A Missile Shield for Europe and North America
Despite years of diplomacy, rogue nations like Iran and North Korea continue to pursue intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Fortunately, the Bush Administration, and some in Congress, has kept up the fight for a missile defense system to protect North America and Europe from the threat of nuclear attack. Using a series of sea and land-based radars and missile interceptors, the United States has a fledgling capability to defend North America from the nuclear arsenal North Korea is developing.
Unfortunately, this West Coast-based missile defense system does not protect the U.S. or our allies from an Iranian ICBM threat. At a recent NATO summit, President Bush and our partners agreed to a Ballistic Missile Defense System in Europe. The system would include radars based in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors deployed in Poland with a mobile radar station located closer to the Middle East.
While Iran may not currently have the ability to reach the U.S. with a ballistic missile, Iran can reach parts of Europe. Waiting until Iran has the capability to reach any peaceful, democratic nation would simply be foolish. And by basing the radars and the interceptor missiles in Central Europe, the U.S. can bring Europe under the protective umbrella of missile defense and reduce the threat a rogue regime like Iran poses to Europe.
If the world is ever to move beyond the Cold War deterrence of "Mutually Assured Destruction," the United States and our allies will need to possess a robust ballistic missile defense. I am encouraged by some of our newest NATO allies' efforts to help support this shield of democracy, and I look forward to building closer ties to increase our collective security.
As President Ronald Reagan proved with his Strategic Defense Initiative, the development of a missile defense system can deter a hostile nation from pursuing further nuclear missile capabilities and would allow the U.S. to consolidate our own nuclear arsenal. Rest assured, I will continue to work with President Bush and our NATO allies to ensure the deployment of a robust ballistic missile defense system.