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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Strategic Defense Initiative

Ali M El-Haj

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 June 2020

Outer space — Weapons — Treaties, interpretation

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 On 23 March 1983, President Ronald Reagan introduced, in a televised speech, a programme that became officially known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (‘SDI’). SDI, also dubbed ‘Star Wars’ by its critics, sought to defend the United States from an attack by ballistic missiles, which could carry nuclear warheads. Nuclear war with the Soviet Union had previously been deterred by the policy of mutual assured destruction (‘MAD’). Accordingly, the world’s two superpowers would be deterred from initiating a nuclear attack on the other because each one knew the...
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