U.S. Missile Defense System Receives Criticism Internationally
Defense Secretary William Cohen said July
24th that he plans to send a recommendation to President Clinton
within three or four weeks on whether to begin building a so-called
National Missile Defense system. This system has been called "son
of Star Wars" in reference to former US President Ronald Reagan's
proposal to shoot incoming missiles from space with a laser.
plan currently is to put missiles on Alaskan soil supposedly capable
of intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles. But in two
out of three interception attempts since last October, the U.S.
military has failed to shoot down target ballistic missiles in
tests over the Pacific Ocean. Still defense officials would like
to start working on the first missile defense plan radar in Alaska
is being urged by critics, and even some supporters of the plan,
as well as scientists, to delay a decision on the Alaska radar
because the technology is not ready and the plan is estimated
to cost at least $60 billion.
only is Alaska targeted for a missile base, but according to the
West Australian press, there is also a proposal for a missile
test range in northern West Australia. In a recent statement by
Australian foreign minister Downer, Australia 'understands' that
U.S. plans to proceed with the missile plan, and with possible
Australian involvement in the plan. The Australian Senate voted
against Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), or as the current plan
is called, National Missile Defense (NMD) also formerly known
as Star Wars. BMD/Star Wars will violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile
treaty, and will most probably give rise to another arms race.
United States and Australian defense officials have targeted northern
West Australia as a site from which to launch ballistic missiles
for U.S. warships to use as target practice within five years.
In Australia, some defense officials are resisting pressure from
the U.S. to cooperate in a joint ballistic missile test range
in northern West Australia. Instead, the Australian navy is trying
to get U.S. cooperation for a range on the east coast to test
wave-skimming missiles because this is the kind of weaponry more
likely to be used against Australian ships. China's state media
has accused Australia of being a "cat's paw" for the U.S. and
warned that the missile system would "send global arms control
out of control".
week, during a tour of China, North Korea and Japan by Russia's
President Vladimir Putin, Russia and China signed a joint statement
condemning the proposed U.S. missile defense system. The statement
accused the U.S. of attempting to secure unilateral superiority
in military and security issues.
countries have asked the U.S. not to proceed with BMD/Star Wars,
and within the U.S., 50 Nobel prizewinners have asked the U.S.
government to give up the idea as have the Federation of Atomic
Scientists, Congressional Representatives, Generals, and peace
organizations. The people living in northern West Australia are
extremely upset over this proposal to use the area to test U.S.
missiles. According to Australian peace groups it is time to say
a clear 'no' to the U.S. National Missile Defense plan. One peace
activist clearly summed up the missile issue stating, "Why is
public debate mired today in a duel between deterrence and defense,
with scant attention to missile disarmament?"
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