By James M. Lindsay
Written for a normal viewers, this publication analyzes the missile-defence debate. It assesses the present and certain destiny missile hazard to the U.S., examines appropriate applied sciences and indicates how America's buddies and foes may react to a call to construct a countrywide missile defence.
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Additional resources for Defending America:The Case for Limited National Missile Defense
Note: Spending for fiscal years 2001–05 is projected. 0 1 2 3 4 5 Billions of constant 2001 dollars 6 Figure 1-1. S. Spending on Missile Defense DEFENDING AMERICA 7 defense critics acknowledge that the logic of mutual assured destruction (MAD) is counterintuitive, but they insist it forms the cornerstone of strategic stability. Many NMD proponents, however, reject the idea that a MAD world has an overriding virtue. 5 What is often overlooked amid this sparring is another, more nuanced, possibility: a limited defense against small powers may have virtue even if there is no alternative to a MAD world between the great powers.
The Nixon administration recognized that Sentinel was politically unsustainable and changed course. It abandoned the idea of defending American cities and proposed instead to use the same interceptor technology to defend a portion of America’s land-based ICBMs. The new program, named Safeguard, proved politically controversial as well, and it barely survived congressional opposition led by a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans. In October 1975 the lone Safeguard site opened in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Unlike Russia, China is not a declining power but a rising one; and again, unlike Russia, China has specific territorial issues (notably Taiwan) over which it could conceivably wage a war with the United States. How does the missile defense debate look in Beijing, then? China is not a signatory to the ABM Treaty, but missile defense clearly affects its interests. With only about twenty ICBMs in its arsenal, China has never had a robust second-strike capability against the United States. Deployment of even a “limited” NMD system could, depending on the specific architecture chosen, make the value of its nuclear deterrent even more questionable.