Courtesy Reuters


Well before the 2000 election, George W. Bush and his inner circle were clear on a few things, one of which was missile defense. If they won, it would become the centerpiece of national security policy, even if all or most of the world's other major capitals see national missile defense (NMD), especially the U.S. approach to it, as irrelevant or unresponsive to plausible threats and a potential danger to global security.

There are various ways of looking at missile defense. Dispassionate advocates argue that it might actually have some deterrent value at some future moment against some violence-prone regime or possibly offer some protection against an accidental launch. And in any case, just deploying a missile defense could raise society's comfort level -- its confidence that the government was doing all that it could to prevent the irrational actors of the world from

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