ABM: An Evaluation of the Decision to Deploy an Antiballistic Missile System by Abram & Jerome B. Wiesner--Eds. Chayes

ABM: An Evaluation of the Decision to Deploy an Antiballistic Missile System

Email this review


A highly responsible collection of brief essays by recognized scientists and legal minds, this presents varied arguments against the ABM proposal. Best known among the scientists are Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe of Cornell and co-editor Jerome Wiesner of MIT; outstanding names among the lawyers include Arthur Goldberg, Adam Yarmolinsky, and Abram Chayes (latter two of the Harvard Law faculty). Former Kennedyites like Carl Kaysen and Theodore Sorensen are also represented. Their attack is two-pronged: appropriate experts criticize ABM's unreliability and vulnerability to penetration; other writers ponder the international consequences of deployment (escalation of the arms race; harm to relations with Europe, etc.). There is an interesting essay by Allen Whiting debunking the Chinese ""threat,"" a note by Yarmolinsky on the military-industrial's tendency to keep building bigger and better systems once unleashed, and a fail-safe reminder by former Presidential Assistant Bill Moyers, underlining the haste with which a President would have to decide on deployment. Notably absent is the common charge that the multibillion dollar ABM bill would drain yet more funds from undernourished domestic programs. The editors conclude moderately enough that the government should continue R & D-ing the idea of a missile defense system, while actively concentrating on disarmament negotiations. To appear with an introduction by Senator Edward Kennedy, this is valuable testimony from the Loyal Opposition and should have an impact on the current debate.

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1969
Publisher: Harper & Row