missile defence shield

Judging by George Bush’s not so subtle behaviour during his visit to Canada a couple of weeks ago it seems the missile defence squeeze is on. Clearly the Bush administration are very serious about getting a Canadian flag on their missile defence shield. It would appear that they’ve taken a cue from the New Mexico based T-ShirtKing.com who are offering a “go Canadian” disguise for Americans traveling abroad. Canada’s support of, and participation in, the missile shield program would bring it a sense of legitimacy and prevent the United States from appearing to once again be acting unilaterally. Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, I don’t think Canadians are just going to chuckle and crack ‘eh’ jokes about this “disguise”.

Nothing about the program makes much sense. It has little chance of being effective – even its most vocal proponents admit it is a long way from working as designed. And it will not work as a deterrent for rogue states like North Korea or Iran. In fact, Russia has already responded by announcing they are developing (or already have developed) a missile capable of penetrating the shield. Regardless of the accuracy of that claim, its obvious that the sabre rattling has begun and it is this kind of brinkmanship that we would be perpetuating by endorsing a ballistic missile shield.

So the question now becomes how does Canada decline participation in the program without further ostracizing the folks in Washington. Well, I think I’ve found one of those impertinent, face saving deal breakers that politicians tend to latch onto. Should Mr. Martin insist that we spell “missile defence” with a “c” I have a feeling the Americans will withdraw the invitation.

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