Igor Ivanov


Igor Ivanov & The Abm Treaty Essay, Research Paper

In Igor Ivanov’s article “The Missile Defense Mistake:

Undermining Strategic Stability and the ABM Treaty,” he

writes not as a universal moralist, but as a proud

Russian citizen and official, holding on to the state of

the world 30 years ago. In 1972 a treaty between the

former Soviet Union and the United States was signed,

forbidding the development and construction of an

Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Defense System. While this

treaty was sufficient for 1972, it is no longer, and now

could threaten the national security of both nations if

upheld. Thirty years ago, the US and USSR were the only

real nuclear world powers, any treaty was signed between

the two countries that dealt with nuclear arms,

basically dealt with all nuclear arms. This is no

longer the case today. China, Korea, India, and Iraq

are burgeoning nuclear powers that cannot be handled as

if they fall into line with the way that the US and USSR

handled things. The doctrine of mutually assured

destruction kept things in check because the nuclear

arsenals of each country were intended to be used to win

a world war. This was looked at objectively and both

nations agreed that all that would happen is that we all

die. The new nuclear states, especially India and

Pakistan, are not so interested in dominating the world,

but having a decisive victory over their historical

rival neighbor. It is states like this that a US ABM

system would be built to protect against, not our former

adversary, the USSR. It is in this simple fact that

Ivanov shows he is not appealing to a universal moral

standard. As a citizen and leader of Russia, Ivanov is

surely proud of his country, everyone should be proud of

his homeland. The USSR was, during the height of the

Cold War, the only real threat to the national security

of the USA. Now that the Cold War has ended, and the

Soviet Union has broken into smaller states, the USSR

has lost some of its former imposing stature. Wanting

to still be one of the major powers, Ivanov says that

our ABM system would be directed all but solely at

Russia. The real threats, as sort of wildcard nuclear

powers, are the newly defined ‘problem states’ in

Southeast Asia and the Middle East. In this way of

thinking and writing, Ivanov appeals not to a universal

moral standard, but to a proud mother Russia. Ivanov’s

belief that an US ABM system would spark a new arms race

is not as far fetched as this author wants it to be;

but, would it not be more prudent to have a defense

system for missiles that are in the control of radical

leaders, who, in the case of Saddam Hussein, think very

little about the good of all, and, have a problem with a

world council (in the form of the UN) telling him what

to do. If he were to unleash a nuclear missile on the

USA, it seems much more effective to have an ABM system

waiting to intercept it than a thick notebook of paper,

signed almost thirty years ago, by men who did try their

best, but could never have foreseen the threat realized

today of a radical leader, with his hand on the button

of such great destructive force.

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