Strategic Weapons: February 4, 2000

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: The US has asked Britain to allow the use of the Flyingdales radar station as an early warning post for the National Missile Defense System. Warning posts for the Pacific region could be placed on various US-owned islands. The British, however, have set a stiff price: they want the US defense system to cover Britain as well. There is a problem with this, in that the US interceptors will be stationed in Alaska (or North Dakota) where they cannot protect Britain. One possibility is to build a second interceptor base in Britain, but the 1972 ABM Treaty limits each nation to a single interceptor base. This would require renegotiating the treaty, or perhaps declaring an interceptor base in Britain to be a European resource not covered by the Treaty. The Russians might not consider this within the spirit of the treaty, and the Europeans (other than the British) have shown little interest in an anti-missile system. --Stephen V Cole

 


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