While listening to a great panel at the Carnegie conference about the US and Russian nuclear options, I was reminded of a great quote from Ed Ifft illustrating the value of legally-binding arms control agreements.
During a recent “ACA event,”:http://www.armscontrol.org/events/20070611_USRussiaTranscript.asp Ifft argued that such agreements help nations avoid defense planning based on worst-case scenarios. He did so by illustrating the absurdity of current US-Russian tensions over the Bush administration’s missile defense plans for Europe:
bq. If you think about it, *the Americans are trying to build a system to counter an Iranian ICBM which does not exist. The Russians are developing systems to penetrate a U.S. ABM system which does not exist.* There’s a certain parallel there. The point is that this is *one of the great virtues of legally binding arms control agreements is that people then do not have to make worst-case assumptions about what the world will look like ten or fifteen years in the future.*
FYI, Jeffrey had a “good post”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1551/frickin-extend-start-already about the event that you should also read.