Reagan's "Star Wars" Program Now Part of Bush Legacy
In 1984, when President Ronald Reagan rolled out his vision for a missile defense shield that would protect the United States from a nuclear attack he was lambasted and laughed at by Leftists who mockingly referred to the program as “Star Wars.” Today, no one is laughing and I am sure Luke Skywalker, Obion Kenobi, and even R2D2 would be proud to have the name “Star Wars” associated with America’s national defense shield. It is a shield that has proven in test after test to be 100% effective in protecting Americans from rouge nations with nuclear ambitions. Just last month, the same technology that provides the U.S. with a blanket of security from our enemies delivered us from the threat of one of our own ailing satellites. The missile that intercepted that satellite was fired from a ship floating in the Pacific Ocean. Try to imagine the technology necessary to strike with pinpoint accuracy an object hurling through space at over 24,000 miles per second with a missile fired from a moving platform. What President Reagan saw through eyes of faith at some future point in time President Bush saw through eyes of fact in the here and now.
The rousing success of the Strategic Defense Initiative or “SDI” program is one of the bright spots in what many see as the murky presidency of George W. Bush. During the Clinton Administration SDI was placed so far back on the back burner that virtually no progress was made for over eight years. The chief argument put forth by the Clinton Administration for effectively scrapping SDI was the testing necessary to perfect the system violated the 1972 ABM Treaty. But immediately following the attacks of 9/11 President Bush took swift and decisive action to pull the United States out of the Treaty saying it was “written in a different era, for a different enemy.” The Leftist in Congress were, of course, outraged. Senator Carl Levin said, “To rip up a treaty at this moment against the advice of our allies could have an unsettling effect on the whole coalition and the need to stick together against terrorism.” Senator Joseph Biden called the decision, “a serious mistake.” He went on to say, “The administration has not offered any convincing rationale for why any missile defense test it may need to conduct would require walking away from a treaty that has helped keep the peace for the last 30 years.” The editorial page of the Register-Guard of Eugene, OR cried, “President Bush’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty does little to advance his dream of perfecting a defensive shield against missile attacks. It does, however, undermine international cooperation on nuclear security matters.”
Thankfully, when Leftists sing the song of America’s retreat and defeat President Bush is completely tone deaf.
Last week, the vision of Ronald Reagan for a missile shield that would not only guard our air space but would also provide a blanket of security for our allies in Europe took a huge step toward being realized. Radical Leftists cringed when by a unanimous vote, NATO leaders voted to support the deployment of a missile shield for Europe. It was huge international political victory for the President, who was counted out as a player on the world stage by those who claimed he has destroyed our standing with our allies and irreparably damaged our reputation overseas.
In a move that was described as a defeat for the President, NATO refused to admit the former Soviet satellite countries Georgia and the Ukraine. But the story behind the headlines was the agreement NATO reached to reconsider their decision by their next meeting in December. It is likely that before President Bush leaves office, he will see both Georgia and the Ukraine become the 29th and 30th members of NATO.
Somewhere, Ronald Reagan is smiling. The legacy of freedom which began with Reagan’s vision to win the cold war is alive and well in President Bush. History will link them together and reward them for their strong stands against the tide of appeasers and naysayers who always stand against the idea of peace through strength.