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Bush-Putin Agreement: Don't Pop the Cork on the Champagne Bottle Yet
July 27, 2001
by Richard Prasad

Just recently George W. Bush and Vladamir Putin entered into an agreement to discuss the building of a US space based missile defense system in return for drastic reductions of the US and Russian nuclear stockpiles. In addition, Bush promised a new infusion of economic development in cash starved Russia. So let me get this straight, Russia gets a reduction in nuclear weapons, in which we have a clear advantage, in infusion of dollars, and what we get is the promise of a system called SDI which we don't even know works? I don't suppose we can call a do over on an international agreement can we?

The Strategic Defense Initiative was born as an idea March of 1983, in a speech by Ronald Reagan as a way to defend against cruise missiles. The SDI program took on many iterations, smart pebbles, which would shoot out of satellites, and hone in on missiles in their boost phase. Unfortunately, the smart pebbles were about as smart as Pebbles Flintone, the perpetually cooing child of Fred Flintone, and that was the end of that idea.

The idea was then floated that lasers could be launched from space base satellites, and the lasers would the intercept the missiles before the came down to earth and did their world ending damage. Unfortunately for supporters of SDI, this idea was even less feasible than the smart pebbles idea. Although if we shot at missiles with lasers and missed, the entire country of Iraq or Libya could have free lasic surgery, courtesy of the defense department. No need to thank us, really! Thankfully the laser idea hasn't gotten anywhere off the drawing board, and the most dangerous satellite emission is still the Crocodile Hunter.

There was also one more little thing that sidetracked the progress into the system that would protect the Soviet nuclear menace, the cold war ENDED!!! The conservatives, quick to take credit where little is due them said that the Soviet system collapsed because of the increased military spending of the Reagan and Bush Administrations. What the conservatives fail to mention is that the same Reagan era defense spending sent us headlong into 300 trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye could see. And the Cold war was not won by Reagan alone, but a lot of Democratic Presidents as well, who held the line against Soviet aggression

So in the early 90's, SDI went on the back burner. President Bush, the elder called for a more limited land based interceptor system, and Clinton, though he supported such a system, it was certainly not his top priority. In fact during the Clinton administration, the last test of SDI failed, and he shelved SDI, leaving the decision to the next administration.

The Bush administration abandoned the go slow approach of the Clinton administration and went forward. But it needed an enemy, so it came up with the rogue nation theory and used as examples of these, Libya Iraq and North Korea. They announced that they would go forward with tests and plans to have forward launching stations in Europe, which outraged Europeans, who would have to bear the brunt of this US sponsored idea. The Bush administration has also announced plans for an SDI testing station in Alaska. I guess Bush can forget about locking up the treasured Eskimo vote.

There was much fanfare when the latest test of the missile defense was called a success by the Bush administration. This one success ignores the recent troubled history of the missile defense system. In June of 2000, the Pentagon admitted to 'simplifying the tests' making it easier for the kill vehicle to identify it's target. If SDI can;t pass the tests, make the tests easier. George W. Bush is probably wondering why they couldn't do that at Yale. SDI, at this point in it's development, 18 years after the idea was developed, cannot tell the difference between a legitimate target and a simple balloon decoy. Kids, a little tip for you when you got to the circus, hold on to your helium filled balloons with both hands, lest you start World War III, if you let go.

Also SDI breaks the ABM. No W, that is not the basketball league with the red white and blue basketballs, and Dr J with a big fro. ABM is the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, signed in 1972 by Richard Nixon and Leonid Breznev, severely curtailed the ability of any country to build or deploy an anti ballistic missile system. Building SDI would break the prohibitions set up by that treaty. But George W has no problems breaking treaties unilaterally, look at his fine work in scrapping the Kyoto treaty.

So how did Putin get such a sweet deal out of a lousy missile defense system? Simple, Putin is a hypnotist, and Bush is a simpleton. Bush has promised to give Russia economic incentives to spur the Russian economy. Hey George, haven't fixed the AMERICAN economy yet, first concentrate those mighty brain cells into fixing our sluggish zero percent growth economy, and then go over to Russia and fix theirs. No, on second thought, if supply side economics is your bag, go to Russia and stay there, and watch their economy stagnate and deficits loom.

If Clinton had suggested aid to Russia, the howls would have come thundering down from the conservatives. "He's throwing money down a sinkhole." Jesse Helms would have said, and he would have had a lot of conservatives aping those sentiments. Where is the alleluia chorus now? They are mute, because Bush is a conservative Republican. Putin doesn't have to trade with China anymore, he's got the cash cow US by the short hairs. Watch the watch, Dubya, you're getting sleepy...

Similarly, Bush made concessions on the US nuclear arsenal, agreeing to cut US nuclear weapon in exchange for talks on SDI with Putin. By linking the two, Putin can get what he most wants, parity with the US on nuclear weapons in exchange for what? SDI, which is still in it's testing phase, and has been for 18 years. Even more shocking, Bush had said he would have cut the US nuclear force unilaterally, if he couldn't get agreement from Putin, even Ralph Nader got chills when he heard that! Your eyes are getting heavy, Dubya...

Believe it or not, we have a great nuclear deterrent and we don't even have to build SDI, the deterrent is called Mutually Assured Destruction. Simply put, don't bomb us or we'll bomb you. Conservatives have argued that mutually assured destruction doesn't work when dealing with 'rogue states' like Iraq, Lybia and North Korea. Hogwash!!! If Saddam Hussein wanted to die, he wouldn't have built that bunker during the Gulf War. Libya??? Have we heard anything from him since we bombed his tent? No! North Korea would enter into an agreement not to build nuclear weapons for a few bowls of rice, and I don't mean Condoleeza, they are starving to death!!!

But Dubya's bent on building his new toy, and apparently Cheney's too busy fighting his heart condition to help with these negotiations with Russia, and Powell's too busy preventing a major war in the middle east to help out, but somebody get in that room with Dubya before the Great Vladamir pulls out his pocket watch and puts Georgie under again. And Mr. President, please don't say you looked into Mr. Putin's soul again, that's just weird.

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