Twenty-one years ago today, Ronald Reagan delivered a famous speech announcing his Strategic Defense Initiative. Opposed to the academic theory of "mutually assured destruction," or MAD, Reagan believed it immoral to keep Americans vulnerable when they could be made safe from devastating missile attacks. He called upon scientists to overcome the madness of MAD—to devise the technological means to shield Americans from incoming missiles—preferring to prevent nuclear attack rather than retaliate to one. No American president should have as his only option the attack of another country and the assured destruction of his own.
Today America remains vulnerable to ballistic missile attack. Much work must be done if Reagan's noble proposal is to be fulfilled. To remind our fellow citizens of the threat and to assist in advancing that important work, the Claremont Institute is proud to announce a significant revision of our website, Missilethreat.com. Originally launched in 2000, the new version amasses a quantity of news, scholarly commentary, and resources second to none. We offer it to the American people with the hope that by informing the public mind, real steps toward deploying an effective and comprehensive ballistic missile defense system can be achieved.
The website covers two broad areas: the problem of missile proliferation, and its solution, missile defense.
- The missile proliferation section describes the missile capabilities and threat posed by various countries, and provides details of all the ballistic missiles of the world. The popular animated scenarios have been expanded, showing what a number of different ballistic missile attacks, and interceptions, would look like. North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and others are among those with which we should be concerned, but especial attention is given to the most dangerous sources of missile proliferation, Russia and China.
- In the missile defense section, you will find an overview with frequently asked questions, a step-by-step explanation of how missile defenses work, and descriptions of various missile defense systems around the world—both prospective American systems and those already deployed by Russia and Israel.
- The site features regularly updated coverage of the most important stories of the day relevant to missile defense, accompanied by scholarly analyses. When proliferation and missile defense stories make the news, they will be discussed on missilethreat.com. There is also a News Archive of past stories, easily sorted by date or topic.
- An exhaustive Library of Resources is available, as well as writings and other reports that describe the need for missile defense and problems which have hitherto hamstrung our ability to build an effective missile defense system.
2004 is an important year for missile defense. The Bush administration has pledged to deploy ground-based interceptors in Alaska by September 30, if not before. Such deployments will be limited, but represent a courageous and important first step toward comprehensive and layered systems capable of defending America against missile threats from any quarter. It is part of our mission at the Claremont Institute to see that progress continues to be made toward this goal.
Ronald Reagan never lost sight of the simple fact that the United States has enemies, and he insisted that there is no higher duty of the federal government than to protect American citizens from the harm those enemies would inflict upon us. The deadly attacks on American soil in September 2001 demonstrate that Reagan was correct. And while those who hijacked our airplanes now run scared in the hills of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, others are busy building missiles, with which they might shower on American soil weapons of mass destruction. As freedom loving patriots, let us resolve that they shall never have that opportunity.