Dear Members and Friends,
“Now, even as we prosecute two wars, we’re also confronting perhaps the greatest danger to the American people — the threat of nuclear weapons. I’ve embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons and seeks a world without them.”
“Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation’s security to constitute maximum peril. Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift, that any substantially increased possibility of their use or any sudden change in their deployment may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace.
My fellow citizens: let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can see precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead–months in which our patience and our will be tested–months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.
The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are–but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high–and Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.
Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right- -not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”
“Since the dawn of the atomic age, we have sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. Deterrence means simply this: Making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States or our allies or our vital interests concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won’t attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.
This strategy of deterrence has not changed. It still works. But what it takes to maintain deterrence has changed. It took one kind of military force to deter an attack when we had far more nuclear weapons than any other power; it takes another kind now that the Soviets, for example, have enough accurate and powerful nuclear weapons to destroy virtually all of our missiles on the ground. Now this is not to say that the Soviet Union is planning to make war on us. Nor do I believe a war is inevitable – quite the contrary. But what must be recognized is that our security is based on being prepared to meet all threats.
There was a time when we depended on coastal forts and artillery batteries because, with the weaponry of that day, any attack would have had to come by sea. Well, this is a different world and our defenses must be based on recognition and awareness of the weaponry possessed by other nations in the nuclear age.
We can’t afford to believe that we will never be threatened. There have been two world wars in my lifetime. We didn’t start them and, indeed, did everything we could to avoid being drawn into them. But we were ill-prepared for both – had we been better prepared, peace might have been preserved…”
But with these considerations firmly in mind, I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”
Ballistic Missile Defense is a historic element to ensuring peace for the American Public in the nuclear world we live in. President John F Kennedy deployed Missile Defense systems in the 1960’s and President Ronald Reagan led a vision in the 1980’s that is becoming a reality today.
Last night, President Barack Obama promised to embrace the vision of President Kennedy and President Reagan in regards to protecting our nation and world against the proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Next week’s announcement of the Administration’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the Ballistic Missile Defense Review and the 2010 budget request on Missile Defense will reflect the level of commitment by this Administration.