Missile defense could spark new arms race

-- The Toronto Star - Jan. 29

Posted: Wednesday, February 07, 2001

Canada shouldn't be forced to choose between Washington and our European allies on missile defense. That could split the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and weaken the world's strongest military alliance. ... The $60 billion program is wildly controversial. It aims to ring the U.S. with land- or sea-based missiles able to intercept an incoming missile. Americans are split on its merits.

The technology doesn't work. ... So Canadians have a reason to be skeptical.

But bigger questions loom.

Can Russia and China be persuaded to accept missile defense as harmless? Or will they upgrade and multiply their nuclear forces to be sure that they can ''overwhelm'' any U.S. defense?

Will NATO partners, including the nuclear-armed British and French, go along with Washington? ... How will nuclear mavericks India and Pakistan react if China boosts its arms?

Will they too?

It's hard not to see an arms race developing.

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