Clinton Administration's Defense Policies Flawed


I attended one of Senator Jon Kyl's periodic breakfast meetings, where the guest speaker was Richard Perle. Mr. Perle has been involved in U.S. national defense matters for 30 years, most notably as assistant secretary of defense for International Security Policy during the Reagan administration the years when the Cold War was finally won.

Mr. Perle's talk was wide-ranging and covered a lot of analysis as to how we got where we are in the current world stage. However, in the interests of brevity, I will concentrate here on what I feel are Mr. Perle's major concerns with the present administration policies.

First, the present administration does not seem to realize that the Cold War is over, and that the U.S. side won. We are still negotiating with Russia not the nonexistent Soviet Union as to what the U.S. can or cannot do as far as development and deployment of anti-ballistic missiles or other such defenses.

Mr. Perle's position is that Russia and its armada of inter-continental missiles should not be our main concern today. Our main concern should be the so-called "rogue" states, ie: North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, et al, and their clients. We should be devising defenses against them.

We should just tell Russia that we want to terminate the 1972 ABM Treaty, and we will each go our own way. Each of us doing what is best in our individual circumstances.

Secondly, as a further hangover from the Cold War days, the basis for U.S. defense plans is still centered on war in Eastern Europe. This is no longer the case. Of all the armed excursions we have had in the last 10 years, only one was in Eastern Europe the break up of Yugoslavia and it essentially had nothing to do with the threat from the ex-Soviet Union. However, we are wasting billions of dollars continuing to prepare for such a conflict.

Mr. Perle's position is that we should re-evaluate all of our military strategy in light of the fact that we now have the capability to pretty much hit what we are aiming at. Throughout history, up until now, about 99 percent of all missiles launched, from rocks to spears, arrows, bullets and World War II bombs, missed their targets. Today we have the ability to hit our targets with great regularity. Our defensive strategy should build on this strength which leads us to anti-ballistic missiles.

Mr. Perele is an unabashed admirer of President Reagan, and was quite laudatory of the part that Senator Kyl plays in Washington in assuring that the U.S. has a sound, adequate defense system. Mr. Perle's point is that Senator Kyl takes numerous positions that are not all popular with the East Coast political establishment, and media, and which are not even reported in Arizona. Mr. Perele says most politicians are very averse to such principled stands, particularly when there are no immediate rewards.

Dan Adams, Payson

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