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  • April 20th, 2016

The “Rogue” Missile Threat: Getting from BMD to NPT by Ernie Regehr

A successful intercept test for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense element is conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii Jan. 27.

At the beginning of April, the Liberal government decided that it would launch a review of Canada’s defence policy and, as part of that, has reopened the issue of Canadian participation in Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), a contentious debate which 11 years ago ended with the Paul Martin government opting not to join.

The reasons why this was and remains an excellent decision can be succinctly summarized as follows:  (1) it does not work (2) it is an incentive to build more offensive weapons (3) it is very costly (4) the threat to North America from North Korean and Iranian yet-to-be-developed missiles is minuscule to non-existent and (5) did we mention that the system does not work?

To analyze this issue in greater depth, we are very pleased to reprint an excerpt from an article by former Project Ploughshares co-founder Ernie Regehr which he published last December, and to provide a link to the full article here: The “Rogue” Missile Threat: Getting from BMD to NPT (Ernie Regehr, The Simons Foundation, 18 December 2015).

Canadians might soon be asking just where George W. Bush is when we really need him. He used to be a key antidote to Canadian temptations to embrace North American ballistic missile defence (BMD). Canada’s 2005 rejection of BMD was driven largely by anticipated public reaction to Canada signing on to a system championed by a Bush Administration that was, to understate it, little loved in Canada and that had especially offended disarmament advocates with its trashing of the ABM Treaty[i] and its hostility toward arms control generally. Now, however, with the Bush effect waning, the allure of a Canadian BMD role seems to be waxing. So, well into the final quarter of the still appreciated Administration of Barack Obama, and with a new and less polarizing but Washington friendly Government in Ottawa, BMD supporters in Canada see a new opportunity to pursue BMD involvement without generating a major backlash. What hasn’t changed, though, is the basic reality that, even if its technology improves, BMD won’t solve the rogue state missile problem. That’s because the North Korean missile threat is finally a non-proliferation, not a defence, challenge.

For a direct link to the full article, click on: The “Rogue” Missile Threat: Getting from BMD to NPT (Ernie Regehr, The Simons Foundation, 18 December 2015).

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