What the ABM Treaty Means

Treaty Means

For a U.S. Senator, Sam Nunn is unusually laconic. Last week, to make matters worse, he was suffering from laryngitis. But the Georgia Democrat, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had a lot to say, so he stocked up on throat lozenges. In a series of speeches in the Senate, he addressed one of the most important arms-control questions today: Does the 1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty permit the U.S. to develop and test a space-based Star Wars system?

The Reagan Administration, eager to move ahead with its Strategic Defense Initiative, says yes. Last week -- at great length, his voice...