It is now nearly 40 years since a U.S. president proposed defending America against Russian nuclear attack. That last bid for strategic homeland defense was launched by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, and it was later shelved when the Soviet Union collapsed. But Moscow still possesses the ability to wipe out American civilization in an afternoon with its nuclear arsenal, as President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly reminded us since the Ukraine crisis began. Isn’t it time that Washington begins thinking seriously about how to develop real defense of the homeland, rather than just the ability to retaliate? Even if Putin’s recent threats are empty, the current U.S. strategic posture can’t cope with an irrational adversary that is undeterrable, an accidental launch, or an unauthorized attack. If the Pentagon had spent all the money it wasted in Iraq instead on developing missile defenses, we might by this time have a fairly imposing capability. Instead, Washington drifts in a dreamland of unprovable strategic assumptions as it awaits the day when deterrence finally fails. We can do better. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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