Why Canada Must Oppose Space-Based Missile Defence

By Graham, Thomas | Canadian Speeches, September-October 2003 | Go to article overview

Why Canada Must Oppose Space-Based Missile Defence


Graham, Thomas, Canadian Speeches


Canada is urged to lobby the United States against the development of space-based missile systems, in favor of an international regime to enshrine space as a peaceful environment. Rather than providing an effective, long-term defence against nuclear attack, spaced-based ABM systems are seen as leading to greater risks, as well as threatening the vast commercial and scientific use of outer space. Remarks to the 72 annual Couchiching Couchiching Conference, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs conference, Geneva Park, Ontario, August 9, 2003.

**********

The concept of missile defence began almost with the commencement of the missile age itself. By the late 1950s, long range ballistic missiles began to be developed and deployed. These missiles and their successors were capable of transporting a nuclear weapon from the Soviet Union/Russia to the United States and vice-versa within 30 minutes with ever increasing accuracy as the years went by. Indeed, the M-X or Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile deployed by the United States in the 1980s had a CEP of .1 miles.

CEP is a standard for measuring missile accuracy and in the M-X case it meant that 50% of the ten nuclear warheads carried by the missile could be expected to fall inside a circle around the aim point of .1 mile radius, or about 500 feet. Put another way, as it was once to me, five of the ten warheads of an M-X missile launched from Kwajelein Atoll in the Pacific could be made to fall within the courtyard of the Pentagon. And each of those warheads had a 500 kiloton explosive yield, about 35 times more power than the Hiroshima bomb. Without question, with capabilities like these in existence the protective shield of the two great oceans which had insulated the United States from the wars of the Old World had vanished.

But old dreams do not die easily. In only a few years, in the 1960s, the concept of anti-ballistic missile systems began to be considered. There was much debate over the merits of a pursuing a missile defence within the U.S. government. Some saw pursuit of such a defence as an essential, almost a religious matter so as to return the United States to the safety of the pre-missile era, protected by the two great oceans. Other saw it as fuel for the arms race arguing that as defences are built up they will be offset by more offensive forces on the other side--and so on--as well as destabilizing in that it would encourage striking first in a crisis. The argument here went that if "country A" built missile defences against "country B", "country B" might come to believe that "country A" was planning to conduct a first strike and utilize its defences to ward off a weakened retaliatory strike and, therefore it "country B", had to be sure to strike first in a crisis.

These two concepts were referred to as arms race stability and crisis stability. These were the important issues for a long time, but they were settled for many years on the basis of the second view by the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty which arguably ensured arms race stability and crisis stability by keeping missile defences at a very low level. However, over time the first view of attempting to turn back the clock to the pre-missile era, gradually became stronger, and this coupled with the attractiveness in principle of trying to defend oneself against bad actors along with large defence contracts created a political situation which led to the United States withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002.

With the establishment of the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD) many years ago, U.S. and Canadian fortunes on this issue have been linked. Initially, the mission of the Command was to protect the North American continent from bomber attack contemplating joint efforts of U.S. and Canadian air defence forces. An early warning radar line was deployed in northern Canada as a part of this. But, although U.S.-Canadian co-operation in NORAD continued with the advent of the missile age, air defence seemed to become increasing irrelevant as the long-range ballistic missile carrying nuclear weapons was clearly the weapon which actually threatened North America. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Canada Must Oppose Space-Based Missile Defence
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.