Today’s newly destabilized world having resurrected the specter of nuclear war, it behooves us to plan for ways to prevent and defend against a ballistic missile attack. Technology is less a bar to such antiwar insurance than are the U.S. government’s illusions and assumptions. Rhetoric aside, U.S. strategic policy is still mired in a 1960s assumption—that the fear of nuclear destruction makes these weapons unusable—and in the illusion that this fear is shared universally.
Remarkable is the extent to which ruling class consensus can blot out common sense.
The headlines tell us that more and better US missile defense devices are being tested and deployed to keep pace with Iran’s and North Korea’s increasing capacity to deliver nuclear-armed ballistic missiles on ourselves and our allies. Secretary of Defense Hagel said that these improvements “make clear to the world that the United States stands firm against aggression.” The underlying reality however is that these devices, intentionally designed to be marginally adequate, are inadequate for their minimal purpose. Much less can they safeguard our lives and interests against serious threats from serious quarters: Russia, China, and whatever hostile forces might come into possession of Pakistan’s arsenal.