Let’s review a bit: recall when Jimmy Carter became President in the late 70s, believing the Soviets were not a threat, he cancelled the B1 Bomber Program and significantly reduced the American defense budget. What that did was to essentially force the US to accept nuclear parity with the Soviet Union. And yes, there was the SALT I Treaty which recognized the Soviet Union as equal in every respect. SALT II was never ratified by Congress; without ratification, both countries, the US and the Soviet Union were still supposed to hold to the terms. Of course, the Soviets ignored them. They invaded Afghanistan and deployed 200 SS20 missiles in East Germany, causing Europe to beg for help. Chancellor of West Germany Helmut Schmidt was frantic because the SS20 was a new kind of missile. All of Europe was within its range which was about 2300 kilometers. The missile had three warheads and it was mobile so it could easily be moved around wherever the Soviets needed. But the president had a better idea, a defensive weapon known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, which was rolled out to the American people in a national televised address, 40 years ago this month.

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