- - Thursday, April 24, 2014

President Reagan showed more than political courage in initiating the missile-defense program called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). (“Reagan’s political courage on nuclear arms,” Web, April 22). He changed the whole spectrum of East-West relations by calling for a non-nuclear defense.

In the 1970s, America and the Soviets had deployed missile defenses based on nuclear-tipped interceptors to destroy incoming missiles. America recognized the limitations of such systems and removed the safeguard system from service, but the Soviets retained theirs, and Russia still operates such a system deployed around Moscow.

By calling for a non-nuclear defense, Reagan challenged the scientific community to produce a system that could enjoy far greater public support, and the program he initiated led to further development of hit-to-kill technology that is the basis of the now-deployed American systems.

One correction that should be made to the otherwise excellent piece by Robert McFarlane is that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was the only allied leader to recognize the originality of the SDI proposal. She was alone in the British Cabinet in supporting the concept and indeed insisted on Britain being the first nation to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate with America on the program.


STANLEY ORMAN

Rockville

MAJ. GEN. EUGENE FOX

U.S. Army (retired)

Plano, Texas