President Reagan¹s Strategic Defense Initiative:
In Relation with the Soviet Union
³For the first time humankind has the power to destroy itself.² 1 The nuclear age has changed the world, for the good and the bad. Though the bad, is far greater than the good. We sometimes ponder to our selves, ³what would happen if we were forced in to a nuclear war ware their are now winners.² The way life would be after such an incident would change life as we know it drastically. In the event of a nuclear war with the Soviets we would have lost approximately one hundred and fifty million American lives. 2 The planet would be destroyed to the extent that even thoughts who survived would have no place to live. No Government, or persons, can win a nuclear war and as long as their are nuclear missiles of mass destruction there will always be the risk of someone using them. Once the first missile is unleashed their is no telling were it would stop.
Our dealings with the former Soviet Union was based on the French word, detente, that the Russians had defined as a freedom to purchase subversion, aggression and expansionism any were in the world. 3 The soviets have been, up until 1990, the U.S¹s defacto enemies. There goal was too destroy democracy and imposing communism. 4 This is way it was though to be inevitable for a nuclear war with the soviets. ³The dream of a non nuclear world is a great and notable one, how ever for the foreseeable future it is unattainable in actuality and unwise in theory.² 5 Because of this harsh the United States is left with a problem; How can we beet this so called inevitability? The answer is: space based defense weapons. The program, brought forth by the Reagan administration, was called the strategic defense Initiative, and some called ³Star Wars.² 6 Reagan¹s strategic defense initiative, created in the 80¹s, was an acceptable for the U.S; it worked to convince the Soviets not only to reduce there nuclear arsenal but to halt any chance for a nuclear attack by the Soviets.
³ What is the worth of our society as we know it? Right now we hold an entire population hostage.² 7 Ever since the 1960¹s our main defense against the soviets has been the MAD policy, Mutual Assured Destruction. Both the United States and the Soviet Union had enough nuclear weapons at their disposal so that if one fired at the other the one that was being fired at would fire it¹s missiles at the other too. In other words, they would share the same fate.8
Wherever the President goes he carries a small plastic- coated card, and a military aid is always present. This aid cares a small bag called ³the football,² it contains directions for the launching of all our nuclear weapons. The card carried by the President listed codes confirming that is was indeed him, the choice to launch was entirely his.9 This should not even be necessary. ³Underneath it all, people don¹t think there is any hope to avoid a nuclear war, it has taken away peoples hope.²10 That hope was restored in 1983 when President Reagan announced his commitment to the American people to do what ever it took to make the SDI fly. For a lot of Americans his commitment to this program was an alternative to a nuclear holocaust.11 The SDI is a sidelight system that was to be put in space with large lazier guns attached to it. These lazier would intercept and destroy nuclear missiles when they emerged from their silos. Reagan was willing to share this technology with others willing to reduce their nuclear arsenals. ³One day a madman could come along and make the missiles and black mail all the world. but not if we have a defense a against them.² 12 ³We all got together in 1925 and banned the use of poisons gas. But we all kept our gas masks.² 13 Reagan was instrumentally right with this statement. The SDI gave the United States an opportunity to almost force the world to pay close attention. If the entire world had the SDI it would make nuclear weapons obsolete. So what was once ³unattainable² yesterday might be, in time to come, very attainable.
The SDI would end The arms race. Gorbachev ³had to know that Americans military technology was overwhelmingly superior to his.² 14 ³He also had to Know that we¹(the U.S) Œcould outspend the Soviets on weapons.² 15 In 1983 the U.S spent 34 thousand million on defense technology alone.16 We spent 24 billion dollars, over a seven year period, on the SDI.17 We have 165 U.S satellites in orbit right now, each one coasting in excess of one billion each.18
Our economic system, capitalism, is far more superior to the Soviets system, communism. The proof is that our system our countries system is going strong, theirs collapsed in 1989 with the fall of communism in eastern Europe. This is also prop that we did out spend them.
With the deployment of the SDI the Soviets weapons would be no longer a thereat to the U.S. What leverage they had in the past would die with the SDI. Their only hope to keep some of the power they had would be to agree to massive arms reduction, on both sides. Above all it would bring a lasting peace between our two nations.
The Soviets at first thought our research on the SDI was as an offensive, first strike capability. This was not the case at all. It was a defense weapon only. The SDI was not a bargaining chip, opposed to popular belief. Reagan wrote in his diary in July of 1985, ³Made a decision we would not trade away our program of research SDI for a promise of Soviet reduction in nuclear arms.² 19 While the Soviets were ³whining² about the research we¹d done on the SDI, they had been conducting similar research for more than twenty years.20 Gorbachev was adamant that the U.S must cave in on the SDI. 21 Reagan stated that ³this will be a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.² 22) Gorbachev was not willing to agree to any weapons reductions until we renounced ³the development, Testing and deployment of space-strike weapons,² a reference to SDI.23 Though in late 1988, the U.S and the Soviet Union agreed of a fifty percent reduction in both their arms, while keeping our research on the SDI.
Before Gorbachev, every Soviet leader had vowed to the pursuit of a Marxist commitment and world ruled by the communist system; he was the first not to push Soviet expansionism, the first to agree to destroy nuclear weapons, the first to suggest a free market and to support open election and freedom of expression. 24
³The two of us were in a unique situation. Here we were, I said, two men who had been born in obscure rural hamlets in our respective countries, each of us poor and from humble beginnings. Now we were the leaders of our countries and probably the only two men in the world who could bring about World War III.
At the same time, I said, we were possibly the only two men who might be able to bring peace to the world. I said I thought we owed it to the world to use the opportunity that had been presented us to work at building the kind of human trust and confidence in each other that could lead to genuine peace. Listening to the translation, Gorbachev seemed to nod in agreement.²25
Nuclear weapons serve no purpose in tomorrows world. Once nuclear weapons they power. Today we almost have the technology to destroy them if their was an attempt to use them. Not only that but the world has come together and reduced their nuclear capability's. We know that in nuclear war their are no winners just losers. Reagan¹s Strategic Defense Initiative, created in the 80¹s, was an acceptable risk for the U.S; it worked to convince the Soviets not only to reduce their nuclear arsenal but to halt any chance for a nuclear attack.
Gorbachev wrote President Reagan in late 1988: ³For the first time in history, nuclear missiles have been destroyed. Nuclear disarmament is becoming an established and routine practice.
³In several regions of the world, a process of political settlement of conflicts and national reconciliation has got under way.
³Our relationship is a dynamic stream, and you and I are working together to widen it. A stream cannot be slowed down; it can only be blocked or diverted. But that would not be in our interests. Politics, of course, is the art of the possible. But it is only by working and maintaining a dynamic dialogue that we will put into effect what we have made possible, and will make possible tomorrow what is yet impossible today.²26 EndNotes
1.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+
2. Men of the Year, Time- 1983 Highlights (Time : CD-ROM)
3.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
4.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
5.Hodding, Carter, The Reagan Years (New York: George Braziller 1988)
6.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
7.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+
8.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
9.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
10.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+
11.Kazas, Tom, The World Will Never Be the Same (SIRS 1985) G1+
12.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
13.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
14.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
15.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
16.Scott,William B., Major Cultural Change on Tap in Military Space (CD-
ROM: SIRS 1885)
17.Center for Defense Information, A New Cold War Battleground (CD-ROM: SIRS 1990)
18.Denny, Jeffrey, Star Struck (CD-ROM: SIRS 1991)
19.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
20.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
21.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
22.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
23.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
24.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
25.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
26.Men of the Year, (CD-ROM) Time
³Center for Defense Information.² A New Cold War Battleground: SIRS.
CD-ROM. Jan./Feb. 1990.
³Denny,Jeffrey.² Star Struck: SIRS.
CD-ROM. March/April 1991.
³Kazas,Tom.² The World Will Never Be the Same: SIRS.
CD-ROM. July 7, 1985.
Hodding,Carter. The Reagan Years. New York: George Braziller.
³Defense Budget in 1994.² World Almanac and Book of Facts. 1996 ed.
³Scott,William B.² Major Cultural Change on Tap in Military Space.
CD-ROM. Sep. 18, 1995.
³Men of the Year.² Time- The Weekly Newsmagazine- 1994 Highlights.
CD-ROM. January 2, 1984.
³Men of the Year.² Time- The Weekly Newsmagazine- 1994 Highlights.
CD-ROM. Oct. 1994