. For the last decade, since the fall of the Soviet Union and thus the end of the arms race, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has lost whatever purpose and logic it might once have had. It is an absurd obsolescence. In a post-Cold War world, it not only prevents the United States from building defenses against emerging threats of nuclear attack by rogue states, it prevents us from even intelligently (BEG ITAL)testing defensive technologies. Testing today is dumbed down--rockets are purposely slowed down, for example--to meet treaty requirements. In a May speech at the National Press Club, Bush outlined a new strategic doctrine for the United States: To henceforth build both offensive and defensive weapons to suit our budgets and strategic needs, not the restrictions of a defunct treaty nor the objections of foreigners--notably Russians--whose principal concern in life, understandably, is not the national security of the United States. Technically, the ABM Treaty does not need to be abrogated. It expired in 1991 with the death of its only other signatory, the Soviet Union. But just to be sure, and to satisfy those who might refuse to acknowledge that the treaty is null and void anyway, Bush should simultaneously exercise America's right under the treaty to withdraw from it on six months' notice. What will that do? Scandalize liberals, alarm the media and immediately bring on a debate that Bush can only win. Defenses are not only the next inevitable step in the evolution of missile technology, they are overwhelmingly popular with the American people. Let the other guy argue that we must continue to leave our cities and people utterly defenseless against ballistic missile attack because of a treaty signed 29 years ago with a country that no longer exists. Pardon your predecessor. Open the avenue. Throw off the shackles of a dead treaty. Not in the first 100 days but in the first 100 minutes. Let Washington, and the world, know you've arrived, Mr. President.