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In light of North Korea’s ICBM threat, thank Ronald Reagan for missile defense

Written By | Jul 10, 2017

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2017 — With North Korea’s successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, it’s important that we Americans, renowned for our short-term memory loss, try to recall the important role President Ronald Reagan played in defending our nation against missile attacks.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

On March 23, 1983, Reagan advanced the idea that rather than rely on mutual assured destruction (MAD), the United States should develop a shield against nuclear attack. The program of research and development into shooting down ICBMs that was launched under his administration was called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

Then as now, the New York Times took the left-wing position. The Gray Lady was more concerned about the threat posed to the continued existence of the totalitarian, communist USSR by a duly-elected American president than about the threat posed to the U.S. by Soviet nukes.

Today, the Times and CNN spin imaginative yarns (“nothing burgers”) about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, so as to delegitimize a duly-elected American president whom, like Reagan, they despise.

The Times is nothing if not consistent in its view that American presidents who believe in a strong national defense are the biggest threat to world peace—not the Russians.

In a 1985 article, the Times summarized the opinions of unnamed “experts” regarding Reagan’s SDI:

“They say, a greater threat is that the Soviet Union would elect to significantly increase the numbers and striking power of its offensive missile force, develop a wide array of countermeasures, and possibly create nationwide, more traditional, land-based antiballistic missiles, or ABM, systems, prohibited by the 1972 ABM treaty.”

The following year, Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev proposed in a summit meeting with President Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland, the total elimination of U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons within a decade. There was just one hitch: The United States had to end all research and development of a missile defense shield.

Reagan refused.

Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan meet in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Ken Adelman, Reagan’s arms control director, recalled in his book “Reagan at Reykjavik” that the president “wanted so badly to build it [SDI] and Gorbachev wanted so badly to stop it, that it assumed for them, and practically only for them, a reality it actually lacked.”

The New York Times and their anonymous experts failed to give credit to America’s nimble capitalist prowess in the technology department, but that prowess had Gorbachev and his generals shaking in their boots.

That reality was made manifest on New Year’s Eve of 1991, when Gorbachev presided over the liquidation of the world’s first Marxist state, brought down by an arms race made extremely costly by the threat posed by Reagan’s missile defense system.

“This country was suffocating in the shackles of the bureaucratic command system,” said Gorbachev in a last statement as the Soviet Union’s last leader. “Doomed to cater to ideology, and suffer and carry the onerous burden of the arms race, it found itself at the breaking point.”

The United States will soon test its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (or THAAD) ground-launched missile defense system against the type of threat posed by North Korea’s new ballistic missiles, which it is believed can reach Alaska and Hawaii.

U.S. tests its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (or THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea.

The THAAD test will be conducted under the command of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, which “traces its roots back to the origins of the … SDI. President Reagan launched this initiative … to develop non-nuclear missile defenses,” according to the agency’s website.

U.S. Department of Defense graphic.

It’s no secret that North Korea, like Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, is on the verge of collapse. Yet its deranged leader, Kim Jong-un, spends recklessly on a nuclear arms program while his brutalized people starve.

A U.S. mid-Pacific missile-defense test on Kwajalein island.

It might be time for the U.S. to give North Korea and her financial backer China a Reaganesque arms race to remember—one that uses new and advanced technologies to expand upon Reagan’s vision for missile defense.

One whose military and financial burdens will toss the last vestiges of anachronistic communism atop the ash heap of history.

Steven M. Lopez

Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.