Published On: Sat, Mar 23rd, 2019

Remembering Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ speech on anti-missile defense

On March 23, 1983 President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation to announce that the United States would embark on a program to develop antimissile technology. Reagan asserted that the move would make the country nearly impervious to an attack by nuclear missiles.

Reagan’s speech marked the beginning of what came to be known as the controversial Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

The ambitious initiative was “widely criticized as being unrealistic, even unscientific” and was nicknamed “Star Wars.”

Check out the video below.

Four years later, in 1987, the American Physical Society concluded that a global shield such as “Star Wars” was not only impossible with existing technology, but that ten more years of research was needed to learn whether it might ever be feasible.

The Soviets feared that SDI would enable the United States to launch a first-strike against them.

“There was one vital factor in the ending of the Cold War. It was Ronald Reagan’s decision to go ahead with the Strategic Defense Initiative,” Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said.

“Our leadership was convinced that the great technical potential of the U.S. had scored again,” said Soviet Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Dobrynin. “Behind all this [SDI program] lies the clear calculation that the USSR will exhaust its material resources, and therefore will finally be forced to surrender,” added USSR Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Another foreign minister, Alexander Bessmertnykh, agreed: “[Reagan’s SDI speech] made us realize we were in a very dangerous place. [SDI] accelerated the decline of the Soviet Union.”

Senior Russian foreign policy analyst Genrikh Trofimenko said, in retrospect, “Ninety-nine percent of Russian people believe that you won the Cold War because of your President’s insistence on SDI.”

In his 1991 State of the Union address, President George H.W. Bush shifted the focus of SDI from defense of North America against large-scale strikes to a system focusing on theater missile defense — which he dubbed Global Protection Against Limited Strikes.

In 1993, the program was renamed under President Bill Clinton to Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the focus shifted to a local protective shield or range instead of the broad world scope. This became the precursor to the anti-ballistic missiles used today.

Some historians misreport that the SDI program was shelved due to the lack of funding when it evolved and changed into a completely different viable program birthed from the President decades ago.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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