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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 56, April 2001

Bush Speech on Missile Defence, Nuclear Reductions

I. Speech by the President

Speech by President George W. Bush, National Defense University, Washington, May 1, 2001; White House transcript.

"This afternoon, I want us to think back some 30 years to a far different time in a far different world. The United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a hostile rivalry. The Soviet Union was our unquestioned enemy; a highly-armed threat to freedom and democracy. Far more than that wall in Berlin divided us. Our highest ideal was - and remains - individual liberty. Theirs was the construction of a vast communist empire. Their totalitarian regime held much of Europe captive behind an iron curtain.

We didn't trust them, and for good reason. Our deep differences were expressed in a dangerous military confrontation that resulted in thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other on hair-trigger alert. Security of both the United States and the Soviet Union was based on a grim premise: that neither side would fire nuclear weapons at each other, because doing so would mean the end of both nations.

We even went so far as to codify this relationship in a 1972 ABM Treaty, based on the doctrine that our very survival would best be insured by leaving both sides completely open and vulnerable to nuclear attack. The threat was real and vivid. The Strategic Air Command had an airborne command post called the Looking Glass, aloft 24 hours a day, ready in case the President ordered our strategic forces to move toward their targets and release their nuclear ordnance.

The Soviet Union had almost 1.5 million troops deep in the heart of Europe, in Poland and Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany. We used our nuclear weapons not just to prevent the Soviet Union from using their nuclear weapons, but also to contain their conventional military forces, to prevent them from extending the Iron Curtain into parts of Europe and Asia that were still free.

In that world, few other nations had nuclear weapons and most of those who did were responsible allies, such as Britain and France. We worried about the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other countries, but it was mostly a distant threat, not yet a reality.

Today, the sun comes up on a vastly different world. The Wall is gone, and so is the Soviet Union. Today's Russia is not yesterday's Soviet Union. Its government is no longer Communist. Its President is elected. Today's Russia is not our enemy, but a country in transition with an opportunity to emerge as a great nation, democratic, at peace with itself and its neighbors. The Iron Curtain no longer exists. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are free nations, and they are now our allies in NATO, together with a reunited Germany.

Yet, this is still a dangerous world, a less certain, a less predictable one. More nations have nuclear weapons and still more have nuclear aspirations. Many have chemical and biological weapons. Some already have developed the ballistic missile technology that would allow them to deliver weapons of mass destruction at long distances and at incredible speeds. And a number of these countries are spreading these technologies around the world.

Most troubling of all, the list of these countries includes some of the world's least-responsible states. Unlike the Cold War, today's most urgent threat stems not from thousands of ballistic missiles in the Soviet hands, but from a small number of missiles in the hands of these states, states for whom terror and blackmail are a way of life. They seek weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors, and to keep the United States and other responsible nations from helping allies and friends in strategic parts of the world.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the world joined forces to turn him back. But the international community would have faced a very different situation had Hussein been able to blackmail with nuclear weapons. Like Saddam Hussein, some of today's tyrants are gripped by an implacable hatred of the United States of America. They hate our friends, they hate our values, they hate democracy and freedom and individual liberty. Many care little for the lives of their own people. In such a world, Cold War deterrence is no longer enough.

To maintain peace, to protect our own citizens and our own allies and friends, we must seek security based on more than the grim premise that we can destroy those who seek to destroy us. This is an important opportunity for the world to re-think the unthinkable, and to find new ways to keep the peace.

Today's world requires a new policy, a broad strategy of active non-proliferation, counter proliferation and defenses. We must work together with other like-minded nations to deny weapons of terror from those seeking to acquire them. We must work with allies and friends who wish to join with us to defend against the harm they can inflict. And together we must deter anyone who would contemplate their use. We need new concepts of deterrence that rely on both offensive and defensive forces. Deterrence can no longer be based solely on the threat of nuclear retaliation. Defenses can strengthen deterrence by reducing the incentive for proliferation.

We need a new framework that allows us to build missile defenses to counter the different threats of today's world. To do so, we must move beyond the constraints of the 30-year-old ABM Treaty. This treaty does not recognize the present, or point us to the future. It enshrines the past. No treaty that prevents us from addressing today's threats, that prohibits us from pursuing promising technology to defend ourselves, our friends and our allies is in our interests or in the interests of world peace. This new framework must encourage still further cuts in nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons still have a vital role to play in our security and that of our allies. We can, and will, change the size, the composition, the character of our nuclear forces in a way that reflects the reality that the Cold War is over.

I am committed to achieving a credible deterrent with the lowest-possible number of nuclear weapons consistent with our national security needs, including our obligations to our allies. My goal is to move quickly to reduce nuclear forces. The United States will lead by example to achieve our interests and the interests for peace in the world.

Several months ago, I asked Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to examine all available technologies and basing modes for effective missile defenses that could protect the United States, our deployed forces, our friends and our allies. The Secretary has explored a number of complementary and innovative approaches.

The Secretary has identified near-term options that could allow us to deploy an initial capability against limited threats. In some cases, we can draw on already established technologies that might involve land-based and sea-based capabilities to intercept missiles in mid-course or after they re-enter the atmosphere. We also recognize the substantial advantages of intercepting missiles early in their flight, especially in the boost phase. The preliminary work has produced some promising options for advanced sensors and interceptors that may provide this capability. If based at sea or on aircraft, such approaches could provide limited, but effective, defenses.

We have more work to do to determine the final form the defenses might take. We will explore all these options further. We recognize the technological difficulties we face and we look forward to the challenge. Our nation will assign the best people to this critical task.

We will evaluate what works and what does not. We know that some approaches will not work. We also know that we will be able to build on our successes. When ready, and working with Congress, we will deploy missile defenses to strengthen global security and stability.

I've made it clear from the very beginning that I would consult closely on the important subject with our friends and allies who are also threatened by missiles and weapons of mass destruction. Today, I'm announcing the dispatch of high-level representatives to Allied capitals in Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada to discuss our common responsibility to create a new framework for security and stability that reflects the world of today. They will begin leaving next week.

The delegations will be headed by three men at this stage: Rich Armitage, Paul Wolfowitz, and Steve Hadley; deputies of the State Department, the Defense Department and the National Security staff. Their trips will be part of an ongoing process of consultation, involving many people and many levels of government, including my Cabinet Secretaries.

These will be real consultations. We are not presenting our friends and allies with unilateral decisions already made. We look forward to hearing their views, the views of our friends, and to take them into account. We will seek their input on all the issues surrounding the new strategic environment. We'll also need to reach out to other interested states, including China and Russia. Russia and the United States should work together to develop a new foundation for world peace and security in the 21st century. We should leave behind the constraints of an ABM Treaty that perpetuates a relationship based on distrust and mutual vulnerability. This Treaty ignores the fundamental breakthroughs in technology during the last 30 years. It prohibits us from exploring all options for defending against the threats that face us, our allies and other countries.

That's why we should work together to replace this Treaty with a new framework that reflects a clear and clean break from the past, and especially from the adversarial legacy of the Cold War. This new cooperative relationship should look to the future, not to the past. It should be reassuring, rather than threatening. It should be premised on openness, mutual confidence and real opportunities for cooperation, including the area of missile defense. It should allow us to share information so that each nation can improve its early warning capability, and its capability to defend its people and territory. And perhaps one day, we can even cooperate in a joint defense.

I want to complete the work of changing our relationship from one based on a nuclear balance of terror, to one based on common responsibilities and common interests. We may have areas of difference with Russia, but we are not and must not be strategic adversaries. Russia and America both face new threats to security. Together, we can address today's threats and pursue today's opportunities. We can explore technologies that have the potential to make us all safer.

This is a time for vision; a time for a new way of thinking; a time for bold leadership. The Looking Glass no longer stands its 24-hour-day vigil. We must all look at the world in a new, realistic way, to preserve peace for generations to come."

II. Comment and Reaction


Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: "The Secretary-General has noted the proposals of the President...for a new defence policy, including the establishment of missile defences. These plans inevitably impact upon global security and strategic stability, and the Secretary-General welcomes the readiness of the United States administration to consult with other members of the international community. The Secretary-General believes that, in promoting respect for the rule of law in international affairs, there is a need to consolidate and build upon existing disarmament and non-proliferation agreements, specifically to prevent a new arms race and to maintain the non-weaponised status of outer space. In this context, the Secretary-General appeals to all states to engage in negotiations towards legally-binding agreements that are both verifiable and irreversible." (UN Press Release SG/SM/7788, May 1.)

NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson: "I have listened with great interest to US President Bush's...speech on the growing challenges to global security, including the requirement for missile defences. The President is right to focus on these new security challenges, and I welcome his commitment to close consultation with the Allies. I spoke with him by phone yesterday, and am pleased that he is sending a team to brief NATO on the details of his thinking next week. When I met with Russian President Putin in February, he also focussed on the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, and the need for some military response in addressing these threats. So there is a wide consensus on the need for defences against the proliferation of ballistic missiles, and I look forward to working closely with the US administration and other Allies on exactly how these challenges will be met." (NATO Press Release (2001)054, May 1.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin: "We have noticed in the...President's statement that our US partners plan to consult with the international community on these crucial issues, including consultations with Russia. We are very much counting on this dialogue being constructive... It is difficult not to agree with the President of the United States in this sense, that the world is changing rapidly and new threats are appearing... I agree that we must think about this and resist these threats with sensible actions... First, we should not destroy the established system of international security, and, second, we must act together to perfect it." (Russia - US must collaborate on nukes, Associated Press, May 4.)

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, statement to reporters, May 2: "US President George Bush yesterday on his own initiative got in touch with Russian President Vladimir Putin and briefed him on his upcoming speech on strategic stability. The Presidents agreed to have a thorough exchange views on this major problem of international security during their very first meeting, which is due to take place soon. In his speech US President George Bush, setting forth the general approaches of the United States administration to strategic stability issues, emphasized that Washington intends to consult most carefully with and take into account the interests of other nations, including Russia. Russia is ready for such consultations. We've got something to say. Russian President Vladimir Putin has put forward a comprehensive START-ABM program. This program incorporates, among other things, the willingness of Russia to go for a substantial reduction in strategic offensive arms, down to 1,500 nuclear warheads for either side, and perhaps even lower. As we see it, this proposal is consonant with the approaches of the current US administration too. Our proposals include also a complex of measures to strengthen the regime for the non-proliferation of missiles and missile technologies. I want again to stress that we are ready for consultations, we're ready to listen to the position of the American side and state our own approaches. As for the ABM Treaty of 1972, this document, from out point of view, cannot be separated from the general architecture of arms control agreements that has been formed in the last 30 years and that has become the basis of international security. This most complex architecture includes bilateral and multilateral agreements in such major questions as non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, strategic offensive arms limitation and reduction, a ban on nuclear tests, and the restriction on conventional arms, etc. That is why we have been so insistently advocating that the 1972 ABM Treaty be preserved and strengthened in the interests of international security. The United States President in his speech emphasized that the United States and Russia should work together on the creation of foundations for future international security in the 21st Century. We welcome the statement and believe this will create prerequisites for a constructive dialogue on the issues of strategic stability in the interests of our two countries, and in the interests of the whole international community." (Transcript of Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov's Remarks at Press Conference, May 2, 2001; Russian Foreign Ministry text, unofficial translation.)

Foreign Minister Ivanov, comments to reporters, May 2: "What is at issue right now is that a stage of bilateral and multilateral consultations is opening up on the whole range of strategic stability problems. It is extremely important that the US President emphasized that the administration does not intend to take unilateral steps, to put on the table ready-made variants, but plans to consult with its allies and friends, with other states, [and] in particular Russia, in order to take into account their view during decision-making. We believe this is of crucial importance, and that it is opening up opportunities to jointly look for a solution to the issues currently on the agenda in the interests of preserving and consolidating strategic stability, without prejudicing the interests of anybody. ... As you know, the US President said a group of American experts will soon visit a number of capitals and Moscow in order to set out at length and detail the general approaches that were stated yesterday by George Bush. We think the position of the US administration should be carefully listened to before drawing final conclusions. These problems are very complex and it is necessary to know the details here, the essence of all the nuances. ... I think that it is no secret - in the approaches there are different points of view, including in the appraisal of the ABM Treaty. This is why consultations are important in order to go over from political declarations to a specific examination of some or other questions. ... I want again to say that yesterday's statement of US President George Bush bears a political character. At the same time in order to draw conclusions on the technical aspects, on the solution of some or other problems consultations are required. Only after that will it be possible to draw substantiated conclusions." (Transcript of Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov's Remarks at Press Conference, May 2, 2001.)

Unnamed Russian 'military-diplomatic sources', quoted by Interfax: "Moscow has received signals from Washington [indicating] that there are forces in the American administration which understand the negative consequences of the United States taking unilateral actions about leaving ABM and deploying a national missile defence system..." (Allies hail Bush consultation on missile shield, Reuters, May 1.)

Unnamed 'high-placed military-diplomatic source', quoted by Itar-Tass: "The ABM Treaty is truly a hurdle to a US monopoly in global politics... Today it is clear that the new US administration has set itself on the course of destroying the whole system of strategic stability, [and] is betting on the factor of military strength in attaining global leadership..." (Russian reaction mixed after Bush's missile speech, Reuters, May 2.)

Dmitry Rogozin, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Russian Duma: "If the United States actually goes through with its intention to abandon the 1972 treaty, that would destroy the entire security system we have today." (Hostile response to missile defence plan, BBC News Online, May 2.)

Russian Communist Party Leader Gennady Zyuganov: "The United States...in fact withdrew from all international treaties and agreements a long time ago, which was shown by the bombing of Yugoslavia and the fact that the United States has classified a number of countries as 'rogue states'... The main thing in such a situation is that the Russian Foreign ministry and the government do not raise their arms in defeat, but behave with dignity, actively defending the national interests of our country..." (Bush commits US to missile defense, Associated Press, May 2; Russian reaction mixed after Bush's missile speech, Reuters, May 2.)

Russian Liberal Deputy Vladimir Lukin, Deputy Speaker of the Duma: "Bush's statement opens the possibility for serious talks with the Americans. ... The essence of the question...is maintaining the strategic balance of forces..." (Russian reaction mixed after Bush's missile speech, Reuters, May 2.)

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhu Bangzao: "We believe the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is the cornerstone for safeguarding global strategic balance and stability... If the treaty is destroyed...[this] balance and stability will be broken, and the international arms control process and non-proliferation efforts will be impeded... We hope the United States will act with great care and continue to adhere to the [ABM] Treaty and other present treaties on disarmament and arms control." (China warns of arms race, Associated Press, May 3; China blasts US missile defense shield plan, Agence France-Presse, May 3.)

Commentary by the Chinese Xinhua News Agency: "Analysts said the US plan to build a missile defence system will not only spark a new arms race and create a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but will also threaten world peace and security in the 21st Century." (Xinhua, May 2.)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair: "This is a highly sensitive issue that we should handle with care... I believe President Bush has set out a case that we have to listen to... It is important and right that we wait for a firm proposal before giving a firm decision." (Number Ten in missile row, BBC News Online, May 2; Global reaction to missile plan is cautious, New York Times, May 3.)

Note: a few hours after the Prime Minister made his remarks, answering questions in the House of Commons, Downing Street spokesperson Alastair Campbell was quoted as telling reporters that the US plan for a missile shield was "broadly a good idea". His comment was quickly seized upon by opposition politicians, including Liberal Democrat spokesperson Foreign affairs Menzies Campbell, who observed: "Only the British government now, of all the European allies in NATO, thinks NMD is a 'good idea'. What price cooperation with our European allies?" The official opposition Conservative Party is broadly supportive of the US programme. (See Number Ten in missile row, BBC News Online, May 2.)

British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, May 1: "I welcome President Bush's commitment...to early consultations at a senior level on missile defence. ... President Bush made clear his wish to develop a new framework for the US relationship with Russia. It is good news that President Bush spoke to President Putin today. And I welcome the President's commitment to reductions in US nuclear weapons. The important issue is the clear commitment...to work together with allies and with Russia." (Statement issued by the Foreign Office, May 1.)

Foreign Secretary Cook, addressing Parliament, May 3: "Nothing is inevitable. No answer can be given by Britain until we know the details. We will take a decision in the national interest." (No British decision on missile defense - Cook, Reuters, May 3.)

Former British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: "I strongly support President Bush's plan to protect America and her allies from attack by ballistic missiles, and I trust that the British government will stop its shilly-shallying and support them, too." (Global reaction to missile plan is cautious, New York Times, May 3.)

Former British Labour Defence Secretary Denis Healey: "The plain fact is it is a total waste of American money, and I can't think why anybody with commonsense would support it." (Only Blair can see merit in missile plan, Sydney Morning Herald, May 4.)

Richard Perle, Bush adviser and Defense Department official under President Reagan, on the attitude of the UK government: "Basically I think Blair is dodging the issue. You don't have to have the details before you form a judgement on them. ... [The Bush administration sees the British attitude] as wishy-washy and ambivalent." (Bush aide attacks Blair on missile defense shield, Reuters, May 5.)

French Foreign Ministry statement: "The French authorities have taken note of the speech by President Bush... In it, he announces a defence strategy that combines defensive, offensive and deterrent elements in a new way. He stresses that many options remain open in defining and implementing that project. The questions the French authorities have are known and have been expressed. The American administration confirms its willingness to consult the European allies and open a dialogue with Russia. We hope that these consultations address all the questions raised by the project. Our assessment, when the time comes, will reflect the results of the future consultation and the final configuration of the project." (French Foreign Ministry, http://www.france.diplomatie.fr, May 2.)

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer: "This would simply be the continuation of a ballistic missile early-warning partnership we have shared with the US over 30 years, a partnership which makes a significant contribution to global strategic stability..."

Richard Butler, former Australian Ambassador to the UN and Executive Chair of the UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM): "The Bush administration's decision...will shake, to the foundations, the key international agreement which has supported an almost 40-year effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons - the [NPT]... The proposed cuts in American nuclear weapons...must be welcomed... But if they are made contingent on Russia agreeing to amendment or abandonment of the ABM Treaty - and to American deployment of a national missile defence system - Mr. Bush's proposal would contradict the commitment made in May 2000 by the United States [at the NPT Review Conference], and the fundamental legal commitment made in the...treaty. ... A more constructive plan of action by the United States would have included specific proposals for deep cuts in strategic nuclear weapons, followed by the engagement of other nuclear-weapons states in further reductions; the standing down of strategic nuclear weapons from their Cold War state of hair-trigger alert; the entry-into-force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and the early negotiation of a treaty banning the manufacture of fissile material for weapons purposes. An overwhelming majority of countries support these steps. If they were taken, the obvious right of the United States to continue to conduct research into defensive technologies would be seen in an entirely different light. ... Reduction of the nuclear threat can best be accomplished through arms control and disarmament. This would cost a fraction of what the administration will need for missile defence. Building a wall, rather than tackling the problem head on, is both to retreat and, in this case, to condemn all of us to failure." (Restarting the nuclear race, by Richard Butler, New York Times, May 2.)

Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner: "I think it is very important that the United States really contacts the allies... There should not be any unilateral actions with regard to treaties like the ABM Treaty..." (Bush defense plan worries Europe, Associated Press, May 3.)

Canadian Foreign Minister John Manley: "A unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty would be very problematic for us." (Global reaction to missile plan is cautious, New York Times, May 3.)

Canadian Defence Minister Art Eggleton: "They haven't decided on a plan, and until they have a plan, obviously, we can't decide whether we support it or not... I think it's excellent that they're talking about reducing the size of the nuclear arsenal and that he wants to consult with the allies about how we ensure peace and safety and security." (Bush commits US to missile defence, Associated Press/Canadian Press, May 2.)

Former Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy: "We're going to see a very active period of American initiative in the next weeks and months, and therefore no one can sit on the fence, because if you sit on the fence you're just going to be bypassed... [NMD is] going to scare the hell out of the Chinese and others. And they're going to have no recourse..." (World reacts to Bush's missile defence plan, CBC Online, May 2.)

Lloyd Axworthy: "Ultimately, we may have to choose where our greatest security interests lie. The choice to me is clear: if there is no accommodation by the United States to reasonable proposals that meet the test of offsetting the rogue-state threat while maintaining a mutually beneficial arms control regime, then Canada should say no. ... This is a defining issue for Canadians. We need to be an active player in trying to shape an outcome to this challenge that will not endanger a global structure of stability and interdependence that we have strived so hard to build over the past several decades." (Not so fast, Mr. Bush, article by Lloyd Axworthy, The Globe and Mail, May 2.)

Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft: "[Our] government stresses that a missile defence must not start a new arms race..." (Bush defense plan worries Europe, Associated Press, May 3.)

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, visiting Washington, May 1: "An effective, treaty-based arms control and disarmament regime must be preserved and expanded, including effective and verifiable prevention of proliferation... To avoid a global or regional arms race a co-operative basis is necessary, which also brings in Russia and China..." (Europe cautious over Bush NMD plan, CNN.com, May 2; China warns on missiles, Russia ready to talk, Reuters, May 2.)

Foreign Minister Fischer, Washington, May 2: If there are new thoughts, we should look [at] the consequences of these new thoughts. We should do that very carefully. ... Disarmament treaties that have worked well in the past should be replaced only by something better, so that there is no new arms race." (Germany welcomes US plans to consult Russia, China on missile shield, Agence France Presse, May 2.)

Indian Foreign Ministry Statement: "President Bush's address...is a highly significant and far-reaching statement of US national security policy... It seeks to transform the parameters on which the Cold War security architecture was built. India particularly welcomes the announcement of unilateral [nuclear] reductions by the US... We also welcome moving away from the hair-trigger alerts associated with prevailing nuclear orthodoxies. India believes that there is a strategic and technological inevitability in stepping away from a world that is held hostage by the doctrine of MAD to a cooperative, defensive transition that is underpinned by further cuts and a de-alert of nuclear forces. We note with appreciation the US resolve to seek dialogue, consultation and cooperation with the countries concerned towards a fulfillment of this vision. India has always stood for a multilateral compact that results in an elimination of all nuclear weapons globally. India also lauds the desire expressed by the US President to make a 'clean break from the past', and especially from the 'adversarial legacy of the Cold War.'" (Foreign Ministry Press Release, May 2.)

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, speaking at a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov, New Delhi: "The widest possible discussions must take place if any amendment is envisaged in the 1972 treaty..." (Russia, India cautious over Bush arms plan, Reuters, May 4.)

Yasuo Kukuda, Chief Cabinet Secretary, Government of Japan: "The fact that the US, our ally, plans to deploy such a system may be alright, but we must avoid a situation in which such systems expand throughout the world... Depending on developments, we may have to say something to the US." (Kukuda wary of missile defense plan, Japan Times, May 3.)

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, comments reportedly made during a telephone conversation with President Bush: "I hope that this process of consultations will contribute to improving the peace and stability of the international community..." (Seoul withholds commitment to US missile defense initiative, Korea Times, May 2.)

Unnamed South Korean Foreign Ministry official: "As an ally, we cannot help but express our understanding of the US initiative..." (Seoul noncommittal on Bush's missile shield, Korea Times, May 3.)

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff: "I understand a nation's desire to protect itself against any form of attack. However, the establishment of a missile defence system runs the risk of halting and reversing multilateral progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons." (Concern over United States missile defence plans, New Zealand Foreign Ministry Statement, May 2.)

Foreign Minister Goff & Disarmament Minister Matt Robson: "The only real security against nuclear missile attack is the total elimination of nuclear weapons as unequivocally agreed to by the nuclear-weapon states at last year's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. It is a positive factor that both the US and Russia are talking about major downsizing of their nuclear weapons stockpiles. This should continue with ratification of START II by the US and the development of START III talks so that the downsizing provides for verification procedures and create[s] the necessary guarantees and confidence in the process. To achieve ongoing progress requires dialogue and multilateral action, rather than unilateral initiatives by individual countries..." (Concern over United States missile defence plans, New Zealand Foreign Ministry Statement, May 2.)

Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh: "We urge President Bush to abstain from the national missile defence, just as we urge China, India and Pakistan to discontinue their nuclear arsenals. ... There is a risk that other countries will use this decision as an excuse for improving their own nuclear weapon programmes and that the world will be led into a new spiralling arms race... It would be quite regrettable if President Bush were to declare the ABM Treaty null and void without international negotiation and checks." (China warns on missiles, Russia ready to talk, Reuters, May 2; US missile shield could relaunch arms race - Swedish FM, Agence France-Presse, May 2; Bush defense plan worries Europe, Associated Press, May 3.)

United States

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer: "The message to Russia is that the development of a missile defence system - so we can think beyond the confines of the Cold War era - is the best way to preserve the peace." (Missile quotes from Bush, Associated Press, May 2.)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, May 1: "[A]nyone who thinks about history understands that deterrence and dissuasion is an important aspect of modern life. ... [T]he first choice is to be arranged in a way that you can dissuade somebody from engaging in hostile acts... Now, second, anyone who's ever been involved with research and development activities knows that it is highly unlikely that in the first try someone will develop something that is perfect. ... Most systems are imperfect; that is to say, for every offense, there's a defence, and vice versa. But what we're talking about here is a new set of capabilities to...dissuade or deter...as well as to defend against a growing threat in the world. And...they need not be 100% perfect, in my opinion, and they are certainly unlikely to be in their early stages of evolution." (Transcript - Defense Secretary May 1 remarks on missile defense, US State Department (Washington File), May 2.)

Secretary Rumsfeld, May 2: "[The President's] remarks properly reflected the fact that the goal during this period is to explore a variety of ways that missile defence can conceivably evolve, without prejudging exactly which ones will be most fruitful... There is no question but that the use of land and sea and air and space are all things that need to be considered if one is looking at the best way to provide the kind of security from ballistic missiles that is desirable for the United States and for our friends and allies." (Bush defense plan stirs critics, Associated Press, May 2.)

Secretary Rumsfeld, May 6: "I've just been looking at some of the reaction around the world to President Bush's speech, and I've been very pleased. I noticed what the Indians have said, the Australians have said, the British have said, and even President Putin...has been very, very quiet and measured in his response." (Rumsfeld, Rice say US will cooperate with others on missile defense, US State Department (Washington File), May 6.)

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice: "The President [has] started the process...of laying out a vision for how to think about deterrence, how to think about nuclear weapons, one more in line with the world of 2001 than of 1972. And I think people are responding to it. It's very heartening... I think the Russians are listening. ... We are only asking people to listen, to begin the discussion. I think we are going to win this argument - the intellectual argument." (Rice hopeful on coming US missile defense talks, Reuters, May 6.)

Democratic Senator Joseph Biden: "Its really hard to tell what he means and what his strategy is... But we should not head down the Star Wars road again. ... To abandon the ABM Treaty with the hope to get that [missile defence] capacity somewhere down the line would damage the security interests of the United States... This premise, that one day [North Korean President] Kim Jong-il or someone will wake up one morning and say, 'Aha, San Francisco!' is specious..." (Bush commits US to missile defense, Associated Press, May 2; New era not here yet, say critics, Washington Post, May 2.)

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle: "We fear that the President may be buying a lemon here. I don't know how you support the deployment of a program that doesn't work. We've got to ask some very tough questions: first about whether or not this system will ever work; secondly, whether or not it's worth abrogating a treaty that has been longstanding, one supported by our allies and adversaries alike; and third, what kind of a relationship will we have with our allies if we violate the ABM Treaty and move ahead without adequate consultation with them? ... Now, we're for additional research. We're for finding ways with which to improve the technology, but to deploy and to violate or abrogate the ABM Treaty before we've ensured that it works is absolute silliness, and really has to be addressed." (Comments to the Press, released by Office of Senator Thomas Daschle, May 1.)

Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan: "We have a range of threats. Let's deal with that range of threats. ... The threat it [NMD] is supposed to counter is one of the least likely threats this country faces... People should understand what is being talked about here. Despite the fact that we don't have a system that works, we have people saying we ought to deploy it immediately." (Text - Senator Dorgan criticizes Bush's missile defense plan, US State Department (Washington File), May 2.)

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense: "I have come to the conclusion that missile defence is becoming more like faith than science or reason. If only we believe, it will work. ... [The President's] position is an invitation to a new worldwide arms race. ... It would be folly to abandon the ABM Treaty before we're even close to a system that works. Even if we must amend it, we must not scrap it. If a system is built that is intended to stop a couple of missiles from a 'rogue state', then it wouldn't apply to the strategic balance among Russia, China, and the United States anyway, so the strategic underpinning of the ABM Treaty is still valid and will remain crucial for years to come." (Durbin statement upon being honoured by scientists for his work, Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers Press Release, May 1.)

Jesse Helms, Republican Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "I greatly admire President Bush for his commitment to defend the American people against ballistic missile attack... The President's decision to begin consultations immediately is wise, and I expect that our allies will be strongly supportive. ... The idea of deliberate vulnerability to missile attack is a folly and Russia must come to grips with the fact that the Cold War is over. It is time to scrap the ABM Treaty. But the United States must update its thinking as well, which is why I believe it is appropriate for the President to consider significant nuclear reductions... [We must] modernise the deterrent that was built during the 20th Century to meet the evolving threats and challenges of this one. In particular, we urgently need new weapons designs to address the problem of biological plagues, and deeply buried targets. Finally, we must realise that countries such as China are increasing their arsenals, and we must be exceedingly careful to preserve a significant reserve stockpile as a hedge against uncertainty." (Office of Senator Helms, May 1.)

Republican Senator James Inhofe, Chair, Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness: "President Bush is showing decisive leadership in backing the deployment of a missile defence system and breaking free from the outdated ABM Treaty... By consulting with our allies and exploring sea-based, land-based and space-based systems, the President is doing the right thing. He is letting the world know that America is committed to building security without a sole reliance on mutual assured destruction. His policy is a sharp and refreshing contrast to the go-slow approach of the Clinton administration." (Office of Senator Inhofe, May 1.)

Democratic Senator John Kerry: "If you can't shoot down 100% of them [incoming missiles], you haven't gotten rid of mutually assured destruction. And if you can, you set off an arms race to develop a capacity that can't be touched by a missile defence system." (New era not here yet, say critics, Washington Post, May 2.)

Republican Senator Jon Kyl: "It was not the ABM Treaty, but President Reagan's doctrine of 'Peace Through Strength,' that contributed to one of the greatest accomplishments in history: victory without war over the Soviet Empire. It is time we recognize that our vulnerability, perpetuated by the ABM Treaty, is more likely to provoke aggression than assure peace. The Soviet Union's Iron Curtain crumbled long ago - so too should this treaty." (Time to scrap the obsolete ABM Treaty, Office of Senator Kyl, April 27.)

Democratic Senator Carl Levin, Armed Services Committee: "Attempting to negotiate our way to a new security arrangement based on defence instead of deterrence is in our national security interest. But announcing in advance that we will unilaterally deploy defensive systems regardless of the outcome of these negotiations, and without knowing the circumstances that would exist at the time the system would be ready to deploy, could make reaching this new security arrangement much more difficult." (Office of Senator Levin, May 1.)

Jack Reed, Ranking Democrat, Senate Armed Services Committee Strategic Subcommittee: "[T]his world is interdependent and we cannot act unilaterally without great cost. Our actions have consequences. We must act in a manner which preserves strategic security and improves our security. Improved security, strategic stability, and a recognition of what we are doing, were absent, I think, from the President's speech yesterday." (News Conference with Senators Daschle, Biden, Levin and Reed, Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers transcript, May 2.)

Republican Senator Bob Smith: "I have long advocated a more robust, layered missile defence system; yet, the previous administration chose a ground-based approach as the best near-term [strategy]... We have the technology we need to defend this nation from ballistic missile attack. Now we finally have a Commander-in-Chief with the political will to deploy a robust system to defend us." (Office of Senator Smith, May 1.)

Representative Neil Abercrombie, Ranking Democrat on House Armed Services' Research & Development Subcommittee: "No one is questioning that some form of missile defence is required...[but the President's plan is] more appropriate to DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg than to actual implementation. ... Congress must guard against allowing missile defence systems becoming the policy; allowing the technology, in effect, to develop its own psychology. There is gradually being created in the United States a burgeoning military and corporate apparatus dependent in large measure on missile defence to rationalise its existence." (New era not here yet, say critics, Washington Post, May 2; Missile quotes from Bush, Associated Press, May 2.)

House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt: "I am concerned that the President's approach to strategic nuclear and missile defense policy may have the effect of undermining our nation's security rather than enhancing it. By announcing his intent to move forward with as yet unproven, costly and expansive national missile defense systems, the President is jeopardizing an arms control framework that has served this nation and the world well for decades. Initial reactions from our allies and other nations suggest that this approach is likely to increase threats to the US and decrease global stability, as exhibited by the likely consequences: Russia's preservation and China's construction of large stocks of nuclear weapons to counter US missile defenses; an end to transparency and verification of other nations' nuclear arsenals, which has preserved strategic stability and advanced US interests; and the continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as other nations follow America's lead in taking unilateral steps that may serve their own immediate interests. Furthermore, at a projected cost of more than $100 billion, the missile defenses proposed by the President will sap resources from other vital defense priorities. Unfortunately, the Administration's disregard for reducing and eliminating threats appears to be a recurring - and disturbing - theme of its first 100 days. In its short time in office, this Administration has backed away from negotiations with North Korea on a ballistic missile agreement, and proposed significant cuts in programs to secure and dismantle Russian nuclear weapons. It has sent confused signals about renewed UN weapons inspections in Iraq, and suggested that it may lift sanctions against Iran and Libya, allowing them to generate hard currency to support weapons development and terrorism. A truly comprehensive strategy to address weapons of mass destruction must include identifying the threats, reducing them at their source, preventing them from spreading elsewhere, and improving our defensive capabilities against them. This cannot be done unilaterally - the nature of these threats requires that we cooperate with nations that share our interests and collectively confront those that do not. And while a technologically proven national missile defense system may serve to address one particular manifestation of the threat, a singular focus on this course could very well undermine our ability to develop and fund a multifaceted strategy against weapons of mass destruction." (Office of Representative Richard A. Gephardt, May 1.)

Representative Ike Skelton, Senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee: "I do not oppose missile defence. Neither do many Democrats. But I believe, as with any aspect of national security, that our expenditure should be proportional to the threat posed." (Missile quotes from Bush, Associated press, May 2.)

Republican Representative Bob Stump, Chair, House Armed Services Committee: "The President's statement moves our nation in the right direction by making clear that America, our allies, and our friends, will be defended against ballistic missiles and the weapons of mass destruction they carry." (Bush commits US to missile defense, Associated Press, May 2.)

Democratic Representative John Tierney: "The whole principle of fly before you buy is one we should adhere to. This is placing the political cart before the technical horse." (New era not here yet, say critics, Washington Post, May 2.)

Republican Representative Curt Weldon, House Armed Services Committee: "I call...[our new approach] asymmetric deterrence, and that means that we continue to negotiate with our allies and friends and countries like Russia, and we continue to rely on deterrence as the ultimate threat to an attack on our homeland, but we now begin to allow missile defence system... The fact is that Russia believes in missile defence, as does America. ... When I travel to Moscow and meet with my Russian friends and we talk about missile defence, I candidly ask them, 'if you really believe in deterrence alone, take down your ABM system [around Moscow]. Be as vulnerable as America is, and have no system and rely on deterrence'. They look at me and smile and laugh and say 'you know we will never do that'." (Excerpts - Rep. Weldon outlines rationale for missile defense, US State Department (Washington File), May 4.)

Former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn: "[The] most serious threats right now are not a missile from a Third World country that has a return address. If we end up spending a huge amount of money on defending limited attack from three or four countries in the world - three, four, five missiles - and we don't have money left over to try to get the weapons and materials and know-how [in the former Soviet Union] under control, we could end up in a more dangerous situation in 10 years than we have now." (Former Senator Sam Nunn criticizes Star Wars defense plan, NBC News Transcripts, May 1.)

John Rhinelander, Lawyers Alliance for World Security (LAWS), legal adviser to the US ABM Treaty negotiations: "Contrary to President Bush's assertion that the...[ABM Treaty] is irrelevant, the agreement continues to stabilise the strategic nuclear balance and does not impede research and early development of national missile defence systems planned in the near future... The ABM Treaty remains essential to arms control as well as nuclear non-proliferation because it promotes stability and facilitates offensive nuclear weapons reductions. We must work with Russia, China, and others to accomplish our global security goals and not act unilaterally..." (Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers Press Release, May 1.)

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.