Powell and Bush Re-Ignite Star Wars

December 19, 2000

In Colin Powell’s first statement after Bush tapped him for secretary of state, the general left no doubt that the Bush administration will aggressively pursue a "national missile defense" system.

The program is a renamed incarnation of the Regan-era Star Wars program, promoted by hard-liners and hawks as protection against attack by rogue nations, now renamed "unpredictable states." These include North Korea, Iran and Iraq, which missile defense proponents claim are developing the technology to threaten the US.

Critics of the Missile Defense initiative say that system would break the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which has been in effect since 1972. Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien called that treaty a cornerstone of global stability. China is also concerned about the missile defense initiative, warning that it will not "sit on its hands."

Labeled unworkable by an editorial in today’s New York Times, and a threat to existing treaties by many of America’s allies, Star Wars will function to funnel vast funds into America’s arms industries.


  • Bill Hartung, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School University
  • Ambassador Hank Cooper, Chairman of High Frontier, advocacy group for a nation missile defense system, former director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under George Bush and chief negotiator with the USSR under Reagan.