Alliance defence critic's smoke could make us go up in smoke

  When you haven't a leg to stand on, blow smoke. That's what Alliance
  foreign affairs critic Monte Solberg did, defending George W. Bush's
  Star Wars proposals and Washington's plans to unilaterally scrap the ABM
  treaty.

  Solberg says the ABM treaty should be retired because it "was drafted to
  meet the strategic and technical realities of the 1970s," whatever that
  means. It sounds good, but like so much else uttered by masters of the
  vacuous political language practised on Parliament Hill, it has as much
  substance as pure wind. Whose strategic and technical realities? And
  just what are those realities? And since when did the idea that no
  country should be in the position of being able to vaporize another,
  with impunity, get an expiry date?

  Mr. Solberg says the NMD is defensive, but it's anything but. Robert
  Bowman, a former director of the U.S. Air Force's advanced space
  programs development says Star Wars is "about maintaining absolute
  military superiority by developing new offensive weapons in the guise of
  defense."

  The raison d'etre of the ABM treaty is to prevent nuclear powers from
  launching a first strike. If you have an effective missile shield, you
  can attack first, with impunity, or at least, you can limit the damage
  of a retaliatory strike. Imagine that in the hands of a country that
  refuses to be bound by the commitment to refrain from using its nuclear
  arsenal in a first strike. Is it any wonder the Russians and Chinese are
  having conniptions?

  Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Litton, Lockheed Martin and TRW --
  who, it would be fair to say, have more pull in Washington, and probably
  more in the Alliance caucus too, than ordinary people do -- are having
  their own conniptions, although of a decidedly more favourable kind. As
  the Wall Street Journal said on January 30, "The dash for missile
  defense profits is on," and America's defence contractors are looking
  at a $600 billion pay-day.

  Star Wars is going to make some people a whole lot richer, and the rest
  of us a whole lot more likely to be incinerated.

  Contrary to Mr. Solberg's assurances that Star Wars will enhance
  security, it will touch off a new arms race, hardly a security-enhancing
  development. The only way to defeat a missile shield is to overwhelm it,
  and that means pumping up nuclear arsenals by putting missile
  development programs on steroids. That's exactly what the Chinese have
  promised to do if Bush the Younger goes ahead with his taxpayer funded
  Marshall Plan for Boeing, General Dynamics, et al.

  But there's a germ of a problem. The American public. Will they stand
  for it?

  And what of Canadians? Will they sit idly by if their own government
  joins in?

  That's where people like Solberg, and his fine sounding, though empty
  words, comes in. He can blow smoke with the best of them. An admirable
  talent, if you're on Parliament Hill.

  The only problem is, the better Solberg blows smoke, the better the
  chances we'll all blow up in smoke.

What's left in suburbia