The urgent missile defence question is not if Canada should co-operate with the U.S. on it (Conversation About Missile Defence Not Dead – April 25). The question is: Will the U.S. co-operate with Russia?
Were missile defence unambiguously defensive, Russia could be ignored and the debate could focus on whether it’s a technology that will ever work reliably. But we ignore Russia, for which U.S. missile defence is definitely not defensive, at our peril.
Missile defence becomes a problem when it generates uncertainty and vulnerability among those who have the capacity to do something about it. What Russia can do about it is refuse all further nuclear disarmament; when the U.S. and Russia refuse further reductions, other nuclear powers will follow suit.
And when current nuclear powers collectively commit to indefinite retention of their nuclear arsenals, nuclear weapons will be legitimized for all. And when that happens, prospects for preventing the further spread of these weapons of heinous destruction – a word used a lot lately, and properly so, to describe crimes of much, much lower orders of destruction – become a lot dimmer than they already are.
Ernie Regehr, Waterloo, Ont.