chapter  2
26 Pages

The missile defence pragmatist – George H. W. Bush (1989–1993)

This period then raises a number of interesting questions. First, why did Bush continue to favour a large-scale BMD system consisting of hundreds of interceptors and space-based assets, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and regardless of the fact that the relevant technological capability to do so did not exist? Second, why did a Democratically controlled Congress unite behind legislation mandating deployment of a national missile defence system in 1991, despite being strongly opposed to such a plan in 1989, 1990 and again in 1992, and regardless of the inherent limitations of technology? Third, why did Bush and Congress have such different and competing notions of what type of BMD programme should be pursued? In order to understand these questions the chapter examines the interplay between international, technological and domestic influences, and at how these combined to produce the complex and sometimes counterintuitive policy outcomes described above.