Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this study examines the U.S. withdrawal from the antiballistic missile (ABM) treaty. The ABM Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later Russia) barred both superpowers from deploying national defenses against long-range ballistic missiles and from building the foundation for such defenses. The treaty was based on the premise of mutual assured destruction, the belief that stability was ensured by each superpower having confidence in its ability to destroy the other, and the likelihood that if either power constructed a strategic defense, the other would build up its offensive nuclear forces to overwhelm it. The superpowers would therefore find themselves in a never-ending offensive-defensive arms race as each tried to assure the credibility of its offensive nuclear force. The treaty did, however, allow both sides to build defenses against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The ABM Treaty was negotiated and signed concurrently with the Interim Agreement on strategic offensive arms (commonly known as SALT I)—the first in what became a series of U.S.-Soviet strategic arms control agreements that first capped, and later reduced, the strategic nuclear arsenals of the two superpowers. For this reason, both countries, when adversaries, considered the treaty a "cornerstone of strategic stability"' But with the Cold War over, missile defense advocates, including Joseph, felt that the ABM Treaty's ban on nationwide missile defenses and its restraints on development and testing prevented the United States from developing and deploying defenses against the proliferating threat of ballistic missiles, especially from countries pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities and long-range missiles. In the months before the President delivered his NDU speech, Secretary of State Colin Powell was the most insistent among Bush's principal advisors that the President not make an abrupt announcement of U.S. withdrawal from the treaty without having laid the diplomatic groundwork for this decision. Powell advocated a gradual and deliberate approach to withdrawal that would be preceded by a process of diplomatic consultation. Secretary Powell's views emerged at a time when the United States was receiving considerable criticism at home and abroad for eschewing multilateralism and becoming too dismissive of international agreements and multilateral endeavors. Powell's perspective was based, in part, on the belief that the United States could conduct significant research and testing activities without bumping up against the ABM Treaty's constraints, and thus it was not necessary, as a programmatic matter, to withdraw from the treaty at that time. Or as John Bolton, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, more colorfully described Powell's views: "[The Department of] Defense had not progressed far enough operationally on missile defense for us to tank the ABM Treaty now."