Canada and BMD

Tasneem Jamal

Briefing 03-5

Ernie Regehr

Geography and economics regularly conspire to ensure that whatever gets onto the American security agenda will soon find its way onto the Canadian political agenda, so it was inevitable that the Bush Administration’s tenacious and now reinvigorated pursuit of ballistic missile defence (BMD) would once again deliver to Ottawa an offer that it will find difficult to refuse. After the briefest period of post-September 11 uncertainty surrounding BMD, the Bush Administration has now drawn it fully into its war on terrorism and its doctrine of the resort to pre-emptive force.

The ostensible BMD mission remains the protection of the American homeland from attacks by what Washington has variously referred to as “rogues,” and “states of concern” (with the September 2002 National Security Strategy settling on rogue, without the benefit of inverted commas). That national security strategy, signed and issued by President Bush, puts it like this: “having moved from confrontation to cooperation as the hallmark of our relationship with Russia,” the focus turns to the “new deadly challenges [that] have emerged from rogue states and terrorists.” While these states and terrorists may not have access to the same level of destructive power as do Russia and China, “the nature and motivations of these new adversaries, their determination to obtain destructive powers hitherto available only to the world’s strongest states, and the greater likelihood that they will use weapons of mass destruction against us, make today’s security environment more complex and dangerous.”

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