In Delusions Begin Responsibilities

Today’s Viewpoints section featured “The Delusion of Missile Defense” by Yousaf Butt. A sample:

Last week marked the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s announcement of what was to be a radical new approach to missile defense — the Phased Adaptive Approach. According to this plan, the United States, working with NATO, would ramp up the deployment of a mix of increasingly sophisticated sea- and land-based missile interceptors around Europe in an attempt to guard against future Iranian missiles.

If there’s one issue that still enjoys bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress these days, it’s that cooperating with Russia on this defensive system would be a swell idea. Contain Iran and strengthen ties with Russia: surely a win-win. Unfortunately, missile defense will neither contain Iran nor strengthen ties with Russia. To the contrary, it will lead to more nuclear weapons and a more dangerous world. …

Chinese concerns about U.S. missile defense systems are a source of great uncertainty, reducing Chinese support for promoting negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT). China’s leaders may wish to maintain the option of future military plutonium production in response to U.S. missile defense plans.

Today, Dr. Butt sent me this note:

V.P. Biden needs to talk to Senator Biden:

“But nothing could be more damaging to global nonproliferation efforts than to go forward with Star Wars. Russia has enough offensive weapons to overwhelm any system we could devise, so the real issue is what happens in China and throughout Asia.
Remember when the Missile Defense Agency was dhimmified?
“China currently possesses no more than two dozen ICBMs. Our own intelligence services estimate that moving forward with national missile defense could trigger a tenfold increase in China’s expansion of its nuclear capability. And that doesn’t take into account likely Chinese behavior if an arms race ensues, something many experts argue is inevitable when both India and Pakistan respond as expected by ratcheting up their nuclear programs.”

That quotation is from a December 2001 op-ed by then-Sen. Joseph Biden titled, appropriately enough, “Missile Defense Delusion.”

I just hope the administration has finally put Frank Gaffney’s mind at ease.