Hillary Clinton Right on Missile Defense
On a recent trip to Thailand, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton re-affirmed U.S. support for helping our allies defend themselves against Iran. She said we will offer a “defense umbrella” to those facing threats from the rogue state. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ilan Berman And Clifford D. May want to know whether the U.S. is even capable of providing that kind of protection. An excerpt:
“The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated delivery systems since the collapse of the Soviet Union means that any “defense umbrella” will require the deployment of missile defense technologies capable of neutralizing a potential salvo of nuclear-tipped missiles—whether from Iran or another rogue such as North Korea.
“Yet America’s missile-defense efforts are being scaled back. Congress is contemplating a $1.4 billion reduction to the Pentagon’s budget for antimissile capabilities.”
Are President Barack Obama and his secretary of state on the same page? As the authors note, George Bush’s missile defense efforts didn’t go far enough, yet Obama wants to scale back even more. Cuts from the missile defense budget would eliminate programs and reduce others. As we’ve mentioned, the Multiple Kill Vehicle program would be eliminated, and interceptors in Alaska and California would be reduced to 30, down from 44.
The authors note that both sides of the political aisle need to be in agreement when it comes to missile defense. Enemies rightfully see these disagreements and Obama’s proposed cuts as signs of discord and weakness.
“U.S. missile-defense policy should be designed to elicit the opposite response,” write Berman and May. “Our enemies and competitors should be forced to conclude that energy and funds spent developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them will be wasted because Americans have the know-how and hardware to prevent them from reaching their intended targets.”
The U.S. should be giving off strong and determined vibes, sending a signal to Iran that its nuclear ambitions and threats are futile.