FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Farewell to the ABM Treaty

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of the United States Congress and over the objections of Russia and most US allies, George W. Bush has unilaterally withdrawn the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, rendering it void.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.

 

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail