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Soviet Perceptions of the Sdi

  • Date Submitted: 05/16/2010 02:31 PM
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Soviet Perceptions of the SDI

What are the Soviet perceptions of the Strategic Defense Initiative and how it is still relevant in the current Russian worldview, particularly in regard to the proposed US National Missile Defense program?   What is the proper US response?

Submitted by:

Tina Nicole


Intelligence & Homeland Security

March 2010


      In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appeared on national television and announced to the American people his plans for a new directive - the Strategic Defense Initiative.     President Reagan was adamant about nuclear arms control, and was passionate about keeping the people of his country safe.   He was confident that when fully developed and put into place, the SDI would prevent a nuclear war.

      The Strategic Defense Initiative was announced by President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983, but the history behind the directive and the strong opinions it gained from the Soviets actually began decades before.   On March 12, 1947, President Truman enunciated the Truman Doctrine, which essentially was clearly an anti-communist doctrine. This amounted to an American declaration of war upon Communist Russia (HW Poon n.d.).   And for the past 63 years, the differences between the two superpowers of Russian and the United States have continued to escalate as knowledge and technology have.   But their differences have not been driven primarily by threats or technology, but by politics (Cirincione 2000).   Both countries and their leaders are well aware of their limitations in regards to humanity, but neither has ever wanted to appear to be the weaker and neither trusts the other to keep their word.

Research on ABM (anti-ballistic missile) systems began in the early 1950s. By the late 1960s, a nuclear-tipped interceptor missile dubbed Sentinel had been developed. It was designed to destroy incoming warheads by detonating near them, and was intended to protect against launch of one or several...


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