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Danny Lam's picture
Canada violates NATO agreement
Posted on Feb 15, 2017
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Canadians have long enjoyed the security and comfort of belonging to NATO: a robust military alliance that won the cold war. Today, Canada, a founding member of NATO, is in default of our treaty obligations under Article 3 of the NATO treaty.

Article 3 of the NATO treaty states:

“In order more effectively to achieve the objectives of this Treaty, the Parties, separately and jointly, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.”

Failure to meet its obligations under Article 3 calls into question any (or all) obligations that NATO members have to Canada under the "collective defence" principle of Article 5. This issue is coming to a head with the emergence of North Korea as a belligerent, unstable, and nuclear-armed regime.

North Korea’s latest test of a solid-fueled cold-launched Pukguksong-2 ballistic missile demonstrates how far and how fast the regime has progressed from testing a nuclear device to fielding a credible nuclear arsenal.

While the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) has not demonstrated conclusively the capability of their Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) to deliver a nuclear warhead to the continental USA, this latest development adds a new twist to the problem. Pukguksong-2 is a solid-fueled missile mounted on a tracked transporter-erector-launcher (TEL), and is capable of being rapidly launched from anywhere in North Korea. But there is more.

North Korea purchased twelve Foxtrot and Golf (Project 641 & 628) submarines from Russia as “scrap” in the 1990s. It is plausible that parts and subsystems cannibalized from these vessels are being used to build a North Korean ballistic missile submarine. When North Korea establishes a capability to launch ballistic missiles from a submarine, which they have been working on, it greatly complicates allied abilities to detect and counter missile launches.

Experts in the United States believe that North Korea’s ICBMs are either already capable of reaching CONUS (contiguous United States) with a nuclear warhead or will be able to reliably do so within as little as 5 years. Within this timeframe, a submarine launched ballistic missile with sufficient range to reach CONUS is achievable.

The severity of this threat is exposed by U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis when he publicly warned North Korea (3 Feb 2017) of America's “effective and overwhelming” response to the use of nuclear weapons.

Contrast this with the Liberal regime of Canada, which has seemingly not taken the North Korean nuclear ballistic missile threat seriously. Anti-missile capability is not been publicly specified for the Canadian replacement fighter, the “One Class” surface combatants, nor is the existing NORAD system tasked for ballistic missile defense.

Candid comments about the North Korean nuclear threat by President Trump and Secretary Mattis to Canadians officials during the Trudeau-Trump visit failed to result in any noticeable change in Canada's defense policy. Notably, there has been no visible effort to update the Statement of Requirements (SOR) for major defense procurements after being clearly and publicly warned by the U.S. and allies about the North Korean threat.

On 15 Feb, Secretary Mattis further warned NATO allies that American support has limits, and he repeated the call for allies to spend more on their militaries. Based on its own record, one can assume that the Trump administration will expect decisive, significant change to be swiftly initiated.

Canada's oft-cited tendency to hope the U.S. will defend Canada if necessary, is clearly not a sentiment shared by big brother. Vice President Pence and Secretary Mattis reiterated at the NATO meeting in Brussels that the Trump Administration cannot be indifferent and sit idly by while allies free-ride, like Canada is doing on the US ballistic missile defense program.

In 2005, Canada chose not to participate in the U.S. Missile Defense program and has shown no inclination to change this decision. Thus, Canada does not contribute to the present limited defense against ballistic missiles that involve an extensive, layered system of sensors, sea and shore based interceptors from Japan to Alaska to CONUS.

While Canada does have modest anti-submarine resources on the west coast, it is nowhere near sufficient to credibly patrol the large expanse of ocean from which a North Korean submarine can launch nuclear ballistic missiles once they slip past the choke points guarded by allies.

This raises questions as to what obligations allies like South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. will uphold to defend Canada, either by intercepting ballistic missiles aimed at Canadian targets early on, or by preventing NORK (North Korea) ballistic missile submarines from breaking out.

By not participating in the Ballistic Missile Defense program in the face of a clear, indisputable, obvious threat from North Korea, Canada is in effect, presuming that allies will defend Canada despite it not following the 2% GDP target for defence spending that NATO allies agreed upon in 2006.

In fact, in early 2016, NATO pointed out that Canada is among the bottom 1/3 of allies when it comes to defence spending.

Canadians are naïve as to how little capability there is for ballistic missile defense in South Korea (which is acquiring its first THAAD battery this year) and Japan. Their capabilities must be reserved for the much more numerous threats from NORK short and medium range missiles and potentially, a Chinese nuclear first strike. Defence of North America will not be a priority even if they are willing.

What about the U.S.? There is only a handful (fewer than 30) of land based Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs) in Alaska. That doesn’t go far with a 'probability of kill' of 0.5 requiring two interceptors per target if the attack uses multiple missiles with decoys.

Finally, that leaves sea-based ABMs launched from U.S. Aegis destroyers or cruisers, since Canada has none. This option is possible only if the vessels are in the right place at the right time and have sufficient missiles available. But with the potential for ballistic missile submarines prowling about, anti-submarine resources (both surface and air) will be stretched thin.

Canada, by not having Aegis-capable vessels equipped for missile defense, nor having significant anti-submarine assets, is in effect counting on the U.S. to stretch its own anti-missile resources to include Canada. Why?

What obligates the U.S. to do so when Canada is clearly in violation of our treaty obligation to “maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.” (Article 3)?

Canadians, and the Trudeau regime, need to recognize that Canada is in breach of her NATO treaty obligations, and as such, can expect no aid from allies under Article 5 until such a time as when Canada meets its obligations under Article 3.

– Danny Lam

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