Conservatives and BMD
Andrew raises six points some of which I really take exception to:
It is Star Wars
When people claim that BMD has nothing to do with the militarization of space I grow concerned about the feasibility of discussing the matter with them. On a basic level, the DoD currently has no operations in outer space. BMD will be run by the DoD and thus will involve giving the DoD a role in outer space. In the minds of many, that's an incredibly dangerous proposition. For me, I don't see it as one of the major complaints. Still, there can be no doubt that BMD = Militarization of Space.
It Doesn't Work
Andrew compares BMD to AIDS research and that's simply preposterous. American involvement in AIDS research does not require disregarding international agreements. Even worse, AIDS is not countering American investment with massive spending of their own in an effort to defend themselves against the vaccine. The analogy is simply illogical and incorrect.
Feasibility of it Working
Andrew suggests that the new Russian missile will one day be able to be stopped, that just because it can't be stopped by the unfinished version of BMD does not mean it will never be stopped. In truth, BMD can't even stop missiles from the early 90s. BMD's tests have been staged in situations where it was rigged to succeed. Real missiles launch balloon dummies to trick interceptors, BMD tests do not use such devices. Further, tests are always done in good conditions when weather is not an issue. Andrew seems to think the system is near to working. In truth, it's at least a decade away from anything even resembling adequate defense against mid-90s missile technology.
It Has Sparked An Arms Race
In by far the most baffling part of his rebuttal, Andrew suggests that since the Russians have already invented a new missile an arms race is inevitable. I'm not sure whether or not he's implying that BMD isn't responsible for that missile, but it's irrelevant. The simple fact of the matter is that the United States has decided to invest in a new weapons system and in retaliation other countries have beefed up their own military research.
Andrew further suggests that as long as the US has enemies then there will be an arms race. That suggestion is simply incorrect. By the early 80s the arms race had all but concluded, yet nobody would dream to suggest that the USSR and America were anything but enemies. During the 90s there was no arms race, but America still had plenty of enemies around the world. The increased focus on American defense spending has led to reciprocal behaviour from the rest of the world.
Andrew further suggests that the list of US enemies is growing rather than shrinking, and that somehow this suggest BMD is needed. I'm not too sure what kind of missiles Osama bin Laden has, but they sure as hell aren't getting anywhere near North America. Even North Korea's missiles pose little threat to our continent. Americas new enemies are terrorists, who would be using a backpack bomb. Not nation-states armed with ICBMs.
The last two points I am willing to concede. Financial matters have no impact on Canadian involvement, this is an argument raised by concerned Americans. As to the last, that seems to be a more radical interpretation of Andrew's first point which I've already entirely disproven.
BMD is a matter of cost-benefit analysis. Do we want to be involved in a program which is decades behind the weapons it is designed to protect us against? A program which has angered the rest of the world? A program that involves tearing up international agreements? A program which would make us a target for the enemies of America? A program which could never defend against the preferred method of attack of the new nemesis of the 21st century?
Paul Martin's government made the right decision. They made that decision in a terribly ineffective and embarrassing way, but they still made the right decision.