YALTA, Ukraine (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton on Friday cast doubt on the effectiveness of a planned U.S. missile shield, deriding it as a “colossal waste of money”.
Clinton said the defense system, parts of which are to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, had created unnecessary difficulties with Russia, which denounces the plan as an attempt to undermine its defense capabilities.
“My facts may be wrong, but my impression is that we are creating a crisis here when none is necessary,” Clinton told a conference in the Ukrainian resort of Yalta on the ex-Soviet state’s relationship with Europe.
“Because I don’t think the missile defense system is reliable enough to create an impact.”
He suggested it was more logical to return to the reasoning of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s long abandoned “star wars” projects of the 1980s intended to counter hostile missile systems.
“He wanted the Russians to have it, he wanted everyone to have it,” he told the conference. “Unless they work better than I think they do, it’s a colossal waste of money.”
The United States says the system is intended to defend against missiles launched from “rogue states” such as Iran or North Korea.