Author Topic: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy  (Read 27272 times)

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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #75 on: March 09, 2010, 08:53:02 »
Two problems for Europe:

1. Muslim Colonization; and
2. "The only solution to this problem is for Europeans to reduce their dependence on the U.S. and take greater responsibility for their own defence". Due to the extremely high cost of military hardware (R & D to deployment) the Europeons will be reliant on the US for some time. Congressional approval of technology transfers will continue to hamper this trade. But the  Russian and Chinese  would love to take over this market. That would weaken NATO.

Additionally, is it not time to get rid of the UN.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #76 on: March 09, 2010, 09:19:43 »
...
Additionally, is it not time to get rid of the UN?


I don't think so.

The main UN, the Security Council and General Assembly in New York, are, arguably, fairly harmless and the SC's imprimateur on military operations is still regarded, by most of the nations of the world, as the closest thing we can got, now, to international, legal, approval for such things.

Several of the UN's various and sundry member agencies, many of which are considerably older than the UN, itself, and even predate the old League of Nations, do excellent, essential work and form the base for constructive international cooperation and, now and again, peacebuilding.

While some UN reform is, remotely, possible, I think we are stuck with the creaky, old, spastic, muddled huddle on the Hudson, if only because, from time to time, it does just enough to justify all the time and money we waste on it.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #77 on: March 09, 2010, 09:56:51 »
The UN is much like Churchill`s summation of democracy: It`s the worst of all, except for the alternatives.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #78 on: March 09, 2010, 13:10:06 »
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from The Mark is an interesting article by Oxford doctoral candidate Taylor Owen:

http://themarknews.com/articles/1084-who-will-build-peacebuilding
Quote
Who Will Build Peacebuilding?
By withdrawing from Afghanistan, Canada and the Netherlands are leaving the development of peacebuilding to others.

Taylor Owen

First published Mar 09, 2010
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News of the Dutch withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan, combined with Canada’s parliamentary mandated withdrawal at the end of this year, represents an unceremonious end to NATO’s experimentation with a new, integrated form of peacebuilding. It will now be left to the U.S. and the U.K. to lead the substantial effort of figuring out how to build peace in 21st century conflicts.

There is an emerging consensus that state failure is the product of a complex relationship between different political and economic factors. If peacebuilding is to be successful, it needs to provide solutions to all of these problems.

This represents a dramatic break from the past and poses a particular challenge for Canada. Our long-held, and somewhat mythical, view of peacekeeping as blue helmets passively separating two warring parties no longer matches the reality on the ground. Pearson’s model does not apply when there is not yet peace to keep.

Canada and the Netherlands have responded to this challenge with innovation. Both have been leaders in developing a new form of peacebuilding that is both more ambitious and more demanding than previous models. Rather than treat defence, diplomacy, and development as separate but related components of our broader engagement, Canada now seeks to do all three at once. From this perspective our various military, diplomatic, and humanitarian activities should reinforce each other, together creating the stability, prosperity, and local support needed for rebuilding a failed state. This approach has been called, “3D,” “Whole-of-Government,” and “Integrated Peacebuilding.”

The NATO mission in Afghanistan is perusing strikingly varied goals – killing Taliban, building schools, dams, and roads, delivering government services, promoting democracy, and protecting women’s rights. What’s more, depending on which of these are prioritized, policies likewise shift. If we are fighting the insurgents at all costs, we care less about the number of women in schools. If we are building government capacity, we have a higher threshold for corruption. Finding this balance has been the central challenge of the mission, and Canada and the Netherlands have been leaders.

This is a different kind of involvement for Canada and places new demands on our civil service. Departments accustomed to pursuing differing goals now have to agree on a common course of action. The complexities of civil conflicts have to be grasped with sensitivity and insight.

While progress has been made, much work remains. I had hoped that Canada would lead NATO in addressing the following lingering challenges.

First, peacebuilding demands balance. According to the Manley Panel on Canada’s role in Afghanistan, “for best effect, all three components of the strategy – military, diplomatic, and development – need to reinforce each other.” Withdrawing combat forces while continuing development and diplomatic efforts creates strategic confusion just as the disparate components of our mission were starting to come together.

Second, much of the Canadian debate about our role in Afghanistan has omitted the international context. We are a modest contributor in a 35-member coalition. Success or failure in Afghanistan depends crucially on the actions of our allies more than our own. In this sense, it is hard to see the benefit of an arbitrary withdrawal in 2011. Our commitment has to be viewed in the context of the larger strategy, one in which we will no longer have a voice.

Third, coordinated and comprehensive policymaking demands exceptional clarity. The government has consistently failed to provide the verifiable information, clear benchmarks, and concrete timelines necessary to judge Canada’s mission accurately. An arbitrary withdrawal date imposed irrespective of our strategic objectives ensures that the type of transparent policy-making necessary for complex peace operations will not be developed.

Fourth, strategy begins in the capital. While Prime Minister Harper has taken steps to improve coordination between the departments contributing to the mission, old habits die hard. Other countries, such as the UK, have explored alternate means of encouraging departments to work together when managing complex peacebuilding missions. We will not get the chance to see through such necessary shifts in our own bureaucracy.

Whereas the Americans originally eschewed integrated peacebuilding for a more traditional, militarized approach, by accepting General McCrystal’s recent strategic recommendations, President Obama has matched a troop surge with a tactical shift towards far greater civilian protection. In so doing, they are modeling much of their engagement after the Canadian experience in Kandahar, and are picking up where Canada is leaving off.

Some may say this is the positive legacy of the Canadian mission. Others will surely see it as a missed opportunity to ensure that the future of peacebuilding has a Canadian face.


Mr. Owen’s condemnation of successive (Chrétien, Martin and Harper) governments for failing to understand, much less explain, what they wanted to do in Afghanistan is spot on. But it is not confined to Canada. I seriously doubt that anyone in the Bush or Obama administrations, including Generals Pertraeus and McCrystal,  understood/understands what America’s aim might be.

But peacebuilding, as Mr. Owen describes it, is a pretty airy-fairy concept and is best left for bureaucrats to chew over, with their Chardonnay and Brie. The military has a major supporting role in whatever peacebuilding might be involving:

•   Peacemaking; and

•   Peacekeeping – the proper sense of that word, the one that doesn’t, necessarily, involve baby-blue berets.  Sometimes peacekeeping is just maintaining plain old security while whatever peaceful people want and need to do gets done.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #79 on: March 09, 2010, 20:32:24 »
Quote
Sometimes peacekeeping is just maintaining plain old security while whatever peaceful people want and need to do gets done.

As you said about Owen, E.R.: "Spot on".

Isn't that ultimately the sum total of the soldier's profession?  Whether it be maintaining a cordon, manning OPs (real or virtual), standing sentry or, in extremis, acting as the National SWAT team to oppose miscreants willing to use force against the National Will.   Sometimes those miscreants are a ragged mob with pitchforks.  Sometimes they are a group with a defining cohesive principle, either criminal or political (terrorist, bandit, pirate, freedom fighter or libertarian).  Sometimes they are organized, state sponsored and operating under flying colours.  Not that the latter appears to be much of a winning strategy these days.  Hence the increase in that portion of operations defined in  maintaining the cordon and acting in low level conflicts.

The military also likes to get involved in C4I ops and logistical ops but I suggest that they should be concentrating on "coal face" support and "privatize/civilianize" as much of the second, third and fourth line as possible so that it can be paid for only when it is needed.

Beyond that the military still needs to be allowed to hire itself out to friendly regimes, at a reasonable pace, so as to keep the spontoon honed.  The government will accumulate international kudos for the loans of competent forces - but that should not be the primary raison d'etre of the deployments.   The deployments should be self-serving to the extent that they are live fire training exercises.

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #80 on: March 10, 2010, 00:57:16 »
Mr. Owen’s condemnation of successive (Chrétien, Martin and Harper) governments for failing to understand, much less explain, what they wanted to do in Afghanistan is spot on. But it is not confined to Canada. I seriously doubt that anyone in the Bush or Obama administrations, including Generals Pertraeus and McCrystal,  understood/understands what America’s aim might be.

If you agree with George Friedman, America's Grand Strategy is to ensure that no power or combination of powers is able to dominate Europe or the Eurasian continent. This is simply an update of Halford John Mackinder's "World Island" theory, and Frieidman suggests that America, as an Oceanic Power, needs to simply destabilize any power or coalition that might dominate the Heartland of the "World Island". Read The Next 100 Years.

In this light, minimal interventions with only enough force to prevent potential hegemons from consolidating their position are the rule, not the exception. If the lead Oceanic power is only interested in minimal interventions, then followers like us need to calibrate our actions to match the senior partner.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #81 on: March 10, 2010, 06:20:40 »
I don't disagree with Friedman, regurgitating Mackinder, about what American strategy could or even should be; but I am about 99.99% certain that neither Bush nor Obama had/have any thoughts about 'grand strategy,' much less did either ever try to enunciate one, and I'm doubtful about Petraeus, McCrystal et al, too. The idea, to be charitable, of a War on Terror disabled strategic thinking in America.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline pbi

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #82 on: March 20, 2010, 11:22:48 »
The idea, to be charitable, of a War on Terror disabled strategic thinking in America.

I couldn't agree more. In my opinion it has done about as much good as designating the utterly ineffective anti-narco campaign in the US as "the War on Drugs". (Or the futile "War on Alcohol" that we have since come to refer to as "Prohibition") The problem inherent with calling something like this a "War" is that in Anglo-Western society it conjures up certain preconceived ideas, or expectations, that probably can't be met. First, the term "war" raises the idea of an identifiable, quantifiable "enemy" who will array themselves to be engaged, fought, and destroyed, usually in "battles" of some kind. IMHO this doesn't really happen, in either the GWOT or the WOD. Second, a "war" is presupposed to have identifiable "progress": "they" are losing, "we" are winning, etc. Again, this sort of progress might  be visible to those who have full access to all sources of assessment, but it can almost never be depicted accurately in a way that our domestic publics will understand (or, more importantly, believe). Finally, I think that the popular image of "war" also includes the expectation that there will be a clear-cut and recognizeable "victory". The images of VE-Day and VJ Day, despite being over half a century old, haven't lost their grip on the popular mind.
Once you create these sorts of expectations in the political culture, look out: you will have to live up to them or face the consequences. Since our foreign policies are, in the end, driven by domestic political concerns (= "getting re-elected"), the need to meet these false expectations can start to override lucid strategic thinking. Pragmatism and realism can be difficult to "sell" if they look like "defeatism", and no political leadership (especially in the US with the spectre of Vietnam) EVER wants to be remembered as the ones who "lost it".

Cheers
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

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Offline Journeyman

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #83 on: March 20, 2010, 11:53:11 »
For variations on this theme, have a look at MOISÉS NAÍM, "Mixed Metaphors: Why the wars on cancer, poverty, drugs, [etc] can't be won," Foreign Policy, March/April 2010, available here.

While Naim doesn't expound on the specific details of crippled strategic thinking, he does note that "good metaphors yield bad policies." 

(Which, of course, may simply be an example of that Logic Fallacy: "Glib expression mistaken for logical argument"  ;D)
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Offline pbi

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Re: About Turn! Time to Revise Canada’s Foreign Policy
« Reply #84 on: March 20, 2010, 12:59:46 »

While Naim doesn't expound on the specific details of crippled strategic thinking, he does note that "good metaphors yield bad policies." 

Usually true: I think he is referring to "bumper-sticker" thinking that sounds great, feels good, but in the end probably doesn't contribute much to understanding a complex situation. Except to make it seem as though there is a simple solution, which of course just serves to complicate things further.

The only place I can see this kind of sloganeering doing much good is when a nation is facing an actual existential threat, but the public doesn't quite realize it yet. At that point, the question of national survival becomes a zero-sum game: either the nation will be roused in time to action, or it will cease to exist. Since these situations are generally few and far between, I'd have to say that most of the time politicians wave these emotive terms around, they're opening a Pandora's box that they probably shouldn't.

Cheers
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

Offline S.M.A.

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Robert Fowler blasts Libs and Cons over Foreign policy
« Reply #85 on: March 28, 2010, 18:53:22 »
Related:

Canadian Press link

Quote
MONTREAL - Canada's role as a global leader has been compromised by consecutive Conservative and Liberal governments obssessed with courting ethnic voters, former diplomat Robert Fowler said.

Speaking to the Liberal policy renewal conference on Sunday, Fowler blasted the leading federal political parties for letting the country's foreign policy be dictated by special interests.


Fowler said both major parties have been enticed by the allure of political gains within the Jewish community. He said it is a strategy that leads to an unproductive support for Israel and undermines Canada's reputation as a trusted mediator in the Middle East.


"The scramble to lock up the Jewish vote in Canada meant selling out our widely admired and long-established reputation for fairness and justice," Fowler said.


"As the globe has become smaller and meaner, Canadian governments have turned inward and adopted me-first stances across the international agenda," he said.


"Canada's reputation and proud international traditions have been diminished as a result."


The conference was immediately set abuzz by Fowler's comments, and he became the de facto topic of conversation in the corridors outside the main ballroom.


Delivered at 8:30 a.m., the speech was like a splash of cold water for delegates at a cerebral gathering.


And if Fowler didn't mince his words about Canada's current foreign policy, he was downright ruthless in his message to the Liberal party, which he warned risked "losing its soul" in its quest for power.


"I have the impression that they will endorse anything and everything which might return them to power," he said.


His frankness could complicate life for Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, who was forced to dance around Fowler's condemnation of his party's stance on Israel.


"Robert Fowler is a Canadian hero," Ignatieff told a news conference following his closing speech Sunday afternoon.


"I didn't agree with every syllable, but that's exactly the kind of challenge that our party needs."


When pressed further, however, Ignatieff was categoric in his rejection of Fowler's claim the Liberals pander to the ethnic vote.

"I'm looking you in the eye and saying that it's not (true)."


Still the criticism is likely to raise eyebrows given its source.


Fowler spent five months as an al-Qaida hostage in western Africa in 2009 after being kidnapped while serving as the United Nations special envoy to Niger.
He also served as a diplomat and adviser under Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Brian Mulroney.

At the heart of his speech was an impassioned plea for Ottawa to reorient its foreign policy toward Africa, where he said population growth and endemic instability threaten the West's security.

Money spent in Afghanistan, he argued, would go much further in Africa.

"The bottom line is that we will not prevail in Afghanistan," he said.

"We are simply not prepared to foot the massive price in blood and treasure which it would take to effectively colonize Afghanistan ... and replace their culture with ours, for that seems to be what we seek."


But before launching into his broadside, Fowler prefaced his remarks by noting he owes his release last year to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

He acknowledged that his blunt remarks "may not sound like a terrific way to express my appreciation for the fact I'm alive."
« Last Edit: March 28, 2010, 19:27:40 by CougarDaddy »
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