Courtesy Reuters

Canada's Role in Western Defense

Geography gives Canada a strategic position unlike that of any other ally of the United States. Situated between two nuclear titans, the Soviet Union and the United States, it is certain to be automatically and totally involved in any general nuclear war. Furthermore, the vast Canadian land mass, stretching far into the north, has become a prime strategic asset in the protection of the only force capable of deterring a Soviet onslaught upon the West: it affords the strategic air forces of the United States the essential early warning which is vital to the protection of the whole Atlantic world.

The United States has become accustomed to a uniquely close and important defense relationship with Canada. Yet it is also aware that this military tie has produced serious and severe political strains for the Canadian government and people. These are in part the consequence of the mammoth intrusion of the United States into every aspect of Canadian life, in part the result of a rising sense of frustration felt by Canadians as they have found themselves inextricably bound up in security requirements which seem to limit their political initiative in world affairs and, above all, in cold war crises. Since these requirements are not likely to diminish but rather to increase, it is important that both sides understand more clearly what is involved. It is to be hoped that Canadians will realize more fully the essential part their country must play-essential not for Canada alone, nor even for all of North America, but for the safety of the whole free world. It is equally important that Americans appreciate more clearly than before the extent to which their own military and political policies affect Canadian thinking and action.

II

When the increased long-range bombing capabilities of the Soviet Union began to threaten the security of the U.S. strategic forces located on the periphery of the Soviet bloc, these advanced forces were recalled to the greater security of North America. It was

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