Year: 2001

The Phantom Defense: America’s Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion

Praeger Press 2001

A Project of the Center for International Policy

Coauthors: Craig Eisendrath and Melvin A. Goodman

Like President Reagan with his “Star Wars” program, President Bush has again made national missile defense (NMD) a national priority at a cost which may exceed $150 billion in the next ten years. Defense experts Eisendrath, Goodman, and Marsh contend that recent tests give little confidence that any of the systems under consideration—land-based, boost-phase, or laser-driven—have any chance of effective deployment within decades. The interests of the military-industrial complex and the unilateralist views of the Bush administration are driving NMD, not a desire to promote national security.

Rather than increase U.S. security, the plans of the current administration, if implemented, will erode it. NMD will heighten the threat from China and Russia, alienate key allies, and provoke a new arms race and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, all in response to a greatly exaggerated threat from so-called “rogue states,” such as North Korea and Iran. Thoughtful diplomacy, not a misguided foreign policy based on a hopeless dream of a “Fortress America,” is the real answer to meeting America’s security goals. Designed to stimulate interest and debate among the public and policy-makers, the Phantom Defense provides solid facts and combines scientific, geopolitical, historical, and strategic analysis to critique the delusion of national missile defense, while suggesting a more effective alternative.

(Phantom Defense at Amazon)

Erratum: p. 86, 2nd full paragraph: The first sentence should read: “Even with nuclear-tipped interceptors it was clear, as early as the 1960s, that, in the words of John S. Foster, Jr. of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the system would . . . limited time available for intercept.”

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