Strategic Weapons: February 8, 2001


Cracks are showing in the European resolve to oppose a US missile defense system. Francois Heisbourg, a highly respected French defense analyst, warned that the American people were unlikely to take kindly to European pressure not to defend themselves. He warned that American missile defense was going to happen no matter what Europe did, and that Europeans should seek to direct and influence the program rather than continue a vain attempt to stop it. British Conservative opposition leader William Hague supported the Bush Administration's plan for missile defense, something that would have been political suicide only five years ago. His move indicates that a significant number of Britons, perhaps a majority, now support the plan, and only days after the announcement Prime Minister Tony Blair (expected to win new elections in a few months) hinted that he would not reject an American request for help in such a program, a major reversal of his previous policy statements.Stephen V Cole


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