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DATE=1/22/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-42422 TITLE=THE QUESTION OF MISSILE DEFENSE BYLINE=ED WARNER DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE GREATEST THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES IS A MISSILE ATTACK FROM SOME ENEMY ABROAD, POSSIBLY A ROGUE STATE OR A TERRORIST GROUP. AT LEAST THAT IS THE WARNING OF SENATOR JESSE HELMS, CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE. SPEAKING AT A RECENT MEETING OF CONSERVATIVE ORGANIZATIONS IN WASHINGTON, THE SENATOR SAID A DEFENSE AGAINST INCOMING MISSILES IS URGENTLY NEEDED, THE SOONER THE BETTER, CONSIDERING U-S VULNERABILITY. V-O-A'S ED WARNER REPORTS. TEXT: MISSILES ARE PROLIFERATING AROUND THE WORLD, SAID U-S SENATOR JESSE HELMS, AND MANY ARE AIMED AT THE UNITED STATES AND ITS ALLIES. ADDRESSING THE CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ACTION CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON, THE REPUBLICAN SENATOR SAID A MISSILE DEFENSE IS CRUCIAL: // HELMS ACT // RED CHINA HAS 19 I-C-B-M'S (INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES), 13 OF WHICH ARE AIMED AT YOU -- THE UNITED STATES. AND AS RECENTLY AS 1997, A SENIOR CHINESE OFFICIAL ISSUED A VEILED NUCLEAR THREAT AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, WARNING THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD NEVER COME TO THE DEFENSE OF TAIWAN BECAUSE, AS HE PUT IT, AMERICANS CARE MORE ABOUT LOS ANGELES THAN WE DO TAIPEI. WELL, WE CARE FOR BOTH OF THEM. // END ACT // SENATOR HELMS SAID IRAN, IRAQ, NORTH KOREA AND A VARIETY OF TERRORIST GROUPS ARE ATTEMPTING TO ARM MISSILES WITH NUCLEAR, CHEMICAL OR BIOLOGICAL WARHEADS. THE DESTRUCTION THEY COULD CAUSE IS UNFATHOMABLE. THE ONE OBSTACLE TO A MISSILE DEFENSE, SAID SENATOR HELMS, IS THE ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY WITH RUSSIA THAT BANS SUCH A SYSTEM FOR BOTH COUNTRIES. IGNORE THE TREATY, SAID SENATOR HELMS, SINCE IT WAS NEGOTIATED WITH THE SOVIET UNION, WHICH NO LONGER EXISTS: // HELMS ACT // THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO NEGOTIATE PERMISSION FROM RUSSIA OVER WHETHER THE UNITED STAES CAN PROTECT ITSELF FROM BALLISTIC MISSILE ATTACK BY NORTH KOREA, FOR EXAMPLE. THE A-B-M TREATY IS, WHEN YOU LOOK AT IT, THE ROOT OF OUR PROBLEMS. SO LONG AS THE A-B-M TREATY IS A CORNERSTONE OF U-S SECURITY POLICY, AS (NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER SAMUEL) BERGER PUTS IT, WE WILL NEVER, NEVER BE ABLE TO DEPLOY A NATIONWIDE MISSILE DEFENSE THAT WILL PROVIDE REAL SECURITY FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. // END ACT // SENATOR HELMS SAID BECAUSE OF ITS SCRUPLES OVER THE TREATY, THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION HAS PROPOSED A FAR TOO LIMTED MISSILE DEFENSE. BUT WOULD ONE WORK? ASKS JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, AN ANALYST AT THE PRIVATE "CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE," AND A SPECIALIST ON MISSILES. HE NOTES THAT MORE THAN 45-BILLION DOLLARS IN RESEARCH HAVE NOT LED TO A BREAKTHROUGH IN MISSILE DEFENSE, AND MOST TESTS HAVE ENDED IN FAILURE. HE BELIEVES THE ISSUE IS DRIVEN BY POLITICS, IN PARTICULAR BY CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS IN THE U-S CONGRESS: // CIRINCIONE ACT // THEY TAKE IT AS AN ARTICLE OF FAITH THAT THEY WANT TO BRING ABOUT PRESIDENT REAGAN'S ORIGINAL "STAR WARS" DREAM. AND WE ARE SEEING THAT IN SOME OF THE BILLS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN INTRODUCED, MANDATING DEPLOYMENT OF A MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM AND IN THE PERSISTANCE OF THE SENIOR REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP. THEY ARE JUST NOT GIVING UP. // END ACT // NO TREATY IS BEYOND REVISION, SAYS MR. CIRINCIONE, AND CAN BE ALTERED TO REFLECT CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES. BUT THERE IS A DANGER IN SCRAPPING THE A-B-M AGREEMENT: // CIRINCIONE ACT // IF YOU DEPLOY A STRATEGIC DEFENSIVE SYSTEM, IT IS GOING TO STIMULATE THE OTHER GUY'S OFFENSIVE CAPABILITIES. THEY ARE GOING TO FEEL OBLIGED TO INCREASE THEIR OFFENSIVE FORCES OR TAKE STEPS TO COUNTER ANY DEFENSES THAT YOU PUT UP. WE CERTAINLY WOULD, AND IN FACT, WE DID WHEN THE SOVIETS DEPLOYED A BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM IN THE 1970'S. THIS IS AN INESCAPABLE MILITARY LOGIC THAT HAS BEEN THE SAME FOR CENTURIES. // END ACT // A U-S DEFENSE SYSTEM WOULD BE DESTABILIZING, SAYS MR. CIRINCIONE, WITHOUT A STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK TO TAKE ITS PLACE. GIVEN THE BASIC FRAILTY OF ANY DEFENSE, HE BELIEVES AN EFFORT SHOULD BE MADE TO ELIMINATE MISSILES ON A GLOBAL BASIS. THE WORLD ONCE GOT ALONG WITHOUT THEM. IT COULD AGAIN. OR IS THAT, TOO, A DREAM? ASK PROPONENTS OF A MISSILE DEFENSE IN A DEBATE THAT IS SURE TO CONTINUE. (SIGNED) NEB/EW/RRM 22-Jan-99 5:08 PM EST (2208 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .