cover image: US Strategic Ballistic Missile Defence: Why Canada won’t join it


US Strategic Ballistic Missile Defence: Why Canada won’t join it

11 Jul 2023

There is obviously still plenty of interest in and commitment to trying to protect the continent from strategic- range weapons and Washington is not about to abandon homeland missile defence, but the system is being moved to the margins of continental defence. [...] The Missile Defense Agency8 and the 2022 US National Defence Strategy,9 among other official statements, confirm that the GMD system is confined to trying to intercept a “limited attack from rogue nations.” As for the Russian and Chinese strategic nuclear threats, the US continues to rely on the same “threat of instant US retaliation” – that is, the threat of mutual nuclear catastrophe – that Reag. [...] Wayne Eyre, Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff at the Defence Committee: “I think policies related to ballistic missile offence are becoming less and less relevant.”12 Jody Thomas, as National Security and Intelligence Advisor to the Privy Council, concluded further that Canada needs “to take a broad view of what the missile threat is and what the North American response to that is going to be, as op. [...] The DEW line became operational in 1957, the same year that the Soviets launched Sputnik, signalling the arrival of the ICBM threat and the marginalization of the bomber threat. [...] Nuclear threats to the homeland are viewed to be deterred by nuclear counter threats, but conventional threats to the homeland would be assumed by the attacker not to provoke a nuclear response because of the threat of it escalating to broader nuclear conflagration.


Ernie Regehr

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