Tags: Bush | Promote | Missile | Defense

Bush to Promote Missile Defense

Monday, 30 April 2001 12:00 AM

"In his remarks tomorrow the president will present this as his view of the best way to preserve the peace in the post-Cold War era, and how to work with our allies and work with other nations in the development of a missile defense system that can not only protect the United States from rogue or accidental missile launch, but protect our allies, as well, and our troops stationed abroad," said White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in an afternoon briefing.

On Monday Bush called leaders of four European nations to consult with allies on his speech at National Defense University. Fleischer said the president had conversations with French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and George Robertson, the secretary general of NATO.

"You've seen our allies listen carefully to the arguments that President Bush is making. And the president has been encouraged by their response and continues to be so," Fleischer said.

Missile defense will be among the issues Bush plans to discuss with foreign leaders during two overseas trips - one to attend the biannual U.S.-European Union summit in Goteborg, Sweden, in June, and to Switzerland in July.

The administration is undertaking a new way of thinking that reflects a threat it says comes from rogue nations or accidental missile launches - very different from the danger in the 1980s when the U.S. wanted protection from the launch of multiple warheads, Fleischer said.

Bush's challenge may be to reconfigure U.S. missile deployment while keeping stable relations with Russia and China.

While Fleischer and other White House officials would not comment on exactly what Bush plans to say, speculation is that the president plans to dismantle the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union, a pact signed by then President Richard Nixon and Soviet dictator Leonid Breznev. Some say the ABM Treaty is already null because the Soviet Union no longer exists.

Under the treaty, the United States and and the Soviet Union agreed to have two restricted ABM deployment areas at least 1,3000 kilometers apart that cannot provide a nationwide ABM defense or become the basis for developing one, leaving each country unchallenged on the penetration ability of the other's missile forces.

Also, it is possible that Bush will address the START II treaty signed in 1997 with the Russian Federation, which calls for nuclear arms reductions and limiting the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, ICBM launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and launchers, heavy bombers and ICBM warheads, all by the end of 2004.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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In his remarks tomorrow the president will present this as his view of the best way to preserve the peace in the post-Cold War era, and how to work with our allies and work with other nations in the development of a missile defense system that can not only protect the...
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2001-00-30
Monday, 30 April 2001 12:00 AM
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