In a sales pitch for missile defense, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld shared satellite photos, videotape and other sensitive intelligence with skeptical NATO allies Thursday, arguing that emerging threats from Libya and elsewhere require a new response from the West.
At his first North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting since becoming Pentagon chief, Rumsfeld told allies it is "inescapable" that the United States will move beyond the decades-old treaty limitations on missile defenses, though he did not say when. He stressed that Washington will consult with the Europeans and Russia to find a "new framework" enabling the Pentagon to test and deploy defenses against ballistic missiles.
The allies generally agree that new threats are emerging, but they differ on how to respond. Many believe that the solution should be political, not military. Others fear that abandoning the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which prohibits the kind of shield the U.S. is contemplating, would undermine European security.