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You thought US missile defence plans for Europe were pretty dead, eh?

You might well have thought so if you’d read the Globe and Mail piece by Lounge Lizard Larry Martin to which this unpublished letter responded:

Lawrence Martin (On many vital issues, the NDP have been on the mark, Sept. 24 [2009]) highlights President Obama’s decision to kill the American missile defence system that was planned for Poland and the Czech Republic.  He then uses this example to applaud the NDP for their supposedly far-sighted opposition to missile defence in general.

But there’s a problem with this line of reasoning.  The president didn’t actually kill American plans for missile defence involving Europe.  He simply abandoned one system and intends to replace it with another using different types of missiles, initially sea-based but subsequently to be land-based in Europe itself.  So missile defence itself is still alive and well.

It’s also worth noting something about which most Canadians, including Mr. Martin, seem unaware.  NATO itself is fully committed to creating various missile defence systems, one planned to be operational by 2010.  It’s only in Canada that there appears to be a practically fetishistic opposition to the concept.

Mark Collins

References:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20gates.html
http://www.nato.int/issues/missile_defence/index.html

Now a Washington Post story; I don’t think these facts will get much coverage up here:

U.S. nears key step in European defense shield against Iranian missiles

The concept of a missile shield began with former president Ronald Reagan, who first described his vision of a defense against a Soviet nuclear attack in his “Star Wars” speech in 1983. Its development accelerated during the George W. Bush administration, which saw missile defense as a way to deter emerging nuclear powers in Iran and North Korea.

It has expanded further under President Obama, despite the skepticism he expressed during the 2008 campaign about the feasibility and affordability of Bush’s plan for a shield in Europe.

In September, Obama announced that he was changing Bush’s approach. Instead of abandoning the idea, he directed the Pentagon to construct a far more extensive and flexible missile defense system in Europe that will be built in phases between now and 2020…

The Bush plan would have consisted of only 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and a large radar installation in the Czech Republic. It was designed to shoot down long-range or even intercontinental ballistic missiles fired by Iran against Europe or the United States…

Obama announced in September that the Pentagon would scrap Bush’s system for Europe and replace it with what he called a “phased, adaptive approach.” The first phase officially becomes operational next year. Aegis ships, armed with dozens of SM-3 missile interceptors, will patrol the Mediterranean and Black seas and link up with the high-power radar planned for southern Europe.

In 2015, the next phase will begin. Romania has agreed to host a land-based Aegis combat system on its territory.

In 2018, the system will expand further with another land-based Aegis system in Poland, as well as a new generation of SM-3 interceptors and additional sensors. The shield is scheduled to become complete by 2020, with the addition of even more advanced SM-3s…

NATO allies…may eventually plug their own, more limited missile defense systems into the overall shield [Canada excepted from all forms of that horrid idea, of course]…

Mark
Ottawa

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