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Mr Rodgers, UK
"Many misgivings are being expressed here."
 real 28k

Mohan Ahad, UK
"The shield only has a limited defence."
 real 28k

Chris Cutrone, USA
"People are not really paying attention."
 real 28k

David Kafeero, Uganda
"If America doesn't defend the world - then who will?"
 real 28k

Jacki Muir, Thailand
"I'm amazed that Bush is willing to waste so much money."
 real 28k

Paul Rossi, USA
"There is a certain amount of hysteria coming from the European Left."
 real 28k

Monday, 14 May, 2001, 14:21 GMT 15:21 UK
Missile defence: Will it lead to global peace?

Select a link below to watch or listen to Talking Point On Air

US President George W Bush has outlined his vision of a missile defence programme to counter the threat from rogue states equipped with weapons of mass destruction.

Russia has warned that US commitment to creating a US anti-missile defence shield and scrapping a landmark arms control treaty could lead to a new arms race and escalating global tensions.

But Mr Bush said the 1972 arms treaty with Russia was now an outdated relic of the cold war and a barrier to American and global peace and security.

Do you think the "Son of Star Wars" missile defence programme will lead to global peace? Or could the destruction of the arms control treaty result in an escalating arms race?

We discussed this issue on Talking Point, the phone-in programme of the BBC World Service and BBC News Online. You the form at the bottom of the page to add to the debate.

  • Read what you have said since the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

    Your comments since the programme

    Since when has building stronger walls on a king's castle made him immune to defeat?

    David Thomas, Brisbane, Australia
    Since when has building stronger walls on a king's castle made him immune to defeat? The enemy will just wait until they are strong enough to climb these bigger walls. If all 23,000 warheads were aimed at a handful of US targets, no missile protection shield will save them. Peace is made by openly communicating with people, which is the one thing a wall inhibits...
    David Thomas, Brisbane, Australia

    The USA seems to be missing the point in that the greatest threat at the moment to the world is not a tactical missile strike from so called 'rogue states', but issues such as pollution, overpopulation, environmental concerns, etc. The country is far more responsible for most of the above issues and should therefore be spending money on solving them than wasting it on seemingly pointless defence systems that will invariably never be utilised.
    Steve, Redditch, UK

    President Bush's decision should be embraced with caution. On the one hand, it aims to counter the increasing power of China in the South Asian region but on the other it may lead to another Cold War which may find the US isolated among its allies.
    Rakesh N, Mumbai, India

    How can the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction be better than a defensive system that may make nukes obsolete? The true threats to world peace are the countries threatening to build additional nuclear weapons.
    Chuck, Atlanta, USA

    It's totally self-serving

    Paula Sharma, Singapore
    Going through these postings, I have come to the conclusion that Mr Bush is just making sure his buddies who gave him campaign money are given the opportunity to realise their investment. It's totally self-serving and has no connection with the rest of the world.
    Paula Sharma, Singapore

    Excellent, another Cold War. It will do absolute wonders for the defence industry which has been cut to shreds in recent years.
    Kenny, Manchester, England

    Has the planning committee in Washington contemplated the administration's response in the event of a successful missile interception? With no civilian casualties would the U.S be justified in a retaliatory nuclear strike? Not likely, nor would world opinion sanction it. More likely would be a conventional surgical strike to take out the military infrastructure of the offending nation. The most powerful deterrence that has kept most of the world at peace for the last half-century is the sure knowledge that a nuclear attack against the US would result in a country's own obliteration. If this guarantee is erased, not only is the whole balance of power shifted, but more importantly the issue of deterrence.
    Charlie Miles, Sydney, Australia

    I challenge anyone to find an elected official who would say otherwise

    Suzanne, New York, USA
    One might consider the fact that, relatively speaking, the US has been a fairly benign superpower. Europe in particular, with its long history of conquest and atrocities, seems perpetually willing to criticise the US for every perceived misstep. What is in one instance cited as evidence of American "hegemony" is in another considered "assistance" or "co-operation".

    The US government is regularly accused of protecting corporate interests in a way that suggests that doing so is comparable to harbouring war criminals. However, every government engages in precisely such behaviour. As far as Mr. Bush's statement that US interests are at the forefront of his policies is concerned, I challenge anyone to find an elected official who would say otherwise regarding his or her country. While I do not support NMD, I am equally offended by the suggestion that the US is simultaneously responsible for the world's problems and accused of megalomania whenever it asserts itself.
    Suzanne, New York, USA

    The vast majority of responses are strongly opposed to the anti-missile system, and George Bush is being attacked for being out of touch with the times. Do not fear the USA is a democratic country, the majority of the people here share the same feelings as the rest of you, George will be voted out next time round. I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the Maginot Line, or even Vietnam. Remember, the people of the USA are not stupid.
    David Smart, USA

    Several correspondents claim that United States has aggressive, offensive plans vis-a-vis China and/or Russia. Is that why Bush Administration is prepared to scrap, unilaterally, most of its offensive nuclear weapons (and yes, that includes missiles)? Do the writers know that the US stopped production of nuclear warheads many years ago? Do they also know that dilapidated Russian and obsolete Chinese command and control systems make accidental launch of their ballistic missiles likely?

    Finally, do not believe in "suitcase" bombs. Such devices do not exist for simple physical reasons and even if they did they would be easily detected because of the radiation they emit. And as an afterthought - only American taxpayers have right to decide how their government is going to defend them.
    Mirek Kondracki, Alexandria, U.S.

    The next 8 years of George Bush will be great, the rest of the world will finally realise that they don't need the US bullying them and imposing their views upon the world. Stars Wars is the beginning of the end of US domination, the world will just nod and go along with it, while cutting economic ties, (by giving big business opportunities to friendly, neutral countries, (EU, Australia, etc). They will also lose their say in diplomatic issues, (Middle East, Balkans). The lessening of the Americas influence will be good for the world.
    Rosh Ra, London UK

    If someone is pointing a gun at your head then you'll do whatever he says, and this is what the US means by "peace". But ultimately it will backfire. No one will tolerate US self-imposed hegemony over the rest of the world. It will only create tension and resentment.
    Bilal Patel, London, UK

    Many of you have hit it on the head. The bottom line is that biological and chemical weapons are as much of a threat as nuclear weapons are. The real losers in this are going to be us, the American people, who will see our economy suffer over the next four years from erroneous government spending such as the missile defence program coupled with massive tax cuts. I didn't think it was possible but I think Bush might be even more clueless than Reagan was.
    Ryan, Grand Rapids, Mi. USA

    A mix of populism and serving the corporations

    Andrej, Russia
    It is hard to imagine semi-pariah states like North Korea or Iraq threatening the world's strongest (economically and militarily) nation across the oceans. The national missile defence plan, just like every presidential candidate's pledge of more funds for the military, is a mix of populism and serving the corporations. Heavy machinery companies, their employees and shareholders would be more than happy with Bush's plans. The rest of the world would not.
    Andrej, Russia

    Jeremy Fry of the UK is missing the point regarding sharing of ABM technology with China and Russia; how many 'rogue' nations have benefited from missile technology sold to them from both of these nations? I see no reason to let them in on the party, and you can throw various European nations such as France into the same boat as well. Between the ABM issue and the current usurping of the US on certain UN councils, it will spell a de-coupling of European and US interests. The sooner the better.
    Thom, USA

    Oliver from Taipei's assessment is excellent. I fully agree also with James Blair and M. M. Zamman. Even without NMD America does what America wants and can (and will) obliterate anyone who doesn't like it at the push of a button. With NMD deployed the situation will become fully unbearable, and thus I cannot see how this prodigal "Son of Star Wars" can augur well for the peace and stability of the world. America is such a restless nation. It is forever casting itself in the role of a hero defeating the evil threat from yonder. But with the highest crime rate in the world per capita the only 'rogue' states are the United States. NMD is the ideal cover for America's expansionist designs.
    Simon Cameron, London, UK

    I had hoped that with the demise of the Soviet Union that the USA and its politicians would have grown up a bit and ditched their Cold War mind frames, but no, Bush is as rampant as the other Republican warmongers we got to know in the last Millenium. I can only hope for free and fair elections in the USA in the near future, so that the world can start spending money on worthwhile things, like a fresh water supply for every inhabitant of this planet, instead of wasting zillions of dollars on the war machine.
    Al, Mannheim Germany

    The US has consistently used its economic might to either skirt or ignore international law, conventions and treaties, and to force other countries to follow its foreign policies. Imagine the threat it will be to the rest of the world if it also has the military advantage conferred by the missile shield.
    M. M. Zaman, UK in US

    If the aim of the missile shield is to protect the US from "rogue states" then it would seem entirely appropriate to share the technology with Russia and China, to ensure they are also protected from these "rogue states". Failing to do so would imply that the technology is also, or maybe even primarily, intended to protect the US from Russia and China.
    Jeremy Fry, UK

    Why would North Korea, or Iraq, or Iran launch nuclear missiles at the USA, when the know full well that the US retaliation would be swift, severe and terrible. The only reason I can see Iraq launching missiles, is if the USA is attempting to overthrow that regime. NMD is offensive as it allows the US to ignore nations such as China over important issues such as Taiwan. Now the USA will be able to go toe-to-toe with China without fear of nuclear retaliation - not good for global security folks.
    James Blair, London, UK

    The Americans may well be able to make such a deterrent force, but it will be of no use, because the threat to the USA will not come from above, but from ground zero. It will come from individuals and individual organisations that are armed with biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Putting such a sophisticated system into place will be very impressive, but nothing else. It will not solve its security concerns, on the contrary, it will raise the arms race and put the entire world into even greater jeopardy than what it is now. The proof is in the pudding. Throughout the entire history of mankind, what military hardware has ever been unsurpassable? None!, All they achieved is making the next one even deadlier than its predecessor.
    Bassam Sulaiman, Kuwait

    European's response should be to utterly disassociate themselves from the product

    Richard Bell, London, England
    When the danger posed by 'rogue states' is discussed it seems to be automatically assumed that all countries are equally vulnerable. This is not the case as EU countries have far better diplomatic relations with such supposed threats than the US, having avoided such an ideologically driven, aggressively self-serving foreign policy. While I can see Bush pushing the system through irrespective of international opinion surely the European's response should be to utterly disassociate themselves from the product whilst continuing to pursue trade and dialogue with countries such as Iran and Iraq.

    This will have the dual benefit of developing economic stability and an internationalist approach in 'rogue' countries (which history shows will reduce political extremism) and also ensure that any retaliatory terrorist attacks are limited to US targets. It will also develop the important relations with Russia and China and, given that extreme Republicanism is unlikely to last longer than one term, should have few long term effects on the European-US relationship.
    Richard Bell, London, England

    I support the US decision. I think every country should be able to defend themselves against the rogue countries like Afghanistan, North Korea, Iraq and also against the countries which facilitate international terrorism. So I feel it is the US's fundamental right to defend themselves..
    Kishore, Hyderabad, India

    Lets not get carried away by the arguments for missile defence as touted by the Americans and their supporters. The simple fact is that this project will mean more money for the big companies involved for sure. Everybody knows defence projects (along with space) fund many major companies in the US.
    Jake, Canada

    The United States have always considered themselves to be the non-aggressive nation that protects the world for freedom. The U.S. always gets angry when other nations that they consider enemies have nuclear capabilities, it's funny that the country with the most nuclear weapons and the only nation that ever used atomic bombs even have the nerve to say that countries as North Korea are a threat to world peace. It's almost as if the only country that should have the power is the U.S. and the only country that should be trusted is the U.S.

    Every country wants power and influence in the world, for example, if China builds 10 more nuclear warheads the U.S. will be the first to complain and call them the aggressor, while the U.S. have thousands of warheads already. If the missile defence is built the U.S. will be even more able to dominate the world and can do whatever they want. The U.S. never treated its allies as equals, as long a country listens to the U.S. and does whatever it wants, they call it an ally, as in the case of Taiwan.
    Oliver, Taipei,Taiwan

    Of course it will lead to peace, the peace of mind of the multinational companies who gave millions to Bush's campaign and are now getting the pay-back, with all these unworkable missiles the world will really be much more dangerous. All of this when some terrorist with a little bottle full of the latest bacteriological cocktail can destroy a country without even carrying a gun.
    A.Lemos, Spain

    I would be more afraid if such countries as Iran, Iraq or North Korea were to pursue missile defence technology instead of the USA.
    B Kirk. Australia

    Well done to Mr Bush for going through with it, and I hope that at least the UK will support it

    Dan McNaught, UK
    As the missile defence system is for defence against what is seen as the most dangerous threat to all countries, I cannot understand why so many European countries are hostile towards the project. If they supported it, they themselves would have some defence against ballistic missiles.
    It is only because it is the US that are building it, that it receives so much hostility. Well done to Mr Bush for going through with it, and I hope that at least the UK will support it.
    Dan McNaught, UK

    Let's not lose sight of the fact that the corporate interests that manipulate the Bush marionette, do not care one jot about a terrorist threat to the American population. What they do care about are opportunities to generate yet more business through new technologies that we will one day find in our computers and everyday gadgets ten years hence.
    The 'rogue state' threat is simply another scenario couched in emotive language dreamt up by the PR industry to persuade Americans that they need a bigger and better gun to protect themselves. Every country and citizen of the world should stand up and refuse to lend any support to this folly.
    Jonathan Le-cun, UK

    Ballistic missile defence is really only intended to introduce an element of uncertain results in a potential aggressor's plans. This could of course cause the US to become the victim of a weaker power's fear that their nuclear arsenal will lose its retaliatory capability. In any event its fun to hear PRC whining and constant declarations of their victimization and feeble, pathetic, abilities!
    Hmid Sanders, USA

    It is truly crazy and demonstrates the clear lack of maturity of states in this world

    Will Marshall, Oxford, UK
    It is truly a struggle to understand the reason for NMD:
    1. It cannot -ever-stop someone from driving a nuclear, (or other weapon of mass destruction) into Washington. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. - It doesn't do anything against 'rogue states'.
    2. It cannot stop China/Russia from landing an ICBM there since both those states will ensure that they have enough to penetrate the system (in the case of China, it is a near certainty that an increase in nuclear weapons will occur as a result of NMD).
    It is truly crazy and demonstrates the clear lack of maturity of states in this world.
    Will Marshall, Oxford, UK

    I think that it is technically feasible for the USA to develop a successful abm and theatre defence system. The reason it hasn't been done before is that America has not felt secure enough to break through the status quo with weapons systems (defensive or offensive) until now when it is unchallenged as the pre-eminent military power on earth. President Bush is starting a new type of arms race because he perceives that militarily, technologically and financially the USA stands a good chance of winning it.
    Tom Elliott, Australia

    Your comments during the programme

    Before the advent of President Bush, the world was reaching a stage where with institutions like WTO and a well developed Global Economy, countries were slowly building trust with each other and looking at economic prosperity. An initiative like Missile Defence system will only divert scarce resources of poorer nations from feeding their millions to develop their defence systems thereby starting a new and dangerous arms race which the world can ill afford.
    Partha, Sydney, Australia

    It is fascinating the respondents to this poll take two sides at the same time. Neither one of them are well informed and neither one represent the reality of world at all

    Joel E. Wischkaemper, USA
    It is fascinating the respondents to this poll take two side at the same time. Neither one of them are well informed and neither one represent the reality of world at all. The ABM system will defeat launches from countries that have not devised sophisticated warhead delivery systems. (Usually smaller countries that know an area nuke in the United States will bring enormous destruction, opinion will probably prevent the United States from responding.) Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea would be excellent examples of countries that would dearly like to see the United States very damaged. Sophisticated systems such as the systems of the Chinese and Russia cannot be defeated and in that sense, MAD still works.
    Joel E. Wischkaemper, USA

    While I believe that the threat of the so called rouge states is real, I strongly believe that the current administration policy is counter productive to erasing of limiting this threat. This is due to the fact that the current administration policy will push the Russians and Chinese to deal more closely with the rouge states. Close contribution of these two countries is need by the rouge nations to develop their Nuclear industry. Additionally, there are no reasons why a country with limited nuclear weapons would ever launch an attack on the US or any other country for that matter, knowing that the end result would be total destruction of that country.
    Aria Shariati, Washington, US

    The US should try to team up more with Russia so that a joint missile program could be developed. This would show the true intention behind Bush's missile defence programme.
    Joanne Sheridan, UK

    I think that Bush Jr. used quite some money from the tobacco, oil and weapons industry to get elected. In my opinion, with this missile defence system he is paying back the weapons industry for their support. Whether it works or not is a secondary issue.
    Claudio Antadire, Asigliano, Italy

    I think one would do well to examine the threat and the facts a little closer before saying what a bad thing the NMD is

    Frank McGregor, Virginia, USA
    Has anyone bothered to read the information put forth on the BBC? Apparently not. Some facts missed by many:
    (1) The system proposed by Bush is slated to enter service more than ten years from now, if at all.
    (2) It is not only for the protection of North America but, U.S. allies as well.
    (3) Look at the threats - and what the threats will be in ten years. You will find there are a number of very destabilising States that will have medium to inter-continental nuclear capability.
    I think one would do well to examine the threat and the facts a little closer before saying what a bad thing the NMD is.
    Frank McGregor, Virginia, USA

    Missile Defence programme will certainly maintain global peace until another nation develops it too. And, then we may have global peace and space peace both jeopardised!
    Agha Ata, USA

    What a laugh! The only rogue around these days is Bush and the only rogue state left is the USA. Because of Bush and his controllers, our policies are bent towards saving the billionaires and Wall Street. Forget the Constitution and the common good.
    When you pause to think on what these billions in defense and tax-cuts could buy in furthering the hopes of humanity throughout the world, you begin to get a glimmer of how insane Bush really is!
    Roy Wright, Portland, OR,,USA

    Your new sheriff in town has withdrawn from two international treaties in as many weeks

    John Berge, Lindesberg, Sweden
    As Jeff in Boulder Colorado points out, "there's a new sheriff in town and you'd all better get used to it because quite frankly most Americans do not care what any of you think." Straight shooting, Jeff, and I expect your new sheriff agrees with you.
    Your new sheriff in town has withdrawn from two international treaties in as many weeks. What use is there in negotiating with the United States if the next sheriff in town is going to abrogate negotiated agreements?
    John Berge, Lindesberg, Sweden,

    In the same way the former President Reagan's "Star Wars" initiative forced the for Soviet Union into arms build-up and ultimately bankrupted them, could President Bush's initiative also be more of a long range plan to put the perceived new cold-war adversary, China, into the same position? Forcing them to spend money they do not have on defensive build-up.
    Chris Glaves Sydney, Australia

    We should not deter the newly appointed president from developing missiles of unerring accuracy (unlike the wayward "Patriots"), to knock out any launched at the US from the "Phantom Menace", it is of course every space cadet's dream. Perhaps the NMD project will eventually delay "Armageddon" in destroying a rouge meteor before it does serious damage to our pristine blue planet.
    All hail the Chief and God Bless America.
    Brian M, Quebec City, Canada

    I think President Bush with his defence program will ensure the safety not only of its country, but of the entire continent as well. Dangerous weapons can be acquired by unstable nations to treat the peace of the world.
    Jorge Almeida-Chiriboga, Toowoomba, Australia

    Your comments before we went ON AIR

    Why is there this anti-US and anti-Bush felling amongst the Western media?

    Graeme, UK
    President Bush is totally correct in wanting an anti-ballistic missile system. The US unilaterally gave up anti-ballistic missiles in the '70s. They had missiles called the Sprint and the Spartan, which were anti-ballistic missile systems. In complete contrast, the USSR deployed the Golash anti-ballistic missiles around Moscow, which contravenes the Agreement, which Bush has reneged on. Why is there this anti-US and anti-Bush felling amongst the Western media?
    Graeme, UK

    Are we that short sighted in thinking that if USA didn't develop this system, no other country would - Such as China? These other countries are only showing concern because they either don't have the scientists or the funds! Sour grapes I think.
    Martin Lowe, Nottingham, England

    Son of Start Wars is about a lot of things, but only marginally about missile defence - shooting a bullet with a bullet, as they say. Its far more about controlling the military high ground of space, and maintaining the industrial strength of big US Corporations. Defence contracts all round?
    Craig Harry, England

    Money being spent on a so called missile defence system could well be better spent on creating brand new drugs to fight the HIV aids epidemic in Africa. This is a sad world we are living in.
    John Michael, Sydney Australia

    How many inventions worked perfectly the first time?

    Hugh, Preston UK
    Time and again people say that this defence system won't work, because it has not as yet. How many inventions worked perfectly the first time? Several times in the past, the Americans have shown that they can solve a problem by throwing lots of money at it, even if the solution is not perfect. Even if the system does not have the potential to work, I am sure Mr Bush has a large team of advisers who have given him a lot of reasons why it is in the best interest of the US to build it.
    Hugh, Preston UK

    In today's world potential employees for a job are bombarded with psychometric, team skill and personality tests. In order to run a country the only thing that seems to apply is the ability to be a good sales person in order to get the votes! It would have been better for the president to review and bring up to date the 1972 ABM treaty, instead of ignoring it; which may now cause other countries to ignore this treaty along with other peace or trade treaties.
    Paul H, Nottingham, UK

    This policy is simply a means of expanding big business in America

    Andy Crane, London, UK
    It is a very risky policy to go through with. It is obvious that this policy will protect America and the UK from rogue states with nuclear weapons and it might keep America safe. But there is the other side of the argument, that through this defence policy he is just going to worsen relations with Russia and China. Also if the UK signs up to this against the wishes of its fellow EU members, then it is possible that we will become alienated from the rest of Europe, and that would be in the best interests of the United Kingdom.

    What this policy is saying that to the Americans it does not matter what happens to the rest of the world as long as we are alright. This view cannot be used as a means of progress in the 20th century and this policy is simply a means of expanding big business in America. Who knows, with this defence policy Bush might be setting his sights on world domination, because this policy would create the weapons that could easily do that for him.
    Andy Crane, London, UK

    Bush 's definitely jeopardising all the efforts of maintaining a diplomatic and friendly relationship with countries in his impulsive approach on this son of Star Wars issue. A ultimate defence system is totally uncalled for given the present powerful defence the Pentagon has established. Bush reforms are always slated to the extreme and his actions leave doubt to many Americans who voted him to power.
    Pathos, Singapore

    If I were a terrorist or "rogue state", I would not use an expensive an easily detected missile. I would build the device in the place I wanted to detonate it. The missile defence shield is a waste of time and money, and the UK Government should be ashamed to their supporting the project.
    John Atkins, Woolavington, England

    This program is for the defence of the United States and no other country, you are not paying for it therefore you have no say. Americans are fully aware that there are no countries in this world who will come to the assistance of the US if we are attacked and there has never been an instance when any of you have ever come to our defence. Practically every country sees the US as a gravy-train and you're all unhappy because the Bill Clinton no longer resides at the White House. There's a new sheriff in town and you'd all better get used to it because quite frankly most Americans do not care what any of you think.
    Jeff, Boulder, CO, USA

    If Bush wants to destroy the world he is going the right way about it. This expensive scheme will protect them for generations, but those generations may not appreciate it when global warming is killing them all off. Put the money into something that will really protect us all, the environment.
    Colin Smith, Middlesbrough, England

    It is all because the military-industrial complex wants more projects and more cash

    Max Freedman, England
    The NMD trials that have so far been attempted have all failed (or had "partial successes" due to outrageously generous reclassification of what a "success" is), despite being staged in conditions to virtually guarantee success. It will never be wholly reliable, and is therefore pointless, as it will not stop nuclear obliteration. And for this, Bush wants to scrap the ABM treaties that preserve global stability. It is all because the military-industrial complex wants more projects and more cash.
    Max Freedman, London, England

    Do you really think you can rely on the US to maintain peace? I think not. The US is only out for the US's interests. As Bush Jnr says: quote "America's interests must come first" unquote. It is always the world as America sees it. Fortunately, the rest of the world's perception is somewhat different. The US will always act in its own interest, sod the rest of the world!
    George Cook, Brisbane, Australia

    If the rest of the world wants to keep up with our defences, let them, but our country's defences are exactly that, defences. This is not a world matter but an internal decision to defend ourselves from rogue states. Contrary to what's been said, this doesn't affect the rest of the world, this system will destroy missiles inbound to the United States. It will be paid for by the United States. It has been said here that "President Bush is not a well loved man", so what, live with it. For all the good we do in the world we get harassed in the court of public opinion about our internal decisions to protect ourselves against dictatorships. Very seldom in this forum are we (USA), complemented. Thank God we have a leader that is not going to sway to the opinion of every other country in the world.
    Ed Stafford, Bergen, USA

    Surely the hawkish attitude of the Bush administration and Germany's call for a stronger Europe provide us with a simple and inevitable solution. I suggest we integrate with Europe sooner rather than later, divorce ourselves from the "special relationship" and ensure that Yorkshire does not become a prime target for these so called rogue states. By committing further to the European Task Force we can deal with conflicts in our region without the increasingly unpopular "policemen of the world" looking over our shoulder.
    Luke Coleman, London, UK

    A shield will not defend against biological attacks

    Richard Jarvis, UK
    A shield will not defend against biological attacks, the next major chapter in aggressive warfare. It serves only to offend the Russians and Chinese. Surely we should oppose the dangerous nature of his moves and back European opinion in condemning them, rather than kow-towing (as is the wont of UK governments) to American pressure.
    Richard Jarvis, Cardiff, UK

    If I had said in 1980 that in 11 years time Iraq would attack Israel with medium range missiles capable of carrying Nuclear Biological and Chemical Weapons, you would have laughed. So I'll see you in about 2215 when the next Iraq or North Korea launches NBC weapons at the free world and there is nothing to defend us. I'm 18 and I quite fancy getting to middle age at least!
    Stephen Barnett, Stockport, England

    I thought George Bush was a politician. Why cant he try and solve these problems with diplomacy? This is a waste of money and will make America's relationship with China even worse.
    Neil, Wrexham, Wales

    I don't think Bush really understands the consequences of his actions

    Dryad, USA/Scotland
    Of course missile defence isn't going to lead to global peace, it's going to go in just the opposite direction, and quite frankly, I can't really blame any other country getting nervous over Bush's isolationism, because it makes me just as nervous. It saddens and frightens me to see him undoing all of Clinton's good work. I don't think Bush really understands the consequences of his actions, how he's leading us into yet another Cold War, one that could possibly turn very hot very quickly.
    Dryad, USA/Scotland

    What we all are seeing in this world is that whatever Uncle Sam is saying, the entire world is following, helplessly. This is not at all good for a peaceful world. Nobody will now trust Uncle Sam at all, because America is only believing to protect her interest at any cost.
    Harish, Dammam, K.S.A/INDIA

    This scheme is less to do with defence than with keeping firms like Boeing and Lockheed Martin in business. After all, what country is going to launch a missile at the US, in the knowledge that they would retaliate with their own nuclear arsenal?
    Iain, London

    This man is an affront to diplomacy and statesmanship. To so brazenly dismiss a 30 year old treaty and raise the nuclear stakes so much is pure folly. The Americans are free to do as they please within the bounds of their own territory, but to undertake this unilateral course of action and potentially risk the safety of all and sundry is arrogant and dangerous. This is an arms race that the world can ill-afford.
    Nahid, London

    Learn karate, don't buy missiles

    Emma T, Sydney, Australia
    How can missiles lead to world peace??? America is supposedly the most powerful country in the world, and should take the lead in programmes promoting peace, not violent and unnecessary self-protection. Learn karate, don't buy missiles.
    Emma T, Sydney, Australia

    This project will probably never progress further than the planning stage. It would take years to build such a system; it would require the consent of many nations whose interests would not be served; and the Bush administration will be ousted at the next election anyway.
    Matt Simon, USA

    Why are countries like Russia and China so worried? It's a defence system, not an offence system. All it will do is render most if not all of their nuclear capabilities useless. This is a good thing as it's like forcing them to deactivate their nuclear weapons.
    Dave G., York, England

    How come that George Bush says the USA can't afford to join the Koyoto protocol, but can afford this expense system? For a fraction of the amount that it will cost for this system, they could avoid the inevitable threats of global warming.
    Chris, Bradford, England

    Stop the American bashing!

    Dave M, UK
    Stop the American bashing! The truth is that they're our allies and I'd much rather that this technology was in existence than be caught short when Saddam finally develops his dream missile. I hope Mr Bush succeeds in his presidency to put some of the immature comments about him in their place.
    Dave M, UK

    The issue I find interesting in all of this is Blair's stance on the US defence system. The UK government seems to position itself in such a way as to be more an ally of the US than our closer neighbours in Europe. Surely any inclusion of the UK in the defence system would alienate us from other (unprotected) European nations. Should we effectively become an extension of the US and risk damaging EU relations, or move further into Europe?
    Peter, London

    The missile defence system was a dream back in the Reagan era, and still is a dream. Bush is under the impression that aliens will invade soon. There is no positive reason to support the multi-million dollar "money-wasting" project.
    Mike Ertan, Ankara, Turkey

    I think the 30-year old ABM treaty is dead. Especially since the break up of the old Soviet bloc into smaller nations. Now many smaller countries have access to nuclear missiles and the 'security' we once had is gone. I think this is why Mr Bush has gone down this route, and as such, it makes sense. But the technical problems are immense. And the main question... will it lead to global peace? You've got to be kidding! (Because it doesn't address the causes of war).
    Howard Dickins, Cardiff, UK

    Why should so much money continue to be wasted on arms targeted at the destruction of human kind when the world is starving?

    Chitaku Mucheleng'anga, Lusaka Zambia
    Why should so much money continue to be wasted on arms targeted at destruction of human kind when the world is starving? What of AIDS research? How does the "morally upright" or is it "In God we trust" country allow such a waste? One feels it is not God but it is IN GOLD you TRUST! Spare us from the tension please Mr. Cowboy!.
    Chitaku Mucheleng'anga, Lusaka Zambia

    The more time and money spent in keeping alive or improving the "big guns", the more we are spending in bringing an end to life on this planet!
    Joe Salas, Merida, Mexico

    The most threatening of the "roque states" today is the USA. Before messing around internationally, Bush should clean up the mess at home!!
    Charles Aufranc, Mont-sur-Rolle, Switzerland

    I am not surprised that G.W.Bush would escalate the arms race and probably trigger a serious war (between the superpowers). His defence shield idea is useless because as long as the rest of the world is not secure, USA will always have sleepless nights over its security. The only rational way to feel secure is to further the course of global peace and partnership.
    Charles, kuwait, Kuwait

    It seems that in order to gain popularity, President Bush creates an artificial problem in order to solve it and to become yet another American hero. I do not understand why the world tolerates him trespassing treaty after treaty, why people do not see that "a world's enemy" is about to be created to justify America's military expenses. If the Cold war starts again it won't do anyone any good, but will make some people in the military industry richer. In this period of Europe's unification and integration, European leaders should make it clear that the goal is peace, not war!
    Marina, Russia

    Since when was the US internal security under threat by other countries? The son of Star Wars is just another excuse for the US to mess around with the matters in other countries. And just like another US system, by allowing people to have guns to protect themselves, the existence of this 'Son of Star Wars' will only lead to an arms race. World peace? This is just another tool for the US to control the world.
    Jih Ying Tioh, Malaysia

    The US doesn't seem to understand that its quest for total security would mean total vulnerability for anyone outside of the missile shield

    Masha , Moscow, Russia
    Can anyone please explain why any of the so-called "rogue states", even if they had nuclear weapons (which they currently don't), would consider launching a missile strike on the United States? That would result in their total annihilation. Mutual Assured Destruction still applies, and even the most dictatorial regimes in the world know this. Also, what the US doesn't seem to understand that its quest for total security would mean total vulnerability for anyone outside of the missile shield, something neither Russia nor China would be abale to tolerate. These are worrying times.
    Masha , Moscow, Russia

    Not so long ago I saw a documentary about so-called "briefcase" atomic bombs - an atomic bomb that fits in a small attaché case which was made in the USSR. Star Wars won't provide any protection against this type of weapon, or many others, that may become available to "rogue" nations in the coming years. Since the invention of gunpowder which brought about the end of fortified castles, nobody has achieved an impregnable defence, and I don't suppose this invention, should it work, will offer much protection either.
    Edwin Tudsbery, Paris, France

    Being a Canadian, I wholeheartedly oppose the missile defence system. It will only cause greater friction among the main global powers and result in more money being needlessly spent on military rather than healthcare, industry, state pensions, education, environment etc.
    Brent MacDonald, Vancouver, Canada

    Both Russia and China already have enough nuclear missiles to break through even the most successful missile shield

    Jason, San Antonio, USA
    Why should Europeans or the British care if the US spends its money developing a missile shield? Afraid of another arms build-up? The fact is both Russia and China already have enough nuclear missiles to break through even the most successful missile shield. If they want to waste their money building more nukes...let them.
    Jason, San Antonio, USA

    It's a coincidence, Bush had an earlier problem with China, and since China gave virtually zero tolerance to the US Government, it could well mean that the US is setting this up to show their "power" and prepare for a fight against China.
    Albert, London, UK

    What frightens me most about the proposals, and what George W Bush ultimately wishes to achieve, is the prospect of space-based weaponry orbiting the earth. If this crazy scheme progresses far enough for Bush's ultimate aims to be realised then it is a fair bet that the pentagon will be looking for more than "defensive" capabilities out of any satellites involved in the defence shield.
    Cian, UK

    It's obvious from the comments so far that President Bush is not a well loved man. Let's hope we can survive the next 4 years, and that we will be able to repair the damage done to world peace. It would seem that the USA is becoming a 'rogue state' under his presidency.
    Derek Evans, Bridgend, UK

    We all live in uncertain and dangerous times

    Demetra Anayannis, New York, USA
    As we all live in uncertain and dangerous times, I believe the Missle Defense System is much-needed. More and more countries are now capable of launching missiles and all it takes is one "rogue" state to do it. I am thankful to President Bush that he is thinking about our children and grandchildren enough to want to protect this country from any future attacks. The Europeans should not ignore (but be thankful) the fact that he has included them in his plan, which I feel makes sense.
    Demetra Anayannis, New York, USA

    Whilst I am not entirely confident in Bush as a president, I am not going to critise him for a announcing a policy change that obviously must have been in planning for months before he came to office. This page is full of comments from people who just like to bash institutions and powerful nations like the US. OK, the US is currently the only global superpower and could use this position to become oppressive but they don't.
    CC, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

    I live in Yorkshire and as I understand it the US will need to use their early warning bases in my home county for the defence system to work. This will no doubt make my home a number one target for anyone trying to breech the US defence systems. Will the US offer the UK the same level of protection from missiles as it is planning for itself? If this is not the case the UK government and even North Yorkshire County council should not give permission for any proposed building/ upgrading of these early warning bases.
    David, Leeds, UK

    Many of the comments here read like knee-jerk anti-Americanism rather than constructive arguments against the president's plan. While personally ambivalent towards the plan itself (though understanding both sides of the real issues), I would contend that the bigger threat is extremist nuts bringing in a suitcase containing a nuclear device ... that's a little scary.
    Mark M. Newdick, USA/ UK

    The money would be far more effectively spent on intelligence

    Graeme, England
    Defence against what? What is the point of wasting all that money on a redundant system when all agencies know the greatest threat to the American mainland comes from acts of internal terrorism like the Oklahoma City bombing? The money would be far more effectively spent on intelligence and internal policing to protect American citizens.
    Graeme, England

    Surely the principle of mutually assured destruction, whereby any nuclear state which attacks another can be sure of being totally destroyed in retaliation is the best defence against nuclear attack other than the bomb never having being invented.
    George, Edinburgh, UK

    Love him or loathe him, George W. seems to have ruffled a few more feathers. However, I doubt very much if the old baseball supremo really had much to do with making the final decision on this, other than to ratify it. Basically, I suspect the military-industrial complex are up to their old tricks again - dictating so-called defence initiatives and God help us all, foreign policy too.
    John McVey, Edinburgh, Scotland

    Nuclear missiles are not the only weapon of mass destruction

    Mo Ahad, UK
    Nuclear missiles are not the only weapon of mass destruction. Advances in genetic engineering means that biological warfare is more of a threat. And you don't need missiles to deliver bacteria. If a rogue state was to attack the US, it would not use missiles and therefore a missile defence system would be pointless.
    Mo Ahad, UK

    Living in Canada, a neighbour of the US, I support the idea of the new missile programme for business reasons. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Edirisa, Toronto, Canada

    Nearly three generations have been told that nuclear weapons are the bane of humanity. Now we are told that mechanisms to stop them are the new banes of humanity and that nuclear weapons are actually peacekeepers. Sounds strange to me.
    Naveen, Indian

    Not entirely unexpected is it?

    Paul, UK
    Not entirely unexpected is it? Any legally binding treaty, having been signed in good faith, that stands in Bush's way is being dismissed out of hand. Isn't it about time the UN actually went about doing its job, and tried to prevent the re-emergence of the Cold War? This man is a danger to himself and the rest of the world. Someone needs to stand up to him. Now.
    Paul, UK

    Let the Yanks develop their missile shield. In the meantime the "rogue states" will press on with developing suitcase nukes and smuggling techniques.
    NM, UK

    I can not believe that this man thinks that scraping an all-important 30-year treaty for an as yet unplanned new treaty in order to build up his missile defences is a good idea. It is frightening to think that in only 100 days he has caused so much concern and created so many problems.
    Sharon B, UK

    The US has every right develop such a capability

    Rahul Mahajan, UK
    It is the right of all countries to determine whether a nuclear missile defence shield (or indeed a nuclear missile capability) is in their strategic interest. The US has every right develop such a capability, and will ultimately receive backing from its Western allies and countries such as India, who feel threatened by China. The US should be more forthright and stop using so-called 'rogue' states as an excuse for the defence programme. The country clearly and unequivocally has Chinese expansionism on its mind.
    Rahul Mahajan, UK

    There are two sides to this; firstly, the system is designed to intercept missiles at launch stage and could therefore be used to help defend all countries from attack. Unfortunately, all rogue states need to do to counter this is to vastly increase their strike capability to be sure of 'getting one through'. Great idea but NMD won't be effective against land based delivery and will certainly accelerate a nuclear arms build-up in the East.
    Andrew, Expat Brit

    I could imagine Greenham Common protests again if Britain becomes a part of this "American Dream", but I have no objections if Bush wants to alienate America from the rest of the world.
    Colin, Netherlands

    Since when did Americans fight wars on their own soil?

    Bob, UK
    Since when did Americans fight wars on their own soil? When was the last time any country attacked the Americans in America? They certainly don't need this "self defence" system unless they are planning even more "foreign" adventures in their unelected (and unaccountable) role as world police officer. One hundred days into this administration and already we talk about a new Cold War with China and Russia. I can't wait for the next one hundred!
    Bob, UK

    A short while ago, people were campaigning against mutually assured destruction as a means of maintaining peace. This lead to the Greenham Common protests, etc. However, now that George W. Bush is talking about making this a thing of the past with a defence shield, they are complaining they want MAD back and that the defence shield will cause a new arms race. How can they campaign against MAD one moment and then campaign against the alternative immediately after?
    Mike, London

    It's amazing how someone can take a politically stable situation and within 100 days in office turn it into a potentially unstable and hostile one. And this turn of events is not due to the political climate at the time and could not be reversed, it is due to the emergence of a world leader who for some reason or another sees everyone else in the world as his enemy. I, for one, cannot understand why the new American administration does not build on the successes of the past 10 years and build stronger relations with these "potentially hostile states" rather than deliberately try to destroy them?
    Haroon Khan, UK

    Most people accept that the Bush administration is primarily a vehicle to push the interests of American big business. Given that the US economy is on the edge of a very severe downturn, a massive defence project like this one might just generate enough momentum in the manufacturing and high tech sectors to see them through. Once again it's a case of to hell with the world for the sake of the mighty dollar.
    Idris, UK

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    02 May 01 | Americas
    Russia warns of arms race
    20 Feb 01 | Sci/Tech
    'Star Wars' makes a comeback

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