Monday, June 1, 2009


In his latest column (“No time to cut missile defense,” Nation, Thursday), William S. Cohen uses North Korea’s recent test of a nuclear device to criticize the Obama administration’s reductions in overall spending for missile defense, even though the revised defense budget request for fiscal 2010 would augment the terminal-phase missile defenses most relevant to the threat posed by North Korea. Mr. Cohen bases his argument on the belief that a clear U.S. commitment to missile defense “would dissuade rogue regimes from investing in ballistic missiles in the first place - because they would know that America and our allies are building and deploying the means to neutralize this threat.”

If this were not simple fantasy, the eight years of massive and unwavering support for missile defense by the previous administration surely already would have dissuaded Pyongyang and Tehran from their aggressive development and deployment of ballistic missiles. It has not.


Senior fellow

Arms Control Association


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