• Blog
  • March 13th, 2017

Liberals should say “no” again to American BMD

 

gmd_hero_lrg_01_1280x720

Both Conservative and Liberal governments have concluded, in 1985 and 2005 respectively, that participation in American ballistic missile defence does not accord with Canadian defence and security priorities. The Trudeau Liberals would be wise to do the same. — Peggy Mason (9 May 2017, Esprit de Corps)

At the beginning of April 2016, 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).

Since then a chorus of defence lobbyists and their academic and journalistic echoes have urged the government to seek Canadian participation. See, for example, an extraordinarily silly and inaccurate piece in the National Post by John Ivison, arguing that Canada can help make up its alleged NATO budgetary shortfall by contributing to a non-NATO ballistic missile defence system. That article also dismissed international concerns that BMD “would weaponize space” because the interceptor missiles are ground based (which is why the system is known by the acronym “GMD” for ground based missile defence). One has to assume that Ivison is unaware the aim of the American GMD system is to try to shoot down the incoming missile in outer space. As such:

So-called defensive missiles designed to intercept and shoot down incoming missiles in space have an intrinsic offensive anti-satellite weapon capability, which is precisely why the fear of weaponizing space is such a serious one. — Peggy Mason

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Defence heard testimony on the pros and cons of Canada re-opening the BMD participation issue during its hearings in May 2016. Particularly relevant was this admission by Professor James Fergusson, one of the strongest proponents of Canadian participation:

The American research and development program is well advanced across the board in missile defence. The likelihood that there are any opportunities for Canadian firms or Canadian technology is extremely low.

While Canadian firms would likely get little or no benefit, the Canadian taxpayer would be on the hook for as much as $4 billion dollars for Canada’s share of the programme.

And did we mention that this astronomically expensive system does not work?

Shooting down an enemy missile going 15,000 mph out in space is like trying to hit a hole-in-one in golf when the hole is going 15,000 mph. And if an enemy uses decoys and countermeasures, missile defence is like trying to shoot a hole-in-one in golf when the hole is going 15,000 mph and the green is covered with black circles the same size as the hole. — Hon. Philip E. Coyle.

There are many other reasons why Canada should continue to stay as far away as possible from the American missile defence boondoggle, including its destabilizing effects on international security, the lack of any meaningful operational role for Canada in the American command and control structure for GMD, and the likelihood that, despite all the monies expended, there will not even be an American guarantee that Canadian cities would be defended by the system (assuming the system worked, which it does not).

For an elaboration of these arguments see the May 5th testimony and Peggy Mason Speaking Notes by Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason to the Standing Committee on National Defence.

 

Photo credit: US Government

Read More


Leave a Reply




There must be accountability for torture.

The U.S. Senate voted 54–45 on Thursday, 17 May 2018 to approve the nomination of Gina Haspel as the new CIA Director. After the 9/11 attacks, Gina Haspel worked as Chief of Staff in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Section, the unit responsible for the coordination of the CIA’s infamous rendition, detention and “enhanced interrogation” program.  In […]

Read More
View the Blog »

Update: More fallout from Trump violation of Iran nuclear deal

As we highlighted in our previous blog post, Trump violates Iran Nuclear Deal, on May 8, 2018 President Donald Trump announced ...

President Trump violates Iran nuclear deal

  May 8, 2018. Former Disarmament Ambassadors condemn Trump’s unilateral breach of international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program Two former Canadian Disarmament Ambassadors, ...