The British Sabotaged
the Second Attempt
for an SDI with Russia
by Dean Andromidas
Feb. 2—In 1992 the British government of then Prime Minister John Major intervened to sabotage efforts by Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President George H.W. Bush to conclude agreements that would have led to cooperation on ballistic missile defense. Such an agreement to end the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine, would have led to the revival of President Ronald Reagan’s original Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), proposed in 1983. Lyndon H. LaRouche was one of the key architects of that project.
Secret cabinet documents released last month by the British National Archives, reveal that Bush “was prepared to discuss sharing that technology with Boris Yeltsin, after they met at Camp David in February 1992, and declared a formal end to the Cold war.” Material in the disclosed files includes descriptions of what the program would entail, including “a mixture of land-based and space-based systems,” and “particle beam, lasers, and even chemical lasers to knock out incoming missiles.”
The British documents expressed grave concern over Bush’s communication with U.S. allies, in which he proposed that there be a NATO-led system, with Russia as the “principal partner.” In response, Sir Stephen Wall, Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Prime Minister John Major’s government, wrote to the Foreign Office, warning that America “assumed Russia would permanently be a good guy,” adding, “We could not make that assumption.”
A briefing note by British diplomats stated that their real concern was the end of the policy of MAD: “Any significant increase in Russian ability to detect and intercept our Trident missiles would make it more difficult and more costly to meet our deterrent criteria.”
British diplomats noted that Washington—clearly under British pressure—had “taken to heart” the inherent problems of the East and West sharing defense systems, and backed off from the proposal.
British Feared Second SDI
Her Majesty’s government had good reason to fear a new SDI agreement between the United States and Russia, because the Russians—by 1992—had fully accepted the proposals made by Lyndon LaRouche which they had rejected in 1983.
In a speech delivered in Washington on Feb. 17, 1982, LaRouche launched a campaign to ditch the so-called “Deterrent” nuclear strategy. MAD, which had brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon, and to replace it with a strategy of mutually assured survival through the joint U.S.-Soviet development of anti-ballistic missile systems based on “new physical principles.” LaRouche asserted that such a policy would serve as a science driver, bringing new technologies into the civilian economy and creating a foundation for unprecedented rates of economic growth and development. LaRouche‘s effort bore fruit on March 23, 1983, when President Ronald Reagan announced a Strategic Defense Initiative based on the principles laid out by LaRouche.
Parallel to this public campaign in 1982, LaRouche engaged in a back channel with Soviet officials to promote the policy on behalf of the Reagan Administration. While there had been significant agreement between LaRouche and his Soviet interlocutor on the feasibility of such systems, when Reagan announced the SDI, the Soviet leadership, under General Secretary Yuri Andropov, rejected it. The Soviet Union’s leaders, LaRouche was informed, feared that the U.S. economy could readily absorb these new technologies, while the Soviet system would lag far behind, giving the United States the strategic advantage. Thus they refused to cooperate or to share these technologies with the United States, but would develop their own system.
In response, LaRouche warned the Soviets that if they refused the SDI offer and tried to develop their own system and engage in a military buildup, the entire Soviet economy would collapse within five years.
When the Soviets launched a campaign against the SDI, they found ready allies in Britain and America who were committed to the MAD doctrine.
At a meeting with President Reagan in 1984, then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made clear that her government would support research but would not support any deployment or cooperation on ballistic missile defense with the Soviet Union. Thatcher clearly feared that such a policy would render Britain’s own nuclear weapons obsolete. It should be noted that Sir Steven Wall, mentioned above, the Permanent Secretary to Prime Minister Major, who advised against a second SDI, had been stationed at the British Embassy in Washington in 1983.
As part of the effort to kill the SDI, a campaign was conducted personally targeting LaRouche. In the United States this was spearheaded by none other than Robert Mueller, the same Mueller who is today leading the coup effort against President Donald Trump. The frame-up tactics of Mueller, a member of the team of U.S. Attorneys, put LaRouche in prison in 1989.
The SDI all but died after the Reagan Administration. Nonetheless, by 1989, as LaRouche had forecast, the Soviet Union and its economy collapsed.
The Russian Reversal
By October 1991, two years into the collapse of the Soviet economy, the Russian security establishment made a 180-degree turn on the SDI. The Russian government then was ready to propose its own initiative for U.S.-Russian cooperation, based on LaRouche’s original design.
By October 1991 Yevgeny P. Velikhov, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Academy of Sciences and formerly a well-known Soviet critic of the SDI, and also of Russian ballistic missile defense, had changed his view. When asked if there was still Russian opposition to the SDI, he replied: “There are practically none among either designers or the military. The critics of such a proposal in both Russia and the United States are rather maniacs obsessed with old ideas and they have no influence.” (See K.B. Payne, L. Vlahos and W. Stanley, “Yeltsin’s Global Shield: Russia Recasts the SDI Debate,” Policy Review, No. 62, Fall 1992, page 79.)
In January 1992, at a special United Nations Security Council meeting of heads of state and government, President Boris Yeltsin proposed a “global defense system for the world community,” to be “based on a reorientation of the United States Strategic Defense Initiative, to make use of high technologies developed in Russia’s defense complex.”
At that same session of the UNSC, President George H.W. Bush said he “noted the constructive comments of President Yeltsin here today, and tomorrow in my meeting with him we will continue the search for common ground on this vitally important issue. He responded with some very serious proposals just the other day.”
Further discussion ensued at Camp David in February 1992, during Yeltsin’s official visit and summit with Bush. Yevgeny P. Velikhov, a member of the Russian delegation, no doubt made a full presentation of the Russian proposals.
In June 1992 Velikhov penned an article in Nezavisimaya Gazeta outlining a potential proposal for a supra-national ABM system, which would be initiated jointly by Russia and the United States, and later be opened to other countries. The first step could be the establishment of a joint early warning system to be followed by cooperation in defense technologies and development.
Later, that same month, at yet another summit between Bush and Yeltsin in Washington, Yeltsin proposed the creation of a “Global Protection System” (GPS). It was agreed to form a high-level group led by Dennis Ross, then head of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and Bush’s chief adviser on Russia, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgi Mamedov.
This high-level group met in Moscow on July 13-14. As a result, an agreement was reached to create three working groups which would develop the GPS concept, areas of technological cooperation, and non-
proliferation issues. These groups again met in Washington on September 21-22.
By November 1992 Bush had lost the election and the proposals died with the end of his Administration.
Why It Failed
We now know the British role in sabotaging that 1992 effort, which included orchestrating the collapse of Yugoslavia, which led to the subsequent Balkan wars, resulting in the poisoning of Russian-American relations.
The Russian proposal was doomed to failure by the “shock therapy” policy forced on Russia, the former Soviet republics, and the eastern European countries. The key target of this scorched earth policy was the scientific capabilities of the very military-industrial complex that Russia was offering to open up for cooperation with the West. The British-orchestrated strategic policy of NATO became the destruction of Russia.
If Bush had been seriously committed to the Russian GPS offer, he would have pardoned Lyndon LaRouche, releasing him from prison—and taking his advice, as President Reagan had done. Already in 1990, LaRouche had launched his Productive Triangle proposal to link the high tech machine tool capacity of Europe’s industrial heartland—in the region bounded by Berlin, Paris and Vienna—to all of Eurasia by building a network of transport and development corridors, which would have created a Eurasian land-bridge. Such a policy would have transformed Russia’s high tech military industrial complex into a science driver for a blossoming Eurasian economy.
To prevent the significant interest in LaRouche’s Productive Triangle policy throughout the 1990s from leading to its implementation, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher ensnared President Bush in a war against Iraq, which sabotaged the initial momentum. Thatcher then further undermined U.S. relations with Russia by pushing the notorious economic and financial shock therapy policy.
Two decades later, China launched LaRouche’s policy, but instead of going from West to East, the policy went from East to West, first as its New Silk Road and now as its Belt and Road Initiative.
A Third Offer for a New SDI
In April 1993, at his first summit in Vancouver with President Bill Clinton, Yeltsin once again made a proposal for cooperation for a new SDI. The proposal called for a joint development of a powerful, ground-based “Joint Plasma Weapon Experiment.” This detailed proposal was made public in an article published in Izvestia on April 2, 1993, just days before the summit. The fact that this proposal was presented at Vancouver was confirmed by a senior Russian official, Dr. Leonid Fituni, of the Center for Global and Strategic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He revealed it on April 20, 1993 before an international conference in Rome on anti-missile defense for Europe.
Although the proposal did not appear in the final summit communiqué, its presentation was again confirmed in an article appearing in the June 19, 1993 issue of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, entitled “Bill Clinton Has Shut Down Star Wars: How This Could Threaten Conversion of the Military Industrial Complex of Russia.” Author Andrei Vaganov stated that, according to Russian economists, the Clinton Administration decision to shut down the SDI program, and its failure to accept the Russian proposals, threatened to further undermine the Russian Military Industrial Complex (MIC). The economists, in almost the precise terms LaRouche has always asserted, said that economic breakthroughs, “paradoxical as it may be, lie in the internationalization of defense industry efforts and, to an even greater degree, defense-linked science, by posing for them a qualitatively new, single super-task. Many analysts in recent years have leaned toward the view that a variant of the well-known Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which acquired the unofficial name of the ‘Star Wars’ program, could be such a super-task.”
Elaborating on the Yeltsin proposal, Vaganov said “The civilian economy and the MIC are Siamese twins: two individuals, united by a single circulatory system. The main economic interest of the MIC (under both socialism and capitalism) consists of guaranteed subsidies for the production of technologically complex products. . . . The creation of a global system of strategic defense . . . would automatically presume the creation of a channel of guaranteed financing, without which the MICs cannot survive among nations.” He said that an international supervisory agency was envisioned, which would have overseen “the gradual orientation of Star Wars from a military-political task to the tasks of the civilian economy, those of pure science, and the tasks of civil society.”
Commenting at the time on the above article and Russian proposal, LaRouche said, “What you see in this article, is that Russian circles which are tied to the high-tech section of the military-industrial complex, and others, are offering exactly what I offered tentatively on behalf of the Reagan administration back during 1982 through February 1983, and what the President offered in his televised address on March 23, 1983. And they have come around to that. It is very interesting.”
This 1993 attempt to revive the SDI has been all but written out of the history books, at least in the West, despite the fact that the LaRouche movement launched a major campaign in support of it.
Putin Takes Up LaRouche’s SDI
In 2007 Russian President Vladimir Putin made a third effort to revive SDI during his summit meeting with President George W. Bush at Kennebunkport, where former President George H.W. Bush was also present. Putin proposed that the United States and Russia jointly create a regional European missile shield, instead of the unilateral deployment of ABM radar facilities by the United States to Poland and other countries, a decision which plagues U.S.-Russian relations to this day. While the proposal was taken seriously, it was never fully accepted by the George W. Bush Administration.
White House/Eric Draper
In 2011, during the Obama Administration, Dmitri Rogozin, then Moscow’s ambassador to NATO and now Deputy Prime Minister, transformed the proposal for a new SDI into a call to create a joint program for the Strategic Defense of Earth, using the same technologies, “based on new physical principles,” to defend the planet from threats from space, including meteors and asteroids.
It is now known that Her Majesty’s government had been working all along to sabotage all of these golden opportunities to transform relations between America and Russia from the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction to Mutually Assured Survival and cooperation. The documents confirm that Her Majesty’s government has been driving a wedge between Russia and the United States.
These same documents confirm that Russia had completely accepted LaRouche’s design for SDI as a joint U.S.-Russian project to shift strategic doctrine from MAD to strategic cooperation on building systems of defense based on “new physical principles.” They also show that there were policy makers prepared to discuss and even accept these proposals.
The threat of nuclear Armageddon that existed in 1983 continues to persist, with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet several times over, and nuclear disarmament talks are as futile now as they were then. The implementation of LaRouche’s proposal for a U.S.-Russian SDI is as urgent now as it was three decades ago.
Unlike three decades ago, China’s implementation of its Belt and Road Initiative has concretely put into place the economic development policy LaRouche has always advocated as the major complement to SDI. A new SDI will eliminate the danger of nuclear war while developing the science and technology required for the global development promised by the Belt and Road.