Ray McGovern Puts Anti-Missile Defense in a 45-Year Perspective

Drawing on his lengthy experience analyzing Russia’s foreign and security policy, Ray addressed the issue of anti-ballistic missile defense in historical context at a Webinar on February 13, 2017.  The audience was/is comprised of specialists interested in what implications the U.S.-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972 might have for the U.S. area-defense missile system now being emplaced in the Far East.

Members of CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch, which Ray led in the 70s, were personally involved in the U.S.-Soviet SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) in Vienna and Helsinki that prepared the ABM Treaty for signature in May 1972. The CIA had told President Nixon that we could verify Soviet compliance, and Nixon decided to trust.  Ray was in Moscow when Nixon came to sign the Treaty, which was the linchpin of strategic equilibrium and stability until President George W. Bush stepped out of the Treaty in 2001.

At the Webinar, Ray showed two slides and two short video clips to illustrate recent trends in U.S. and Russian attitudes toward the post-ABM Treaty world.  In Ray’s view, President Putin is genuinely concerned at the current strategic disequilibrium, worried that it could get still worse, were there a breakthrough in U.S. technology, and mystified as to why Washington seems reluctant to take into account what he believes are his legitimate concerns.