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DATE=5/30/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=MISSILE DEFENSE-ONE NUMBER=5-46401 BYLINE=ED WARNER DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: In early June, President Clinton meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, where they will discuss, among other issues, ballistic missile defense. Mr. Clinton wants to amend the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty, which prohibits building a national missile defense system. Mr. Putin wants to keep the treaty. The issue has also divided U-S experts, with some critics doubting the system will work and concerned that it could spark another nuclear arms race. In the first of a three-part series, V-O- A's Ed Warner reports on the debate about missile defense and its role in the summit meeting. TEXT: Ballistic missile defense is expected to be a major topic at the upcoming summit between President Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But analysts say that is all it will be: talk. Perhaps intense talk, but no resolution of a highly controversial issue. Mr. Clinton proposes amending the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so the United States can deploy a limited, land-based missile defense for protection against a few missiles that might be launched some time in the future by so-called rogue states. In turn, Mr. Clinton would consider a steep cut in U-S nuclear weapons. But Mr. Putin, fearing an upset in the nuclear balance, is not expected to go along. The summit, say analysts, will be largely ceremonial with no significant arms agreement. Expect the minimum, cautions Joseph Cirincione, Director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: /// Cirincione Act /// President Clinton had hoped to strike a grand bargain at this summit, where the Russians would agree to amend the A-B-M Treaty, and the United States in turn would announce a willingness to go to lower numbers of nuclear weapons. It appears that any hopes of a grand bargain are fading fast, and there may not be a possibility of getting a grand bargain before Clinton leaves office in the beginning of next year. /// End Act /// Domestic U-S politics also stand in the way of a Moscow agreement, says Barry Blechman, chairman of the Stimson Center, another Washington policy research organization: /// Blechman Act /// It is hard to understand why the Russians would see it in their advantage to reach an agreement with President Clinton on the A-B-M Treaty and START (EDS: Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement. They know that whatever they agree to, he will not be able to get the Congress to pass. So they would have to talk to the next administration in any event. /// End Act /// A majority of Republicans in the U-S Senate want a broader missile defense system than Mr. Clinton seeks. They consider his proposal too limited to be effective. Senator Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says any agreement reached in Moscow will be "dead on arrival" at the Senate. The debate has also entered the U-S presidential campaign with the Democratic Party candidate, Vice- President Albert Gore, attacking his Republican Party rival, George W. Bush, for urging an extensive missile defense. The Clinton administration is not really serious about the issue, says Jack Spencer, defense and national security analyst at Washington's Heritage Foundation, a research group that generally supports Republican Party views: /// Spencer Act /// The ground-based system in Alaska that the administration is supporting will not be sufficient. Instead of just that, we need to deploy a layered system, including ground and sea-based and eventually space-based missile defense. We need to have a study to figure out what is the best way to defend America, not the best way to defend America from missiles within the A-B-M Treaty, and that is what I see this land-based system as. /// End Act /// Mr. Spencer's position is supported by a new U-S Defense Department report calling for a sea-based missile defense that can be built with existing technology and would offer greater flexibility at less cost. Republicans are sincere but misguided, says Kurt Gottfried, chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists and professor of physics at Cornell University. He says those who favor a far-ranging missile defense are willing to undermine current restraints on nuclear weapons: /// Gottfried Act /// There are people in the Senate who want to destroy the A-B-M Treaty because they feel it is not in the nation's interest to be constrained by it or by other arms control agreements. We are, after all, today without question the most powerful country in the world. And they feel there is no reason why we should be operating under constraints since we can do what we want, more or less. /// End Act /// But the rest of the world does not go along with this presumption, notes Robert Kagan, a senior associate at Carnegie Endowment, who favors a broad missile defense: /// Kagan act /// Right now, Russia is actually standing with most of the other countries of the world against a missile defense system. Many European countries are opposed to the American plan. China is certainly opposed to the American plan. And President Putin has made himself look like the great defender of arms control against the United States, which wants to break out of the A-B-M Treaty. /// End Act /// Mr. Kagan says the stage is set for a considerable debate over missile defense at the presidential meeting in Moscow. (signed) NEB/EW/JP 30-May-2000 13:23 PM EDT (30-May-2000 1723 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .