Apr 4, 2023
Forty years ago, 'Return of the Jedi' opened in movie theaters, but 1983 also was a big year for another kind of 'Star Wars.' Two months before the movie premiered, President Ronald Reagan delivered a nationally televised address announcing an initiative to build a space-based missile shield that would use lasers to shoot down incoming ICBMs. Derisively dubbed "Star Wars" by skeptics -- skeptics who were right to doubt its feasibility -- Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative never amounted to anything useful. It was, however, part of Reagan's vision for a world free of nuclear weapons, a vision he successfully pursued in negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In this episode, Joseph Cirincione, an expert on nuclear non-proliferation and national defense, discusses how the world has moved a long way in the wrong direction from the "golden age" of nuclear arms reduction treaties.