US Vice President Richard Cheney celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ronald Regan’s speech, in which the US president for the first time voiced the plans of the anti-missile Strategic Defense Initiative, which was subsequently dubbed as “Star Wars” and which laid the foundation to the current missile defense program of the United States.
Making a speech at the pro-Republican Heritage Foundation in Washington, Cheney particularly said that Reagan’s idea of the missile defense system contributed to USA’s victory in the Cold War.
Cheney stated that the US had created the trustworthy defense against long-range missile threats which could come from North-Eastern Asia. The next step for the USA would be the deployment of long-range missile defense system in Europe, “to defend our friends and allies,” as Cheney put it.
"In 1972, nine countries had ballistic missiles," Cheney said. "Today, it is at least 27. And that includes hostile regimes that oppress their own people, seek to intimidate and dominate their neighbors and actively support terrorist groups,” he added.
North Korea , Syria and Iran – the countries, which run their own programs to develop ballistic missiles – pose the biggest threat to the USA, Richard Cheney believes.
"Tehran continues to develop technologies that could lead to its building an ICBM capable of striking the United States, perhaps as soon as late in the next decade," Cheney said. "Given all that we do about the Iranian regime's hatred of America, its vow to destroy Israel and its ongoing efforts to develop the technology that could be used for a nuclear weapon, that is a danger every one of us must take seriously."
"It's plain to see that the world around us gives ample reason to continue working on missile defense," Cheney stated.
Having emphasized the fact that a speech at the Heritage foundation was an opportunity to talk about Ronald Reagan’s visionary Strategic Defense Initiative, Cheney made fun of himself and said: I'm sure Ed Feulner [the President of the Heritage Foundation] thought: Well, if we are going to talk about Star Wars, we might as well invite Darth Vader. I'm happy to accept.”
Cheney reminded that 25 years ago, when works on the Strategic Defense Initiatives were underway, Reagan had labeled the Soviet Union “the focus of evil in the modern world.”
“The President argued the competition of the superpowers was not a chess game between two moral equals. Rather, it was a critical chapter in the age-old conflict of good versus evil. To "call the arms race a giant misunderstanding" and declare "both sides equally at fault," he said, was to "ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire." And he refused to yield to those who would "place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority,” Cheney said.
“The world has changed dramatically since the Reagan years. There is no more Soviet Union, and Russia is no longer an enemy. Yet President Reagan would also recognize the other dangers that have emerged, and the urgency of defending ourselves against those dangers. Yes, he would say, the world has changed, but the need for missile defense is still great. And today America does have a President who is strongly committed to a full range of ballistic missile defenses to protect America, our friends, our interests, and the peace of the world,” Richard Cheney said.
Prepared by Dmitry Sudakov