BY THE PRESIDENT ON NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE, ABM WITHDRAWAL
Good morning.I've just concluded a meeting of my National Security Council.
We reviewed what I discussed with my friend, President Vladimir Putin,
over the course of many meetings, many months. And that is the need for
America to move beyond the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile treaty.
have given formal notice to Russia, in accordance with the treaty, that
the United States of America is withdrawing from this almost 30 year old
treaty. I have concluded the ABM treaty hinders our government's ability
to develop ways to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue state
ABM treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union at a much
different time, in a vastly different world. One of the signatories, the
Soviet Union, no longer exists. And neither does the hostility that once
led both our countries to keep thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger
alert, pointed at each other. The grim theory was that neither side would
launch a nuclear attack because it knew the other would respond, thereby
the events of September the 11th made all too clear, the greatest threats
to both our countries come not from each other, or other big powers in
the world, but from terrorists who strike without warning, or rogue states
who seek weapons of mass destruction.
We know that
the terrorists, and some of those who support them, seek the ability to
deliver death and destruction to our doorstep via missile. And we must
have the freedom and the flexibility to develop effective defenses against
those attacks. Defending the American people is my highest priority as
Commander in Chief, and I cannot and will not allow the United States
to remain in a treaty that prevents us from developing effective defenses.
At the same
time, the United States and Russia have developed a new, much more hopeful
and constructive relationship. We are moving to replace mutually assured
destruction with mutual cooperation. Beginning in Ljubljana, and continuing
in meetings in Genoa, Shanghai, Washington and Crawford, President Putin
and I developed common ground for a new strategic relationship. Russia
is in the midst of a transition to free markets and democracy. We are
committed to forging strong economic ties between Russia and the United
States, and new bonds between Russia and our partners in NATO. NATO has
made clear its desire to identify and pursue opportunities for joint action
I look forward
to visiting Moscow, to continue our discussions, as we seek a formal way
to express a new strategic relationship that will last long beyond our
individual administrations, providing a foundation for peace for the years
working closely together as the world rallies in the war against terrorism.
I appreciate so much President Putin's important advice and cooperation
as we fight to dismantle the al Qaeda network in Afghanistan. I appreciate
his commitment to reduce Russia's offensive nuclear weapons. I reiterate
our pledge to reduce our own nuclear arsenal between 1,700 and 2,200 operationally
deployed strategic nuclear weapons. President Putin and I have also agreed
that my decision to withdraw from the treaty will not, in any way, undermine
our new relationship or Russian security.
Putin said in Crawford, we are on the path to a fundamentally different
relationship. The Cold War is long gone. Today we leave behind one of
its last vestiges.
is not a day for looking back. This is a day for looking forward with
hope, and anticipation of greater prosperity and peace for Russians, for
Americans and for the entire world.
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