Who's Online

We have 171 guests online


1988 readings
Joining missile defence is the right decision PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 08 September 2004 04:25
Sen. Kenny has been a busy these last few weeks, appearing here and there in the media, writing op-eds and speaking to editorials boards to get the missile defence train back o­n track.
  - Steven Staples o­n Liberal Senator's Colin Kenny's piece in the Hill Times.

From: "Steven Staples" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
To: "Peace" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Missile defence lobby launches Sen. Kenny to rebut us.
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 13:29:58 -0400

The Hill Times
Joining missile defence is the right decision
It is in Canada?s interests to be part of the planning?: Liberal Sen. Colin
Photograph from The Hill Times files

We are proud Canadians.
We do not have
to march in lock step with
America.We stayed out of
combat in Iraq.We have
resisted all kinds of pressures
to conform with U.S.
wishes over the years.
Good for us.
Canadians sometimes
fret that we are becoming
more and more Americanized.
That fear is natural
enough. Most of us live less
than an hour?s drive from
the most muscular nation
in the world, which just
happens to have a virtual
hammerlock o­n the global
communications industry.
But wait. In his excellent
book Fire and Ice, pollster
Michael Adams points
out that Canadian and
America perspectives o­n
the way the world should
work have actually
diverged in recent years ?
they are becoming more
conservative, we are
becoming more liberal.
So I find it a bit frustrating
that so many of us are
so wary of everything
American. It strikes me
that we don?t have to jerk
our knees and scream ?no?
every time the Americans
want to pull us into their
allegedly evil ambit. America
can be useful to Canada.
So let?s use it.
In world terms, Canada
is both a military and economic
pipsqueak. But we
do all right ? don?t we? ?
partially because we?ve
learned to take advantage
of the big guy next door.
Canada?s economy is
the envy of many bigger
countries.The North American
Free Trade Agreement
has helped ? the vast
majority of Canadians now
support NAFTA after a
very wary start.
We Canadians also live
largely peaceful lives.
Cooperating with the U.S.
within the North American
Aerospace Defence Command
(NORAD) and the
North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO)
offered us a measure of
security we couldn?t afford
to provide ourselves.
Which brings me to the
U.S. government?s Ballistic
Missile Defence. BMD is
intended to be a defensive
screen for the U.S. and its
allies.The finished system
will be designed with the
ability to track and destroy
incoming ballistic missiles
sent by accident or by
rogue states.
Are such threats likely?
Not in my mind, certainly
not at the moment, anyway.
Does it make sense for the
Americans to try to guard
against such types of
attacks? Personally, I would
put my money into tighter
security at ports and more
vigilant scrutiny of all
North American coastlines.
Having said that, it is a
decision for Americans to
make ? how quickly the
country pushes ahead with
the system probably
depends o­n who wins the
next presidential election.
Whether the Canadian
government takes a positive
or negative stand o­n
the deployment of BMD, or
whether it decides to accept
the U.S. government?s invitation
to come under the
BMD umbrella, will not
have the slightest impact
on the evolution of BMD.
If Canada were to
accept the U.S. invitation, it
would become part of the
planning process for the
development of BMD.We
certainly wouldn?t be much
more than the tail o­n the
dog. However, Canada?s
priorities in terms of protecting
Canadian territory
would at least be taken
seriously. Canadian officials
are currently consulting
with U.S. and other
allied representatives o­n
whether to join in.
Last week Liberal MP
Carolyn Parrish got herself
into hot water by describing
supporters of BMD as a
?coalition of idiots.?Am I
an idiot for wanting to
join? I would much prefer
to be thought of as a hardheaded
realist with Canada?s
best interests at heart.
Is BMD technically feasible?
Perhaps. I?m not
sure.Whoever thought
cruise missiles or stealth
bombers were feasible just
a few decades ago?
Will it end up putting
weapons in space? I don?t
know, Probably. But with
weapons everywhere o­n
the face of the earth, I?m
not sure what?s so sacrosanct
about space. And I
would rather my side?s
weapons up there than
somebody else?s.
Is BMD going to heighten
the threat of nuclear
war? How? It?s clearly
defensive, and it?s not
nuclear.We?re talking
about launching pieces of
metal weighing about the
same as a Volkswagen ? not
detonating nuclear devices.
Should Americans be
diverting huge amounts of
money into BMD, rather
than spending it o­n foreign
aid or other measures to
alleviate human suffering
and alienation? Probably
not. But it?s American
money. U.S. taxpayers are
going to fund it. It?s their
decision. All they?re asking
us is whether we, like
many of our allies, want in.
Are Canadians really
vulnerable to missile
attack? Doubtful, at the
moment, but it could happen
some day. Fanatical
governments do keep showing
up o­n the radar screen,
and technological capabilities
do change. Do we want
to be the softest target in
the neighbourhood?
I think it is in Canada?s
interests to be part of the
planning as to how and
where menacing objects
will be shot down, rather
than leaving that decision
entirely in the hands of our
Oh, and a side item ?
Canada?s hard-hit aerospace
industry ? filled with
talent but short o­n opportunities
lately ? will have a
chance to pick up a few billion
dollars in research
contracts. If you dismiss
that as crass and unimportant,
you don?t work in this
vital industry.You also forget
how much my generation
laments the snuffing
of the Avro Arrow.
International protests
that BMD would destabilize
global security and stimulate
a new arms race have
become much more muted.
Russia, voiced initial concerns,
but is now discussing
the possibility of becoming
a partner too. How likely is
it that any other state is
going to invest in the development
of dangerous new
weapons technologies just
because the United States
and its allies are more
securely defended?
BMD may never save a
North American life. Or it
may save tens of millions.
Like bomb shelters in the
1950s, the system may
never get used. But if my
parents?neighbour had
build a costly bomb shelter
half a century ago, and
invited my parents to share
it with him in the event of
attack, at no cost to them,
what would have been the
smart thing for them to say?
a)?No, we don?t think
there?s much chance the
bombs are coming, and we
think you?re goofy for
spending all that money
for no good reason.?
b)Works for us. Can we
bring a can of beans if it
Call me an idiot. But put
my check mark beside (b).
Senator Colin Kenny
was chair of the Senate
Committee o­n National
Security and Defence in
the last Parliament. He
can be reached via email
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Steven Staples
Project o­n the Corporate-Security State
Polaris Institute
312 Cooper Street
Ottawa, o­ntario  K2P 0G7
t. 613 237-1717 x107
c. 613 290-2695
f. 613 237-3359
e. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 September 2004 04:25

Latest News