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  • Reagan Missile Defense Speech Matters More than Ever

    Twenty seven years ago President Ronald Reagan delivered one of the most important speeches in modern history. For almost five decades, Americans had lived under the threat of nuclear war. The arms race had become a stand-off between the superpowers called mutually-assured-destruction, where any nuclear exchange would likely evolve into a full-scale atomic war annihilating the East and the West. President Reagan believed that this was an immoral way to maintain an uneasy peace if there was a more responsible and proportional alternative. On March 23, 1983 he announced that there was. The president concluded that not only were missile defenses feasible, but that they would lessen the threat of nuclear war.

    History proved Reagan right on both counts.

    The mere suggestion of deploying what President Reagan called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) brought the Soviet to the negotiating table and resulted in the largest reduction of nuclear arms in history. And though, his proposal was denounced by detractors as science-fiction “Star Wars,” in the last decade, the United States has demonstrated that it can build missile defenses capable of destroying enemy weapons in flight before they can result in harm to anyone.

    Yet, despite being on the right side of history, Reagan’s vision has not fully been realized—and it is needed more than ever. Countries like Iran and North Korea are actively seeking to build nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile forces. And, they are not the only dangers. Their arsenals and aggressive atomic diplomacy may prompt other powers to develop nuclear programs, resulting in a new global arms race. Additionally, both Iran and North Korea are known proliferators of weapons material and technology. For all these reasons, missile defense is more important than ever.

    The Heritage Foundation, which sponsored the 1982 High Frontier study (which first made the case that missile defenses were essential and achievable), has long worked to help realize President Reagan’s vision of eliminating the threat of nuclear missile attack forever, by rendering this threat obsolete. Today, the foundation remains on the fore front of public policy research on the vital issue, including producing the groundbreaking documentary 33 Minutes. The film makes the case that the Congress and American people should demand that our government “finish the job,” build robust, comprehensive missile defenses now—not just to defeat existing threats but to preempt America’s enemies from ever believing that could hold the lives of Americans hostage with the menace of nuclear attack.

    On this day, it is worth stopping to recall Reagan’s monumental vision and to ask—why isn’t Washington doing everything possible to make it a reality?

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Reagan Missile Defense Speech Matters More than Ever

    1. Richard, Orem, UT says:

      We could say the missile shield has been put on the back burner, but that would be wrong. It is no longer on the stove but is on its way to the morgue as long as Obama is in power. And he just received a huge dose of power on Black Sunday, actually thumbing the political nose at God. Our Nation gets scarier by the day. The congress has been doing everything in its power to make this a Godless Nation, and sadly, we sleep and re-elect the same corrupt and self serving politicians because we are too lazy to educate ourselves. Wake up America! Exercise your freedoms before we lose them all. Term limits is just a vote away. Clean the House and Senate and drain the fetid swamp of the corrupt beltway.

    2. Pingback: Time for an EMP Recognition Day | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    3. John B. San Diego says:

      Don't want to be as sarcastic on such a serious matter as defense, but I can't resist.

      President Reagan was good actor turned better politician.

      President Obama was a so-so politician turned bad actor.

      That's All ……!!!!!!!

    4. Pingback: Tuesday, March 24, 2010 – Hank Cooper, Gordon Chang, Andy McCarthy — securefreedom radio

    5. Matt McLaughlin 9314 says:

      Why anger our #1 partner against international terror for a missile shield that is largely show? International terror is a bigger threat. SDI moved so far south is a dis-service to peace between Russia and USA. MAD still rules and the suicide/homicide accusations against Iran aren't believable. Get a job.

    6. Nate says:

      The basic premise of this article is factually incorrect.

      Reagan was wrong. Ballistic missile defense was not feasible and remains so. It has never worked. We can shoot down cruise missiles but not ICBMs, the one that Reagan was talking about.

      Arms reduction has never done anything to reduce the threat of nuclear war, either. It never impacted the ability of either the USA or the USSR to obliterate the other — we would have to nearly eliminate both arsenals in order to achieve that. The benefit of arms reduction is that it can make our arsenal cheaper to maintain and easier to secure.

      It was a commitment to diplomacy instead of war that lessened the risk of mutual destruction.

    7. Rob Denham, Weirton, says:

      People like Nate, who say a missile shield isn't feasible, because we "can't shoot down ICBMs" are missing the point. Reagan got the Russians to the table, and used it as a bludgeon. The thing is, we had SOMETHING that they didn't.

      They had nothing like it, even if it didn't work entirely as promoted, and they knew it. And the possiblity that it COULD work, even at some vague time in some vague future, was enough.

      Besides, Nate points out that we could, and still can only, shoot down cruise missiles, but not ICBMs. So?

      The Wright Brothers' plane only flew 300 feet in 1903, but by 1944, we were capable of sending a fully-loaded B-24 Liberator 2,100 miles at a maximum speed of nearly 300mph.

      By 1969, NASA was capable of sending men a quarter of a million miles, to the moon, and back.

      Stop locking yourself into the present; look at the future. Reagan possessed that vision, and using it, he beat the Soviets, whose constrictive mindset limited their vision.

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