Decoys and Other Discontents
A generation ago, Reagan promised that missile defense could make nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete. It was a captivating idea, but did not happen then and is not happening today. In fact, an impasse with Russia over possible cooperation on European missile defense has become an unnecessary stumbling block to the next stage of negotiations to reduce our remaining nuclear arsenals. Certainly, the quest for workable missile defense will go on. But it is time to be realistic — and not romantic — about the technology and its limitations.
Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defence was the subject of a seminar paper I wrote as an undergraduate at Cornell almost 30 years ago. I could probably give the same presentation again today with minor modifications. Technology moves forwards in leaps and bounds, but not all problems can be solved by technology.