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Acting Nice for Politics Sake (HMCS Calgary in Brunei)

Lumber

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HMCS Calgary just arrived un Brunei for a port visit, and their ship's Facebook page posted about 30 pictures with the captions: "HMCS Calgary just arrived in Brunei! We’re so honoured to be welcomed here. Onward!" (colour mine)

Does anyone else see an issue with this? That we're saying we are "honoured" to be welcomed into a country where it is illegal to be gay, so much so that (despite a moratorium on the practice), the punishment for homosexuality is death? How can we be "honoured" to be welcomed somewhere who's values run so counter to our own?
 

Kilted

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I think that that is pretty much standard procedure. It's not up to the military to make political based decisions about which ports to make Facebook posts about.
 

Lumber

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I think that that is pretty much standard procedure. It's not up to the military to make political based decisions about which ports to make Facebook posts about.
It's not so much about having a post at all, it's about what's in the post.
 

daftandbarmy

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HMCS Calgary just arrived un Brunei for a port visit, and their ship's Facebook page posted about 30 pictures with the captions: "HMCS Calgary just arrived in Brunei! We’re so honoured to be welcomed here. Onward!" (colour mine)

Does anyone else see an issue with this? That we're saying we are "honoured" to be welcomed into a country where it is illegal to be gay, so much so that (despite a moratorium on the practice), the punishment for homosexuality is death? How can we be "honoured" to be welcomed somewhere who's values run so counter to our own?

If we applied those type of ethical criteria to where our ships were allowed to go they'd wind up condemned to doing circuits around Vancouver Island... avoiding places like Salt Spring Island of course :)
 

Blackadder1916

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Perhaps you're confusing "politics" (as per the topic title) and "diplomacy". The military shouldn't get mixed up in politics (how a state, theirs or another, decides to run its own affairs or how they will interact with another state) but the military, unless in foreign territory without the permission or desire of that foreign power (i.e. there to break things), should always be aware that they must practise good diplomacy (the activities that an agent of a state engages in with foreign entities on behalf of their state).
 

Edward Campbell

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I'm with Blackadder1916. Diplomacy is very, Very, VERY much part of the CF's mission and no one can do it better than the RCN.

I can tell you, with 99% certainty, that an international deal that had a value in the tens, likely hundreds of billions, over the years, was 'sealed and delivered' (for eventual signature) by one of our warships after what my Navy friends called a 'banyan' in which officials from an important country that was in the process of derailing an agreement were entertained on the flight deck (after a quite in-depth tour of the most technical bits of the ship) and went home persuaded that we were good people with whom to do business and with whom to make a good, honest, mutually beneficial deal.

Saying we are "honoured" to visit is just polite; it's good, diplomatic language. And we are, formally, allied with some nations that are far less honourable than is Brunei. Being honest in expressing our feelings about countries that are not our enemies is not the CF's job.
 

Navy_Pete

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I'm with Blackadder1916. Diplomacy is very, Very, VERY much part of the CF's mission and no one can do it better than the RCN.

I can tell you, with 99% certainty, that an international deal that had a value in the tens, likely hundreds of billions, over the years, was 'sealed and delivered' (for eventual signature) by one of our warships after what my Navy friends called a 'banyan' in which officials from an important country that was in the process of derailing an agreement were entertained on the flight deck (after a quite in-depth tour of the most technical bits of the ship) and went home persuaded that we were good people with whom to do business and with whom to make a good, honest, mutually beneficial deal.

Saying we are "honoured" to visit is just polite; it's good, diplomatic language. And we are, formally, allied with some nations that are far less honourable than is Brunei. Being honest in expressing our feelings about countries that are not our enemies is not the CF's job.
Similarly, have been at a diplomatic event hosted by the ship while alongside Cairo; we were specifically there to represent Canada and NATO at a period where both China and Russia were heavily courting Egypt.

This was around when they were taking delivery of the Mistrals and were looking at a frigate design. No idea if that visit helped, but it didn't hurt anything and they subsequently ordered some more FREMM variants.

Think a lot of countries play both sides of the fence there, but in any case we were explicitly there for no reason other than to show NATO presence and host this diplomatic event onboard the ship (on the flightdeck). We followed that on with a short exercise to practice boarding operations that involved the Egyptians and some other NATO countries, which was also specifically to build relationships.

It was generally a good experience, and I think everyone that wanted to got to go to the pyramids while we were there, and did other interesting things like tour their repair facility and see the small patrol boats they design and build themselves.
 

daftandbarmy

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Nope. Diplomatic function being fulfilled. Ask the politicians and foreign affairs types to explain themselves: why did they permit (or required) the port visit?

And the Sultan of Brunei, a Sandhurst graduate who employs his own Gurkha battalion, is a big supporters of the West in general, which is rare in that (largely Indonesian influenced) part of the world.

Canada also has a fair bit of bilateral trade going on if this website is to be believed:

Canada's trade relationship with Brunei includes commerce across a number of sectors. For example, Canadian firms are working in aerospace and simulation training, information and communication technologies and in the growing halal pharma industry. Brunei also continues to be a potential market for Canadian companies in the following sectors: oil and gas, clean technologies, agriculture and agri-food, defence and security and education. Canada’s merchandise exports to Brunei in 2018 amounted to $6.5 million, consisting mostly of machinery and mechanical appliances and vegetable products. In 2018, merchandise imports from Brunei to Canada totaled $7.5million, consisting mostly of essential oils, perfumery and cosmetics.

 

daftandbarmy

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Didn’t know they had interests in the Kashmir.

Well, Iran collaborates with China on reactor technology, and we sold CANDU to China (and India, Pakistan and and Russi... FFS), so I assume there'd be some kind of 'technology bleed over'.

 

LittleBlackDevil

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Nope. Diplomatic function being fulfilled. Ask the politicians and foreign affairs types to explain themselves: why did they permit (or required) the port visit?
This.

Pretty sure RCN ships don't just randomly stop at whatever port they feel like, whenever they feel like it. Arrangements were made at higher levels. Question is for the politicians and foreign-affairs people, not the sailors who were just following orders and exercising very basic manners/diplomacy.
 

Jarnhamar

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HMCS Calgary just arrived un Brunei for a port visit, and their ship's Facebook page posted about 30 pictures with the captions: "HMCS Calgary just arrived in Brunei! We’re so honoured to be welcomed here. Onward!" (colour mine)

Does anyone else see an issue with this? That we're saying we are "honoured" to be welcomed into a country where it is illegal to be gay, so much so that (despite a moratorium on the practice), the punishment for homosexuality is death? How can we be "honoured" to be welcomed somewhere who's values run so counter to our own?

Pretty interesting topic.

Yes this is more hypothetical but I can easily see sailors posting complaints about this on Social Media.

We're giving troops voices. Giving them the illusion of renaming ranks. Telling them to email the admiral directly if they have a problem with the orders (paraphrasing). We're telling troops their opinions are super important, so of course they're going to voice them.

Is a gay sailor going to be honoured to work with a country who persecutes or executes gay citizens? Probably not.
 

Kirkhill

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"Silence in the ranks!"

"You will speak when you are spoken to!"

It seems to me that a port call is every bit as much a "parade" as "Divisions". And as to social media.... are service people allowed to self-identify as service people on social media when offering opinions?
 

daftandbarmy

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Pretty interesting topic.

Yes this is more hypothetical but I can easily see sailors posting complaints about this on Social Media.

We're giving troops voices. Giving them the illusion of renaming ranks. Telling them to email the admiral directly if they have a problem with the orders (paraphrasing). We're telling troops their opinions are super important, so of course they're going to voice them.

Is a gay sailor going to be honoured to work with a country who persecutes or executes gay citizens? Probably not.

Professional soldiers/sailors/ air peeps go where they're told and do a great job regardless of personal opinions.

Something else I struggled with during my years in uniform :)
 
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