Time for cooperative missile defense now
By John Adams - 07/05/11 12:29 PM ET
Last week we saw Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards conducted ballistic missile exercises. This
show of bravado is not just worrisome, it demonstrates to all that missiles in the wrong handsthreaten our friends and even our homeland. Matched with the Iranian nuclear ambitions, we areentering a very dangerous time.It is clear we need to move out of the old mindset, and realize we are facing new threats and newpotential enemies. We need a new response.The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the most successful defense alliance the worldhas ever seen, must adapt to protect our values and way of life for the next 60 years, as it did forthe previous.
Recently, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has raised important questions about the alliance’s
durability. European capabilities have not kept pace with those of America, principally becausethere has been no consensus about shared threats and risks.Last year, at Lisbon, NATO allies finally embraced missile defense cooperation as an integralpart of its strategy. NATO leaders also agreed to extend the area for cooperation to Russia, andinitiated the development of a comprehensive joint analysis of the future framework for broadermissile defense cooperation.These decisions should be transformational, amounting to one of the most meaningful evolutionsof alliance strategy since NATO expansion.In Washington, however, some continue to use missile defense for narrow, partisan ends. Theyprey on lingering Cold War fears to score cheap political points at the expense of our nationalinterest and security.As we see from the Iranian exercises, we face real adversaries that even now are buildingweapons to target our cities and those of our friends. Now is the time to invest resources andpolitical capital in systems that are flexible and effective, that respond to the real threat we face,not those of the past.