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
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
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail