Or, more specifically, no US controlled missiles in Canada.
In his Christmas time interviews with the Canadian media, Paul Martin has now indicated that one of his major beefs with the US Administration on the BMD shield is Canadian control and sovereignty.
Martin says whether Canada participates or not, no missiles will be installed on Canadian soil.
This smells like a bit of a deflection by Mr. Martin to me… because even in the Cold War days I don’t Canada deployed any sort of missile capabilities in their efforts with NORAD. So to suggest that saying “no” to missiles is good enough doesn’t cut it because that option isn’t even on the table for most Canadians.
What Canadians care about is the utility and overall effect of this new Anti-ICBM shield. Will it actually stop a “rogue” ICBM strike?
Not if the success (or total lack thereof) of their recent tests (Dec 12) are any indication.
Remember, President Bush said this thing was supposed to be “operational” by 2004. Ummm… ya anyway.
And what about those “rogue” states. What is their reaction to the ABM:
Well, if you read this Executive Summary from the Nixon Centre:
It has been a cliché of the missile-defense debate that a U.S. deployment would be enormously controversial abroad. We seemed to be heading toward the perverse result that a defensive system designed to protect against rogue states would do major harm to our relations with all the other major powers. But the international context is fluid, not static; it is very much affected by how the U.S. conducts itself. This is evident in the moderate reaction to President Bush’s speech of May 1 and to his meetings in Europe in the summer. The diplomatic environment has in fact been evolving over the past year. Other countries’ motivations are more complex than the conventional wisdom has it.
So perhaps this won’t lead to the “2nd Arms race” that so many predict… but that is something for Canadians to decide. We need a national, complete and thorough debate on the matter.
Personally, I just don’t see how this can be seen in the context of the “war on terrorism”. That is, of course, how it is being sold.
A terrorist is NOT going to launch an ICBM… ok… I take that back, because prior to 9/11 I probably would have said that a terrorist would not have flown a 767 into the WTC. So fine, a terrorist could somehow infiltrate a Russian ICBM installation (since Russia is the only country capable of reaching North America currently).
This “shield” is supposed to protect us from ICBMs… but I think it’s far more likely, that, were an ICBM launched at America… it wouldn’t be Flying Solo and frankly, I don’t have confidence in *any defense* shield to repel multiple warheads all at once. And if that happened, well, the Earth as a whole would have some major problems to deal with.
Terrorists like to use what comes for free and easy… an airplane ride… a box on a freighter… a van… an IED. These are all tools of the trade… they very in specific sofistication, but their implementations are all very simple and straight forward… transporting/launching an ICBM is NOT.
The other facet of the pro-ABM shield debate in Canada will be ‘well, either we have a say in it or we don’t’. We all know that the US will go ahead with the plan regardless. So there is merit to this argument. I’d certainly rather have some control over how the shield affects Canadians rather than the US simply deciding what’s best for us.
In all, it will be a long debate. I do want there to be a Parliamentary vote on the matter at the end though.. that, I believe, is the least that Paul Martin could do to maintain some sense that the Canadian people had a say in agreeing, or not, to be a part of this plan.