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June 08, 2000

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National Missile Defence Endangers Disarmament Deal

The tenuous balance that exists between powerful states possessing nuclear arsenals is in danger of being thrown into chaos by the US pursuit of a National Missile Defence system, says Dr. Mary- Wynne Ashford, a professor in the faculty of education and the co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.
Ashford recently traveled to Washington D.C., New York, and Moscow to talk with senior officials about the official Russian and American positions on both National Missile Defence, a shield that would attempt to protect the US in the event of a nuclear attack, and their plans regarding the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
"What we found in Washington was very sobering indeed," says Ashford. "The Democrats will not oppose ballistic missile defence because they feel it would be suicidal in the next presidential election. The Republicans, however, especially the far right, are actively pursuing an agenda that seeks world domination from space."
"If the US moves ahead with plans to create a ballistic missile shield, Russia will withdraw its ratification of the CTBT and Start II arms reduction treaty," says Ashford.
According to Ashford, even if Russia agrees to modify the ABM treaty to permit a limited version of missile defence, the result could trigger a new arms race with China.
Ashford is an expert on violence prevention programs and the medical consequences of modern warfare.
  Media Contacts:
Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford (education) at (250) 721-7779 or (250) 479-9189 or mashford@uvic.ca

Reinforcement for Army Reserves Unlikely

A report presented to Federal Minister of Defence Art Eggleton this week suggesting that the national army reserves be increased from 12,000 to as many as 20,500 is likely to fall on deaf ears, says Dr. David Zimmerman (history).
According to Zimmerman, the army's regular forces are in financial peril and the likelihood that army reserves will be increased is virtually nil.
"This is an issue that goes back to before Confederation and comes up every five or 10 years," says Zimmerman. "But given the financial stress on the regular forces today, it's completely unrealistic to think that the recommendations will be implemented." Zimmerman is a Canadian military history expert.
  Media Contacts:
Dr. David Zimmerman (history) at (250) 595-1826 or dzimmerm@uvvm.uvic.ca

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