The Phantom Defense: America's Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion
In the past four decades, the United States has spent $85 billion pursuing the fantasy of an effective missile defense system to shield our nation against the threat of a nuclear attack. Recent public tests, while less exotic than some of the original Star Wars proposals, were spectacular failures and call into question the whole program's rationale. Neither the land-based system proposed by the Clinton administration, nor the alternatives proposed by earlier administrations, would ever work--regardless of how much R&D money is channeled into the project. Rather than enhancing national security, these doomed efforts would provoke a new arms race and alienate key allies. The authors apply their extensive insiders' expertise to argue that thoughtful diplomacy is the only real answer to meet America's national security goals.
Like President Reagan with his Star Wars program, President Bush has again made national missile defense (NMD) a national priority at a cost which may exceed $150 billion in the next ten years. Defense experts Eisendrath, Goodman, and Marsh contend that recent tests give little confidence that any of the systems under consideration--land-based, boost-phase, or laser-driven--have any chance of effective deployment within decades. The interests of the military-industrial complex and the unilateralist views of the Bush administration are driving NMD, not a desire to promote national security.
Rather than increase U.S. security, the plans of the current administration, if implemented, will erode it. NMD will heighten the threat from China and Russia, alienate key allies, and provoke a new arms race and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, all in response to a greatly exaggerated threat from so-called rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran. Thoughtful diplomacy, not a misguided foreign policy based on a hopeless dream of a Fortress America, is the real answer to meeting Americas security goals. Designed to stimulate interest and debate among the public and policy-makers, The Phantom Defense provides solid facts and combines scientific, geopolitical, historical, and strategic analysis to critique the delusion of national missile defense, while suggesting a more effective alternative.
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About the Author
CRAIG EISENDRATH is Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy, a foreign policy institute in Washington, D.C., and a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer with expertise in nuclear and outer space issues. His articles and commentary on foreign affairs have appeared recently in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun and other publications. He is the editor of National Insecurity: U.S. Intelligence After the Cold War (2000).
MELVIN A. GOODMAN is Professor of National Security at the National War College and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy. He is also an adjunct professor at American University and Johns Hopkins University. He was a senior Soviet analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department from 1966 to 1986. He has authored three books on Russian foreign policy and is editor of Lessons Learned: The Cold War (2001).
GERALD E. MARSH, a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, was a consultant to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations on strategic nuclear policy and technology for many years. He also served with the U.S. START delegation in Geneva and is on the editorial board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has published widely in the areas of weapons technology and foreign policy.
"Recommended for general readers, upper-division undergraduates and above."-Choice
"Phantom Defense is a concise resume of the many reasons why national defense is a defenseless priority and should remain at a low simmer."-Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
"This volume provides a comprehensive domestic-political, geopolitical, and technological assessment of the merits of National Missile Defense (NMD)."-Political Science Quarterly
"Testing possible NMD systems has already cost the nation billions of dollars; perhaps before we decide to implement this technology, voters and politicians need to consider the questions raised here."-Booklist
"That nationale for mutual "offense-only" deterrence animates a very large literature that dates back to the dawn of the missile age, to which The Phantom Defense is the latest substantial contribution."-American Political Science Review
?Recommended for general readers, upper-division undergraduates and above.?-Choice
?Phantom Defense is a concise resume of the many reasons why national defense is a defenseless priority and should remain at a low simmer.?-Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
?This volume provides a comprehensive domestic-political, geopolitical, and technological assessment of the merits of National Missile Defense (NMD).?-Political Science Quarterly
?Testing possible NMD systems has already cost the nation billions of dollars; perhaps before we decide to implement this technology, voters and politicians need to consider the questions raised here.?-Booklist
?That nationale for mutual "offense-only" deterrence animates a very large literature that dates back to the dawn of the missile age, to which The Phantom Defense is the latest substantial contribution.?-American Political Science Review
?Presents a partisan but powerful case, one that advocates of national missile defense will be called upon to rebut. The outcome of the debate matters, and not only because of the money at stake. If the authors here are correct, deploying even an ineffective missile defense will trigger a renewed arms race and jeopardize rather than enhance U.S. security.?-Publishers Weekly
"An important contribution to the vigorous debate we must engage in if we are to find the right answer to the critical question of national missile defense."-Senator John F. Kerry
"A sober look at dangers that can be created when basic truths of engineering and science are pushed aside by political ideology, opportunism, and simple bad judgment."-Theodore A. Postol Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy Security Studies Program and Program in Science, Technology, and Society Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"A powerful and important book--timely, informed, and addressing a critical and complex policy issue: Would deploying a national missile defense strengthen, or weaken, U.S. security? No reader of this book can fail to conclude it would not enhance our security to pursue the phantom of national missile defense."-Raymond L. Garthoff Ambassador of the United States The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.
"A timely and important study which critiques the Bush administration's case for accelerating the development of a national missile defense (NMD). Its analysis and conclusions are certain to be central to understanding the emerging national security debate on the viability of such a system. In well-crafted chapters, the authors argue that the threat from rogue states is exaggerated, the diplomatic and political fallout underestimated, and the scientific challenges depreciated by groups who stand to benefit from lucrative government contracts. This comprehensive assessment of the NMD issue--informative and insightful--is essential reading for anyone interested in U.S. defense and foreign policy."-Alvin Z. Rubinstein Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania