Editorial: Missile defense plan a bust

President George W. Bush needs to realize when no means just that. His attempt to woo Russian President Vladimir Putin into supporting the United States’ bid to violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is an embarrassment to this country and the world community. Bush should abandon the missile defense system and instead concentrate on reinforcing good national and political alliances with as many nations as possible.

Understandably, trust in national security is low now, and people are worried of future terrorist attacks. However, as Sept. 11 proved, a system that will target missiles is not going to be of much help in many circumstances. Anyone who wants to wreak havoc upon the nation will know of the security defenses in place and will plan around them in a way that successfully meets their projected end.

This means that the $50 billion already spent on the research and development of the project has been a waste because it can only help if missiles are launched against the nation.

A missile attack is not impossible, but the nations that are enemies of the United States don’t possess missiles powerful enough to reach our nation. The only smart thing Bush is doing in his political courtship of Putin is reinforcing a good relationship with the nation. Russia can be a powerful ally or foe, and Bush should do all he can to use his charm to maintain a healthy friendship with this relatively close neighbor. Trying to convince Putin to violate an existing treaty in the name of U.S. self-promotion is not the way to cull good political favor or strength. Trust and honor are much better.

Bush should instead focus on strengthening international relations and maintaining existing alliances. Putin would probably respond much better to an extension of political cooperation than the violation of treaties.