President George W. Bush did not waste much time in affirming that a nuclear defense shield would be one of his priorities during his administration. Nuclear defense was brought to prominance during the Reagan years under the title of the Strategic Defense Initiative, later deemed “”Star Wars.”” Many claim that the money that Reagan spent on this pipe dream forced the Soviet Union to attempt to keep up financially, an action that eventually broke Mikhail Gorbechev’s nation and led to its downfall. Giving credit to the SDI for the fall of the Soviet Union may not be justified, but the Guardian feels that attempting to finish the plans that the SDI started would be a mistake of catastrophic proportions.
It is now estimated that a nuclear shield would cost American taxpayers a dollar amount numbering in the trillions. Considering the fact that every trillion dollars that the federal government spends costs the average American about $3,500, the Guardian feels that this exhorbitant sum of money could be better spent elsewhere in the budget.
Moreover, we are not certain if all our money and expertise can build a missile shield that would work properly. Tests have been less than successful so far, and most of these tests were done under conditions that make the shield more likely to succeed. Success in life-like situations could be decades away or more.
Another point to consider is the reaction from other countries to the building of such a weapon. All great nuclear powers now live under the shadow of M.A.D., meaning “”mutual assured destruction.”” No nuclear country is likely to attack another because of its opponent’s ability to fire back. Due to this system’s implementation, no country has used a nuclear warhead in combat since the United States did in World War II.
With the building of a missile shield, the U.S. government would essentially be counting down the seconds left in the life of M.A.D., and entice other countries to bomb the United States before they lose the chance. Even if the U.S. government plans to use the shield strictly as a defense mechanism, the major nuclear opponents of the United States will no doubt see this measure as a way of defeating a second strike, and therefore a way to make a first strike possible. This instability is another important reason why it should not be built.
There is no doubt that Bush has some of the finest political minds in the world working for him. It is because of this that his decision to push forward with the missile shield is curious. Whether he is simply trying to make Americans feel more secure, raise his popularity levels from their current meager levels, or he thinks this plan will actually work, the Guardian feels he should reconsider his decision before he makes things worse.