Date of Award
Political Science & International Relations
In order to fully explore the effect this lack of education has had on American thought, I will first take a look at the aforementioned Congressmen. Cochran and Weldon have both sponsored extremely similar legislation pertaining to NMD, in particular, it was a version of their two plans that became the Defend America Act. I have also selected these two because of their unique NMD policy-making involvement. In addition, I feel their opinions and biases are representative of their respective house in Congress due to their standings in various defense and appropriations committees. And, because this issue carries little weight in their constituencies with regard to their reelections, the motivation these two men possess to be a significant force in this debate is questionable. The fact that both men have been vociferous in their support for NMD in the halls o f Congress seems to be for interests other than their constituents. Secondarily, it is necessary to look at what industries are swaying these men as well as their colleagues. I offer the term the “Big Four” to describe the largest corporations involved with NMD: Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, TRW, Inc., and Raytheon who have formed a “symbiosis” that would reap $240 billion from the system over the next 10 to 15 years.14 There are hundreds other companies that stand to benefit from research and development pork, but over half of it goes to the Big Four.15 These four companies have a very similar if not identical strategy as Cochran and Weldon: that of
silence. It is usually an industry taboo to do any sort o f direct lobbying to the public regarding NMD. Boeing attempted it and was shamed by its competitors/allies.16 Finally, I will look at how public opinion is shaping these issues if at all. By keeping the public unaware of the consequences surrounding NMD and allowing what little information actually disseminated to be biased by hawks who owe favors to narrow constituent groups, (such as Boeing’s very limited campaign for NMD) the picture created is a very sketchy and glorified view o f NMD.17 But does this matter to government officials? Probably not. Congress is well aware o f what James Lindsay calls “apathetic internationalism;” that people in the United States have opinions on international issues that they really don’t care much about.18 Since the inception of the latest, most widely recognized NMD system in 1998, poll data has always put public opinion in favor, if only slightly, of deploying an NM D19—regardless of the dearth of information made available to the public on such a weighty and important issue. Yet R&D dollars haven’t dramatically increased and poll-dependent president Clinton was somewhat temperate on the issue. It seems as though our democracy, in which we supposedly have access to our government’s policymaking process, has been circumvented on the issue of NMD.
Koski, Chris, "Uninforming the USEvaluating the Effects of Public Opinion on the Possible Deployment of a National Missile Defense System" (2001). Political Science and International Relations Undergraduate Theses. 11.