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Jewish World Review Feb. 2, 2000 /28 Shevat, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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SDI must fly -- I THINK I MAY HAVE finally figured out why President Clinton so virulently opposes the United States developing SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative). But as with so many other things, his reasons are shortsighted, self-serving and detrimental to our national security interests.

Though I don't agree with it, I generally follow liberal logic on most issues. But for the life of me, I've had the toughest time comprehending this curious mindset that opposes a program so vital to this nation's security.

I'm tempted to apply cookie-cutter analysis, and just assume that Clinton's hostility to missile defense is a function of: a) his predictable liberal sympathy for appeasement and his aversion to policies that promote peace through strength and b) his preference for social spending over defense spending.

Just look at the way he's mollycoddled North Korea, rewarding them for violating their agreement to discontinue their nuclear program. Or Iraq, where he undermined UN inspection efforts to expose Saddam Hussein's relentless advancement of his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. Or China. ... Oh well, you get the picture.

Without question, Clinton lacks the courage to deal forcefully with real threats to this nation. His force is reserved for nations defenseless against the U.S., such as Serbia. He seeks to pacify truly dangerous nations with unilateral concessions, under the flawed notion that totalitarian regimes will return kindness for kindness.

But there's something more to Clinton's resistance to SDI. He's afraid of rocking the international boat and mucking up his legacy again. He wants to make as few waves as possible for apparent fear that any tension, especially during his final year, will sabotage his efforts at diplomacy and his various foreign policy initiatives, such as China's entry into the World Trade Organization and the Israeli-Syria and Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

For all these reasons, Clinton is relieved that the Pentagon's test missile failed to hit a mock warhead over the Pacific Ocean two weeks ago. That "failure" has bought him a little more time to delay his decision as to whether to break ground on a missile defense system.

Publicly, Clinton pretends to support SDI. His administration is "committed to the development of a limited national missile defense system designed to counter emerging threats from rogue states."

By the way, I'm not making this up. The Clinton-lionizing New York Times tells us, "It should come as no surprise that in an election year, politics -- both domestic and international -- are driving the administration's divergent public-private views on missile defense."

Clinton's handling of this issue is reckless at best. His fear that proceeding with missile defense would jeopardize our relations with China and Russia is unwarranted and misguided.
Granted, those nations both say that our pursuit of SDI will trigger a new arms race, but what do you expect them to say? They know Clinton folds under such bogus threats. In China's case, they are charging full steam ahead to develop stolen nuclear technology and their delivery systems, regardless of what we do. While Clinton has been blocking SDI, they have been stealing our nuclear secrets and missile technology. That's Clinton's appeasement dividend.

This is deadly serious business, folks, and should be on the front-burner in this presidential campaign.

Baker Spring, of the Heritage Foundation, warns that the situation is urgent. "The expansion of the missile threat (from Russia, China and rogue nations) has outpaced the development and deployment of missile defense systems. Even under the most compressed timetables for the deployment of the missile defense systems now under development, the United States will continue to face a window of vulnerability."

Spring charges that Clinton has dismantled the "robust missile defense program he inherited from the Bush administration," making the American people increasingly vulnerable to missile attack by allowing America's defenses to lag behind the threat.

SDI was an integral part of Ronald Reagan's vision and policies that culminated in bringing the Soviet Union to its knees. We should consummate that vision by resurrecting SDI -- and not the watered down land-based version being flirted with by Clinton, but the space-based and sea-based rocket-zapping shield that comports with Reagan's dream of peace and security for this nation.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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