Bargaining Chip or Gas Mask? Prospects for Missile Defense

Jul 21, 2009

As the first phase of its new program on U.S. Global Engagement, the Carnegie Council examines the critical and evolving U.S.-Russia relationship. To aid in this exploration, the Council entered into a joint project with the Moscow-based Institute for United States and Canada Studies [ISKRAN], the most established and prestigious of Russia's think tanks devoted to bilateral relations.

The cooperative project comprised a series of papers on three critical topics, in each case with submissions from both Russian and American experts. The topics are: arms control, with a particular focus on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, with related missile defense questions; Afghanistan and the future of the NATO alliance; and security, military, and energy issues in the Arctic region.

We now present the first set of papers, those on arms control. The papers speak for themselves, but three general observations may be made: First, arms control and treaties governing both offensive and defensive military capabilities remain absolutely central to U.S.-Russia relations; second, much as the Obama administration may wish to do so, it is not realistic to expect that Russia will agree to "decouple" discussion of the different components of the arms control agenda; and third, the paper writers in general exhibit a healthy skepticism to temper long-range expectations following the recent meetings of the two presidents in Moscow—while offering suggestions for a way ahead to benefit both the United States and Russia.

—David Speedie, Director, U.S. Global Engagement Program

The other three papers in this first set are:

The symbolic age of American invulnerability came to an abrupt end in August 1949 when the Soviet Union announced that it had successfully tested the atomic bomb. For the first time in its history, the continental United States was subject to unpreventable destruction at the hands of a foreign power. Once both countries tested powerful hydrogen bombs in the early 1950s, the nature of the nuclear balance of terror became crystal clear: each nation possessed unstoppable weapons that could inflict incalculable damage and kill millions of people. This terror was accentuated by the advent of long-range missiles that could reach targets in fewer than 60 minutes. Such vulnerability did not sit well with American or Soviet leaders, so both sides accelerated efforts to defend against nuclear attack, primarily through anti-ballistic missile ("ABM" or "missile defense") systems that might destroy incoming missiles before they delivered their devastating payloads. From these simple roots, missile defense quickly grew into one of the most controversial national security issues of the Cold War—and beyond.

What is most remarkable about debate over missile defense today is how similar it is to years past. People, places, and technologies may change, but basic dynamics remain the same. In the context of U.S.-Russian relations, missile defense continues to generate heated rhetoric and military threats. In the American political sphere, Democrats and Republicans continue to disagree. Most Democrats regard national missile defense as technologically infeasible and excessively expensive. Most Republicans, on the other hand, hold Ronald Reagan's belief that vulnerability to nuclear attack is philosophically illegitimate and missile defense is therefore a moral imperative. The parties may agree on the desirability of theater missile defenses to defend against rogue state attacks, but even such narrow agreements are debated vigorously.

Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitriy Medvedev inherited a strained bilateral relationship from their predecessors. The proposed U.S. missile defense installation in Europe is a major reason why. Hated by Russia, it threatens to impede cooperation on a host of critical issues such as negotiations over a successor agreement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires at the end of 2009.

To chart a course forward for Washington and Moscow, it first helps to turn an eye to the past. This paper will review the history of missile defense since World War II in search of insights that can be applied to the current situation. As will be discussed at the end, Obama retains two viable options for missile defense in Europe: "The Bargaining Chip" or "The Gas Mask."

Arms Control and Missile Defense: Fit To Be Tied?Efforts to defend against The Bomb began during World War II and accelerated in the early years of the Cold War. The Kremlin started an ABM research program to protect against incoming American missiles in 1953. The United States initially emphasized strategic air defenses that could stop Soviet bombers, but focus shifted to missile defense programs later in the 1950s as the Soviets progressed steadily on missile technology and eventually launched Sputnik into orbit. A succession of American research and development programs ensued, including Nike-Zeus, Project Defender, and Nike-X.1

Despite these initial endeavors, neither Soviet nor American ABM programs progressed far enough to protect either side against a nuclear strike. Absent credible defenses, both countries increased the sizes of their nuclear arsenals.2 Though some analysts believed nuclear war might be winnable or at least survivable, the concepts of deterrence and mutually assured destruction by the 1960s had become the U.S. government's preferred nuclear strategies, research on missile defense (and criticism from defense hawks such as Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson) notwithstanding.3

In 1966, the United States announced that the Soviet Union had installed a short-range ABM system around Moscow comprised of 64 launchers with Galosh nuclear-tipped interceptors (the system still exists today). President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara believed that deploying the system would trigger an arms race because each country would build more offensive missiles, which were cheaper than ABM systems, to overcome the other side's defenses. Indeed, this was exactly what happened: in response to the Soviet deployment, the United States increased deployment of U.S. strategic warheads and moved to develop penetration aids and multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).4

At a 1967 summit in Glassboro, New Jersey, McNamara tried to persuade Soviet Premier Alexsey Kosygin to agree to limits on both offensive and defensive strategic systems. Kosygin's views by this time, however, were already formed. "A defensive system which prevents attack is not a cause of the arms race…perhaps an [ABM] system is more expensive than an offensive system, but its purpose is not to kill people, but to save human lives," he had said earlier in the year.5 In response to McNamara's overtures, Kosygin replied quite simply that he found them "immoral."6 The morality and necessity of defense are regularly invoked today by missile defense advocates.

Rejected by Kosygin and faced with military officials and congressional Republicans eager for ABM deployment, Johnson instructed McNamara to proceed with a U.S. missile defense site meant to appease domestic constituencies without provoking the Soviets.7 Announced in September 1967, the new program, known as Sentinel, was based on the Nike-X project of previous years. The Johnson administration argued that it would protect American urban and industrial areas against the threat from China, which had just successfully tested its first thermonuclear device. Since China had not yet tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), however, the stated threat was underdeveloped.8 Johnson's rationalization—protection against Communist China, a nation with rudimentary nuclear capabilities—was the precursor to the modern argument that U.S. national missile defenses must be built to protect against technologically underequipped states such as Iran and North Korea.9 Some Democrats' willingness to accede to crusades for missile defense, if only to reduce vulnerability to Republican political attacks, was another modern dynamic that emerged in the Sentinel deployment.

Upon taking office, President Richard Nixon attempted to move forward with missile defense. His renamed system, now known as Safeguard, would not shield American cities against Chinese missiles (the objective under Sentinel) but instead would shield ICBM fields from Soviet counterforce strikes. Nixon's proposal met resistance in Congress and a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Spiro Agnew ultimately was required to propel it through the Senate in 1969. The United States chose to deploy the Safeguard system at the Minuteman ICBM range near Grand Forks, North Dakota. After becoming operational in October 1975, the Grand Forks installation was shuttered by Congress just four months later because it was seen as too expensive, too vulnerable to attack, and too technically unsound.10

In recognition that the Soviet nuclear arsenal had become more menacing and that the United States needed to transition from strategic superiority to strategic parity, the Nixon administration entered the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Signed by Nixon and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1972, SALT included the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. After the updated 1974 Protocol, the ABM Treaty limited each side to only one missile defense site comprised of no more than 100 ABM launchers and 100 interceptor missiles. The Treaty banned development, testing, and deployment of any sea-based, air-based, space-based, or mobile land-based missile defense systems. Research was permitted, as was development of theater-based defenses against shorter-range missiles.11

Capitalizing on Soviet fear of American technological prowess, Nixon employed missile defense as a bargaining chip in order to extract key concessions during SALT, including the all-important limit on offensive forces.12 Presented with a similar opportunity, a later Republican president would choose a different path at Reykjavik.

The Soviet Union opted to retain the Moscow missile defense site under the limitations of the ABM Treaty, though its faith in missile defense had waned by this time and work on the site had slowed considerably.13 Thus, in conjunction with the U.S. decision to close down Safeguard, neither country exhibited much belief once the ABM Treaty was in place that missile defenses were capable of protecting against offensive strategic weapons. The Soviet Union spent much of the ensuing decade working to improve the qualitative aspects of its weapons through the use of MIRV technology (critics of the ABM Treaty cited this as proof that the agreement was useless). U.S. research and development on missile defense throughout the 1970s simmered at lower budget levels and remained a lesser priority for defense planners.14

Things would change dramatically in March 1983 when President Ronald Reagan, an ardent supporter of missile defense, unveiled the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).15 Quickly dubbed "Star Wars" by its detractors in homage to the popular movie, Reagan's plan was to make nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete" through a global defensive shield comprised of land-, sea-, air-, and space-based interceptors that might destroy incoming missiles during every stage of flight. The Reagan administration embarked upon a multi-year effort to convince both Congress and the Soviet Union that SDI was permissible under a broad interpretation of the ABM Treaty. Not surprisingly, such a marked shift engendered vicious domestic polemics between critics and supporters. The Soviet Union harshly criticized Reagan's scheme. Four days after the Star Wars speech, Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov asserted that because "the strategic offensive forces of the United States will continue to be developed" at the same time as SDI, the result would be to render Moscow "incapable of dealing a retaliatory strike."16

Reagan's missile defense ambitions jeapordized U.S.-Russian arms control talks during the 1980s. At no time was this more the case than during the Reykjavik summit of 1986. In Iceland, Gorbachev formally presented his audacious plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons by the year 2000. Though feared as little more than a propaganda coup, the proposal appealed to Reagan's disarmament instincts. Reagan tried to convince Gorbachev that missile defense, if shared by the superpowers, might be part of a disarmament strategy. ABM systems would function, in Reagan's favorite simile, as a "gas mask" that could protect the United States and the Soviet Union from madmen armed with nuclear devices.17

As the two sides inched agonizingly close to an agreement, SDI emerged as the main impediment. Gorbachev was prepared to sign a treaty that vastly reduced nuclear stockpiles as long as the United States agreed to remain a signatory to the ABM Treaty for ten years and confine all SDI tests to the laboratory. "If you agree to restrict your research to the laboratory, without going into space, in two minutes I'll be ready to sign the treaty," he said.18 Sadly, Reagan believed that restricting SDI to the "laboratory" effectively would kill it. He begged Gorbachev to grant an exception. "Are you really," Reagan asked, "for the sake of one word, going to reject the historic possibility of an accord?" Gorbachev replied: "It's not just a question of a word, but a question of principle."19 With that, SDI derailed the greatest opportunity since Hiroshima to eliminate nuclear weapons. Reagan refused to use missile defense as a bargaining chip. It was a decision that would haunt his advisers for years and encourage some of them, most notably Secretary of State George Shultz, to launch a worldwide campaign 20 years later to work—in the spirit of Reykjavik—toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

Throughout the 1990s, partisan rancor continued to characterize missile defense debates in the United States. In the wake of the Soviet Union's demise, President George H.W. Bush downsized SDI into a program called Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS). Comprised of 1,000 land-based interceptors (and potentially up to 1,000 space-based interceptors), GPALS was intended to protect against accidental or unauthorized missile launches as well as rogue state attacks. The first Bush administration also became intensely interested in theater missile defenses that might defend against short-range missiles after Iraq used Scud Bs to attack American forces during the Persian Gulf War.20

President Bill Clinton halted GPALS upon taking office but retained an interest in limited theater defenses. This approach was not acceptable to many congressional Republicans who cherished the national missile defense legacy of Reagan's SDI. In their minds, SDI bankrupted the Soviets and left them "so frightened and demoralized…by Reagan's vow to turn American technology against them that they had simply thrown in the towel," Strobe Talbott later wrote.21 After the Rumsfeld Commission concluded in 1998 that rogue state missiles armed with biological- or nuclear-tipped warheads might threaten the United States within five years, Congress responded with a resolution in 1999 making it U.S. policy to deploy national missile defense as soon as technologically possible. Never enthusiastic about national missile defense, Clinton announced in September 2000 that he would not authorize it because he lacked "enough confidence in the technology, and the operational effectiveness of the entire [national missile defense] system, to move forward to deployment."22

President George W. Bush was beset by no such doubts when he stepped into the Oval Office in 2001. Given a wide mandate on national security affairs in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Bush announced in December 2001 that the United Stated would withdraw from the ABM Treaty, a move he had pledged during his campaign. Moscow's reaction was surprisingly understated. "We are not surprised by this decision which we nevertheless consider to be a mistake," Putin said.23 Such stoicism hardly disguised the fact that the ABM Treaty's revocation, along with ongoing NATO expansion, conveyed little respect for Russian power and likely wounded Putin's pride.24 With the ABM Treaty out of the way, the Bush administration launched a missile defense buildup, ostensibly designed to stop Iran and North Korea, which would have made Reagan proud. During his two terms, Bush expanded the missile defense bureaucracy; exempted missile defense from normal testing and evaluation requirements; doubled annual funding from $5 billion to $10 billion; and deployed over 25 ground-based midcourse interceptors in Alaska and California.25

By far the most controversial step taken by Bush on missile defense was his proposal to construct an American missile defense system in Europe. Meant to defend American forces in Europe, regional allies, and the U.S. homeland from an Iranian missile attack, the proposed European "third site" would consist initially of ten interceptors in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic, and another radar deployed somewhere closer to Iran.26

Critics in the United States raised doubts about whether the system was technologically feasible or cost effective—objections similar to those heard in earlier missile defense debates.27 Russia, too, trotted out well-worn rhetoric to denounce the initiative. Putin said it would lead to "an inevitable arms race" and later compared it to Soviet action during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.28 Kremlin officials claimed that the missile defense system, U.S. assurances aside, was designed to counter Russian forces. Moscow threatened to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and warned Poland and the Czech Republic that they risked becoming targets. Moving from rhetoric to retaliation, Putin formally suspended Russian compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty in July 2007.

Past Is Prologue: Prospects for Missile DefenseMedvedev announced the day after Obama was elected that Russia would deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the United States went forward with missile defense in Europe. The threat, which Russia said would not be carried out if the plan was scrapped, conveyed the seriousness with which Moscow objects to missile defense in its historical sphere of influence.

How much credence should the United States give to such objections? Responses by Bush administration officials often dripped with condescension. "Anybody who can do the math would know that ten interceptors in Poland [are] not going to do anything to a Russian deterrent that has thousands of warheads," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once remarked.29 While Rice was technically correct, she ignored legitimate Russian concerns. For instance, experts have concluded that while missile defense interceptors based in Europe might be aimed at Iran, they would still be capable of engaging Russian ICBMs launched against the United States from Russian missile sites west of the Urals.30 From this perspective, missile defense in Europe becomes a slippery slope. The slated deployment might only be for ten interceptors, but Moscow logically assumes that more will be added after the infrastructure is in place. The United States exhibited similar fears about a slippery slope when the Soviet Union deployed its ABM system around Moscow in the 1960s.31

The strength of Moscow's response and its continued military threats make clear that Russia perceives the third site to be a threat to its interests. The Bush administration's habit of passing judgment on the legitimacy of Russian concerns accomplished nothing. Besides, telling others how they should feel is inappropriate not only in personal relations, but also in international relations. The new Obama administration appears to be striving to recognize, both publicly and privately, Moscow's objections and the larger forces at work.

Russia is in the midst of a rebirth that has seen it shake off the reticence of the 1990s. Characterized by increased international assertiveness, Russia today cannot be strong-armed the way it was in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War. It has relapsed into some undesirable autocratic tendencies under the rule of Putin and Medvedev. Yet Russia remains willing to negotiate and cooperate where its interests align with those of the United States.

Given the ferocity of its opposition, Russia cannot be expected to accept the European missile defense system under the terms proposed by the Bush administration. A different solution therefore is required. Taking into consideration the history of missile defense and its effect on U.S.-Russian relations, the Obama administration may select from two primary options: "The Bargaining Chip" or "The Gas Mask." Alternative options likely exist, but these two appear to be the most viable.32

The Bargaining ChipNixon used the bargaining chip strategy successfully during SALT negotiations. Reagan did not follow suit at Reykjavik, and though he still signed landmark arms control agreements with Gorbachev, his unwillingness to trade away SDI cost him a chance to fulfill his desire to abolish nuclear weapons. Obama, who has made Reagan's disarmament vision the centerpiece of his nuclear weapons policy, should not repeat Reagan's mistake.

Under the bargaining chip strategy, the United States would scrap the European missile defense plan in exchange for Russian compromises on other issues of importance. Three arenas where Russian concessions would be helpful to the United States are the START successor agreement, Moscow's assistance with Iran's nuclear program, and Russian support for increased international pressure on North Korea. Besides negotiated compromises, advantages to the bargaining chip strategy might include:

  • 1. Eliminate missile defense as a major irritant in U.S.-Russian relations, which might clear the way for dialogue and possible cooperation on trade, human rights, energy, arms control, Iran, nonproliferation, and terrorism;

    2. Keep the focus on nuclear weapons reductions, not missile defense; and

    3. Save $4 billion, the minimum cost of the third site.

On the other hand, disadvantages might include:

1. Appear to reward Russia for bad behavior (i.e. military threats), which might embolden Moscow to continue the use of such tactics;

2. Leave Democrats vulnerable to political attacks from Republicans alleging that the closure of the third site endangers American interests and those of its allies (i.e. Israel); and

3. Fail to install a defense that might one day protect against an Iranian missile attack.

The Gas Mask Under the gas mask strategy, the United States would move forward with European missile defense as a joint project with Moscow. The third site would thus become at least a bipartite effort between the United States and Russia, with Czech and/or Polish involvement dependent on both their willingness to participate and Russia's willingness to involve them. Russia has expressed openness to such a proposal; at a July 2007 summit in Kennebunkport, Maine, Putin offered the possible use of radars based in Russia.34

Originally articulated by Reagan, the gas mask strategy utilizes missile defense as the first step toward the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons within a framework where defensive systems (along with conventional deterrence) might act as a gas mask protecting mankind from nuclear madmen and rogue state attacks. Obama might thus revise Reagan's vision for SDI by making missile defense a partnership not just at the end when the technology was ready, but throughout development, testing, and deployment.

There are serious doubts about whether missile defense in Europe will ever work. The primary value of the gas mask strategy, however, is not technological. It is political. The gas mask strategy allows the United States and Russia to work collaboratively on an issue that historically has triggered nothing but fear and recriminations. Missile defense in Europe may never succeed technologically, but the gas mask strategy endeavors to make the pursuit a boon to U.S.-Russian relations regardless of its ultimate technical efficacy. Like the bargaining chip strategy, the gas mask strategy has pluses and minuses. Positives might include:

  • 1. Build U.S.-Russian trust in a realm where mistrust has been the historical norm;

    2. Develop technology that one day might reduce the threat of missile attacks from rogue states; and

    3. Show the American public that Democrats are willing to drive a hard bargain on national security and can keep the United States safe.

In contrast, negatives might include:

  • 1. Antagonize Tehran by building a permanent military installation aimed at Iran, which might lead it to further withdraw from the international community, accelerate its nuclear program, and/or attack U.S. forces or allies in the region (whether directly or through proxies like Hezbollah);

    2. Grant a false sense of security by installing a missile defense system that has never been demonstrated to work in real-life combat situations; and

    3. Waste taxpayer dollars if the system cannot be made technologically feasible.

ConclusionReasonable people will disagree about whether the bargaining chip or the gas mask strategy offers the better way forward for U.S. missile defense in Europe. The bargaining chip relies on the lessons of the Cold War to suggest that missile defense's greatest value is as a political asset to be traded away. Nixonian realism pervades this strategy, as does an enduring belief in deterrence and Bernard Brodie's famous prognosis that "No adequate defense against the bomb exists, and the possibilities of its existence in the future are exceedingly remote."35 As for the gas mask, it attempts to transform the Cold War dynamic still evident today whereby missile defense triggers caustic military threats and sharp disagreement between Moscow and Washington. By making missile defense a joint, cooperative, transparent project undertaken by the nuclear superpowers, the gas mask strategy seeks to implement Reagan's insight that disarmament and missile defense need not be contradictory.

The forthcoming decision on Europe comes in the context of an Obama administration that has exhibited skepticism toward missile defense. In its first defense budget, the administration proposed the cancellation of several high-priced and unproven national missile defense programs. Though some missile defense proponents greeted these changes with howls of protest, the Obama administration also proposed additional funding for theater-based programs that might protect U.S. forces and allies from ballistic missile attack. In explaining the decisions, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, "The security of the American people and the efficacy of missile defense are not enhanced by continuing to put money into programs that…in terms of their operational concept are fatally flawed, or research programs that are essentially sinkholes for taxpayer dollars."36 This pragmatic approach is a marked change from a Bush administration that often let ideology dictate policy on missile defense decisions.

While many Americas today are sanguine about change, missile defense over the years has exhibited a remarkable resistance to any form of evolution. The debates have been repetitive and unending. Hopefully, the basic dynamics—Democrat vs. Republican, Moscow vs. Washington, offense vs. defense—can be altered in a meaningful way. Such a transformation is possible and the Obama administration so far is off to a good start.


1 For an overview of missile defense's early post-World War II history, see James Walker, Lewis Bernstein, and Sharon Lang, Seize the High Ground: The Army in Space and Missile Defense, Huntsville, AL: U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command Historical Office, 2003, pp. 16-31,; and John Pike, Bruce Blair, and Stephen Schwartz, "Defending Against the Bomb," in Atomic Audit, Schwartz ed., Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 1998, pp. 270-86.
2 The United States increased its stockpile from 3,057 warheads in 1955 to 31,982 warheads in 1965. The Soviet stockpile grew from 200 to 6,129 warheads during the same period. See Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, "Global Nuclear Stockpiles, 1945-2006," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, July-August 2006, p. 66.
3 The debates of the period are nicely captured in Russell Weigley, The American Way of War, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1973, pp. 399-440. For an example of an "assured destruction" dissenter who thought both defense and deterrence were necessary, see D.G. Brennan, "The Case of Missile Defense," Foreign Affairs, April 1969.
4 See Norris, Kristensen, and Matthew McKinzie, "The Protection Paradox," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March-April 2004, pp. 68-77; George Lewis and Theodore Postol, "Portrait of a Bad Idea," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July-August 1997, pp. 18-19; and James Schlesinger, "Rhetoric and Realities in the Star Wars Debate," International Security, Summer 1985, pp. 3, 7.
5 Quoted in Raymond Garthoff, "BMD and East-West Relations," in Ballistic Missile Defense, Ashton Carter and David Schwartz eds., Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 1984, p. 295.
6 David Humphrey and Charles Sampson eds., "The Glassboro Summit, June 1967," Foreign Relations of the United States 1964-1968: Volume XIV, Soviet Union, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2001,
7 Daniel Papp, "From Project Thumper to SDI: The Role of Ballistic Missile Defense in U.S. Security Policy," Aerospace Power Journal, Winter 1987-88,
8 William Burrows, "Ballistic Missile Defense: The Illusion of Security," Foreign Affairs, Spring 1984, p. 846.
9 For this argument, see Charles Costanzo, "Shades of Sentinel? National Missile Defense, Then and Now," Aerospace Power Journal, Fall 2001.
10 Steven Hildreth, Ballistic Missile Defense: Historical Overview, Washington: Congressional Research Service, 2008, p. 2,,_January_28,_2008.
11 Ibid.
12 The interpretation of Nixon's actions during SALT follows John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, New York: Oxford University Press, 1982, pp. 324-29. Corroborating assessments include Burrows, op. cit., p. 846; and Schlesinger, op. cit., p. 12.
13 Sidney Drell, Philip Farley, and David Holloway, "Preserving the ABM Treaty," International Security, Fall 1984, pp. 59-60.
14 The Carter administration did increase spending on missile defense programs that might offer protection for the MX missile. See Hildreth, op. cit., p. 3.
15 Reagan's evolving support for missile defense is well-chronicled in Frances Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars, and the End of the Cold War, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.
16 Quoted in David Rivkin, "What Does Moscow Think?" Foreign Policy, Summer 1985, pp. 96. Though the Soviet Union may have perceived SDI as a military threat, they were equally (if not more) concerned with the economic and political costs. See Benjamin Lambeth and Kevin Lewis, "The Kremlin and SDI," Foreign Affairs, Spring 1988, pp. 757-60.
17 Richard Rhodes, Arsenals of Folly, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, p. 247.
18 Ibid., p. 266.
19 Ibid., p. 267.
20 See Hildreth, op. cit., p. 4; and Michael Nacht, "The Politics: How Did We Get Here?" Washington Quarterly, Summer 2000, pp. 89-90.
21 Strobe Talbott, The Russia Hand, New York: Random House, 2002, p. 374.
22 Quoted in Hildreth, op. cit., p. 5.
23 Agence France Press, "U.S. Withdrawal from ABM Treaty Gets Mixed Reaction," December 14, 2001. A stronger objection was voiced beforehand in Igor Ivanov, "The Missile Defense Mistake," Foreign Affairs, September-October 2000.
24 See Dmitri Simes, "Losing Russia," Foreign Affairs, November-December 2007.
25 Budget figures are from Dana Hedgpeth, "Contractors Defend Their Programs as Pentagon Cuts Loom," Washington Post, March 25, 2009,
26 The European installation would be the "third site" because the first two are already deployed in Alaska and California. For an overview, see Hildreth and Carl Ek, Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe, Washington: Congressional Research Service, 2009,
27 See, for example, Lewis and Postol, "The European Missile Defense Folly," Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, May-June 2008; and Philip Coyle and Victoria Samson, "Missile Defense Malfunction: Why the Proposed U.S. Missile Defenses in Europe Will Not Work," Ethics & International Affairs, Spring 2008,
28 United Press International, "Putin Reclaims Russian Clout," February 13, 2007.
29 John Kruzel, "Missile Defense Agreement Unrelated to Russia, Rice Says," American Forces Press Service, August 21, 2008,
30 Lewis and Postol, "European Missile Defense: The Technological Basis of Russian Concerns," Arms Control Today, October 2007, For a broader look at Russian concerns about national missile defense, see Charles Glaser and Steve Fetter, "National Missile Defense and the Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy," International Security, Summer 2001, pp. 73-81.
31 Supra note 4.
32 The implementation of either option is contingent upon agreements first being signed with Poland and the Czech Republic.
33 Cost estimate from Hildreth and Ek, op. cit., p. 1.
34 Some technical experts believe the Russian radars would actually make the system more effective than the Bush administration's plan. See Coyle and Samson, op. cit., pp. 13-15; and Lewis and Postol, "European Missile Defense: The Technological Basis of Russian Concerns."
35 Quoted in Michael Krepon, "Are Missile Defenses MAD?" Foreign Affairs, January/February 1995, p. 19.
36 Robert Gates, testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, May 13, 2009.

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