President Reagan's Ambitious Star Wars Defense Plan

By | January 26, 2022

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President Reagan declaring more a of hope than a reality. history

In 1983, President Reagan announced his Strategic Defense Initiative, which sounded like a bad Steven Segal movie crossed with “Back To The Future.” The highly implausible and even more costly program earned widespread criticism from government officials but general approval from Americans. Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy dubbed it “reckless 'Star Wars' schemes” and the name stuck.

At that time the Cold War’s threat of imminent nuclear annihilation hung over America like a guillotine. Despite the “Star Wars Defense” improbability and colossal cost, people, including the President, yearned for a solution to the threat of complete nuclear destruction however unlikely.

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The Conceit

On March 23rd, 1983, President Reagan addressed the nation, “I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”

It’s ironic that the nation that developed the boogeyman known as nuclear weapons now wanted the devil back in the closet. Unfortunately, creating a missile and laser array system that combined both satellites and ground projectiles remained even beyond "Doc Brown” and his Delorean.