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After SSE - Canada’s next defence policy

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Lawrence Martin in the Globe and Mail.​

In the face of global disorder, Trudeau’s team is timid​

Lawrence Martin
LAWRENCE MARTINPUBLIC AFFAIRS COLUMNIST
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
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Think of it this way, said Frank McKenna, the former New Brunswick premier and ambassador to Washington. “Canada has what Russia has.”
In the absence of that pariah state as a supplier of oil, gas, grain, other critical minerals and resources, Canada, he said, can do much more to fill the void.
Addressing a Canadian Global Affairs Institute conference in Ottawa Tuesday, he was one of several seasoned foreign policy specialists who had a message the Justin Trudeau Liberals would do well to heed.
In confronting the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as other threats to liberal democracy, the government is being overly cautious, reactive instead of proactive. There’s a lack of enterprise, leaving this country’s potential on the foreign stage markedly unfulfilled.
In the past, inaction wasn’t so costly. Given the new world disorder, standing back won’t do. “We have to have a greater presence,” the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Bob Rae told the gathering, “or we will lose out.”
The problem, said former prime minister and foreign minister Joe Clark in a corridor interview, is that Mr. Trudeau heads “a remarkably inward-looking government. We’re not sufficiently engaged.” While there are a couple of very talented ministers, he thinks they don’t make enough of a mark. “They go to an event for the photo and then leave.”
The absence of boldness is a strange posture in the context of what John Manley, who piloted foreign policy under Jean Chrétien, had to say. Given the ways of geopolitics, especially how the United States can no longer be relied upon as in the past, “we are more alone in the world than we ever have been,” he said. Even the newly modernized NAFTA, Mr. Manley said, can’t be guaranteed to last, given how Mexico has not been integrated as hoped.
As tensions between NATO and Russia increase, look to Kaliningrad
This year’s Victory Day in Russia will be a confirmation, not a contradiction
On relations with the U.S., Gary Doer, a former Manitoba premier and Washington ambassador under Stephen Harper, said there should be a push to forge a comprehensive energy security plan.
He didn’t mince his words. It’s “absolutely insane,” he said, that Washington is considering replacing oil imports from Russia with supplies from human rights abuser Venezuela instead of working together with Canada to fast-track deliveries.
On Ottawa’s military assistance to Ukraine, Conservative Peter MacKay, who served as foreign minister in the Harper government, didn’t mince his words either. “We sent four howitzers. That’s not enough to protect a small village.”

From panelist after panelist, the warnings piled up. “Get ready for a period of long confrontation with China,” said Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trudeau. China, he said, is on track to be “a bigger foreign policy problem for us than Russia.”
David MacNaughton, Canada’s Washington ambassador during Donald Trump’s presidency, said Canadian foreign policy has to put more focus on its own hemisphere, particularly in the Caribbean, where China is making major investments, and in the North, where neighbour Russia threatens Arctic sovereignty. Both areas offer potential for collaboration with the U.S., he said.
The run of critiques came after Defence Minister Anita Anand opened the conference with the statement that “Our allies and partners want more of Canada.” This is a crucial moment, she said, and promised there would be more from Canada to be seen in the coming months, including on the subject of continental defence, which she called an as-yet unwritten chapter in the policy book.
On the plus side, as noted by Mr. McKenna and others, is the vast Canadian potential. If any country has the capacity to navigate the new perilous world, said Mr. Manley, noting Canada’s natural resources, diversity and highly educated population, it’s this country.
A more activist role in foreign affairs, pollsters David Coletto and Frank Graves told the participants, stands a good chance of being greeted by something unusual on the political front: bipartisan support. Liberals and Conservatives are not so ideologically divergent in the domain.
Unlike other countries that have been turning inward, even isolationist, Mr. Graves observed how Canadians commendably remain open to the world, to free trade and immigration.
In sum, noted Mr. Rae, “We have every reason for our diplomacy to be more robust.” To the Manley concern about Canada having never been so alone, he offered one of his favourite maxims: “If you want to have a friend, be one.”
Good advice. The new world instability calls for a bold new foreign policy. Instead of caution, it’s time, as Richard Fadden, Mr. Harper’s former national security adviser put it, to “pop the clutch.”
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Kirkhill

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Canada's New Global Affairs Minister Reveals Her Mentor is Frank McKenna


Frank McKenna on Continental Defence in 2002


Canada's next ambassador to U.S. instigates outrage over missile defense​



February 22, 2005
OTTAWA - Frank McKenna, Canada's next Ambassador to the U.S., announced Canada's partnership in the U.S.A.'s continental missile shield program. "We are part of it now," he said at a press conference in Ottawa.

 

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CBC News in Review •April 2005 • Page 19


MISSILE DEFENCE: CANADA TAKES A PASS
Introduction

Focus
In February 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that Canada would not take part in the
U.S. ballistic missile defence plan. This News in Review module explores the pros and cons of the
Canadian decision, with specific emphasis on the part Canada plays in the de- fence of North
America.

Definition Ballistic refers to projectiles that return to earth through the force
of gravity. Ballistics is the study of projectiles and firearms.


The president leaned across the table and said to the prime minister, “I’m not taking this
position, but some future president is going to say, ‘Why are we paying to defend Canada?’” This is
what U.S. President George W. Bush said to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin at a meeting in
December 2004—at least that is what the Wash- ington Post says happened (The Globe and Mail,
January 25, 2005). The hottest military topic at the time: Ballis- tic Missile Defence (BMD).
Canada had vacillated on the issue for long enough; the United States wanted Canada on board as a
confirmation of the strong defence partnership the two nations had maintained since 1940. The
comment by the president was seen by some as a gentle nudge toward Cana- dian endorsement of U.S.
missile defence plans. Others saw the comment as the U.S. strong-arming Canada into co-operation in
a highly controversial weapons project.

Defence in the Nuclear Age BMD finds its origins shortly after the dawn of the nuclear age. Once it
had been established that several nations either had or would have the ability to deploy nuclear
weapons, defence scientists worked on a way to defend
against such attacks. The greatest threat came from the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM),
a weapon that could travel from the USSR to the U.S. or vice versa and deliver its nuclear pay-
load on the perceived enemy. From about 1960 onward both Cold War rivals tried to come up with a
workable defence shield that could counter the ICBM threat. Efforts seemed futile— the technology
just wasn’t there—so in

1972 the U.S. and the USSR signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Seen by many as the
blueprint for peace and deterrence in the Cold War era, the ABM Treaty marked a diplomatic
breakthrough in the arms race. Both sides agreed to abandon the idea of constructing a defence
shield. The ABM went virtually untested until the Cold War heated up in the 1980s. U.S. President
Ronald Reagan proposed the construction of a complex weapons system known as the Strategic Defence
Initiative (SDI). Referred to as “Star Wars” by some critics, SDI was an ambitious program designed
to defend the U.S. from ballistic missile attacks. SDI was widely criticized because of its plans
to put weapons in space.

NMD: Son of Star Wars
The SDI was reorganized into the Ballistic Missile Defence Organization in the 1990s, with
President Bill Clinton proposing a toned-down version of the original plan, sometimes called “son
of star wars.” Clinton’s National Missile Defence (NMD) plan called for the construction of a
missile defence shield co-ordinating land, sea, and air com- mands in the interception and destruc-
tion of ballistic missiles aimed at the
U.S. By the end of his presidency, Clinton decided to let his successor, George W. Bush, determine
the fate of the project, since testing indicated that the missile defence system didn’t work and
the appetite for spending money on the program had waned. However, after September 11, 2001, Bush
gave the NMD the resources it needed. By fall 2004, the first interceptor missiles were in place at
the U.S. military base in Fort Greely, Alaska.

FurtherResearch To learn more about Canada’s alliances with the U.S., consider visiting the CBC
Digital Archives at www.cbc.ca/archives and explore the audio-visual files “NORAD: Watching
The Skies,” and “One for All: The North Atlantic Treaty Organiza-
tion.”


Canada and BMD
The Canadian and U.S. militaries have been closely linked since the formation of the Permanent
Joint Board on De- fence (PJBD) by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister King in 1940. The
formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) followed in 1949 and the North American
Aerospace Defence Agreement (NORAD) in 1958. Clearly both countries have viewed the defence of
North America as being of pre-eminent importance. However, the issue of BMD has led to a political
and military impasse between the two allies. The Americans view BMD as being a non-negotiable
national security strat- egy that they will pursue with or with- out Canada’s involvement. Many
Canadians see BMD as leading to a new arms race and the weaponization of space—a non-negotiable
proposition in Canadian politics. Critics suggest that this strategy is equivalent to trying to
hit a bullet with another bullet—an idea that is highly improbable with today’s technology.

The Politics of Missile Defence By February 2005, Canada felt com- pelled to make a decision on
BMD. Canadian Ambassador to the U.S., Frank McKenna, forced the issue when he made a public
statement claiming that Canada was already on board with the U.S. missile defence plan. McKenna
cited an amendment to the NORAD
protocol giving military personnel at Peterson Air Force Base permission to share information with
the U.S. missile defence command. Since the Americans did not expect Canada to pay a dime for BMD,
McKenna reasoned that Cana- dian participation would take the shape of information sharing. The
ambassador’s comments sent Liberal politicians in Ottawa into damage control. The Prime Minister
and the Minister of Defence emphasized that no firm decision on BMD had been made. Opposition
members accused the gov- ernment of making a secret deal with the U.S., promising Canadian involve-
ment in BMD. Within days of the McKenna comment, Prime Minister Martin announced that Canada would
take a pass on BMD. Many Canadians breathed a collective sigh of relief; the Americans expressed
their displeasure.
U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci claimed that Canada was blindly giving up its seat at the table when
it comes to mis- sile defence; U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice abruptly cancelled a trip
to Canada. However, for Prime Minister Martin staying out of BMD became a matter of political
survival. A torrent of opposition in Ottawa had put his minority government on thin ice. It was
likely that the Liberal government would fall given the opposition to BMD from within the Liberal
caucus and from other members of the House of Commons.
 

Kirkhill

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I apologize for the long list of postings .... but :giggle:

While focusing on Ukraine I haven't been paying much attention to the home front.

It appears that Minister Anand has been busy consulting - and one group of consultants was essentially the entire Privy Council - anybody that has ever been named Honourable or Right Honourable was invited to a CGAI party to express their views. The consensus, as described in the Lawrence Martin report was it is well past time for Canada to get the thumb out.

The fact that the opinion piece was as close as Lawrence Martin ever gets to a straight news report is in itself remarkable. Normally I consider him nothing more than a Liberal tout. In this case that has merit. It suggests to me that there is a shaping of the battlefield going on.

Continental Defence, getting into bed with those nasty Yanks, Star Wars, Ballistic Missile Defence - all of those things are on the table.

I have started to get used to Minister Anand sounding a bit more like Manley and MacKay than Axworthy and Clark but I had my concerns about Joly.

Then I discovered that Joly considers Frank McKenna a mentor.

And McKenna was a proponent, in Hilliers day, of Continental Defence and Anti Ballistic Missile Systems.

So with Anand, Joly and Freeland in place is it too much to hope that this trio of women could sell Canadians on the need to protect hearth and home and come up with a strong, rational defence policy.

One thing I did notice. I was reading an article about refreshing the North Warning System with Over The Horizon radars. The important part was the headline was all about protecting the cities of the south. The subtext was equally important - a Canadian radar built in Canada by Canadians - in particular Southern Ontario.

As I said, I sense a shaping of the Information battlefield.
 

dimsum

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One thing I did notice. I was reading an article about refreshing the North Warning System with Over The Horizon radars. The important part was the headline was all about protecting the cities of the south.

That's not all that surprising though. Most of the population and infra is in the south.

If you're going to be convincing govt to approve it, and the public to get on board with it, "protecting Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver" is going to have a bigger impact than "protecting Iqaluit and the NWP".

That might not be the correct strategic answer, but it's the correct "voting" answer.
 

daftandbarmy

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That's not all that surprising though. Most of the population and infra is in the south.

If you're going to be convincing govt to approve it, and the public to get on board with it, "protecting Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver" is going to have a bigger impact than "protecting Iqaluit and the NWP".

That might not be the correct strategic answer, but it's the correct "voting" answer.

But what would a trustee fund raised sparkle socks wearing privileged ego-maniac white man baby want to do?

IMHO, that's the key factor in the estimate ;)
 

Kirkhill

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That's not all that surprising though. Most of the population and infra is in the south.

If you're going to be convincing govt to approve it, and the public to get on board with it, "protecting Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver" is going to have a bigger impact than "protecting Iqaluit and the NWP".

That might not be the correct strategic answer, but it's the correct "voting" answer.

Agree absolutely. It's the fact that it is being presented as "beneficial to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver" and not just that it is a "military necessity" or, even worse, "a useless requirement of the Americans" that I find interesting.

If the government wants to win the information war then use the "TMV" pitch. If the government wants to lose the information war then use the "Americans" pitch.

The "Americans" pitch was used during the Reagan Star Wars (pejorative) and Cruise Missile campaigns, the Clinton Son of Star Wars campaign and the Bush II Continental Defence campaign. The government of Canada didn't have to take a position. It simply didn't bother to counter the opposition position and let it dominate the public square.

This time I sense two or three major differences:

1 There is a government pitch presenting the benefits
2 The party that is doing the pitching is the same party that has made hay out of opposing the exact same pitch previously

And the third, maybe

3 The pitch is a Gender Based pitch being led by three women - the Finance Minister, the Global Affairs Minister and the Defence Minister.

Defence is one area where gender generally splits the population, being seen as a predominantly male interest with a significant portion of female population preferring butter over guns. And the left tends to skew their message in that direction. And this government, in particular this wing of the Liberal Party and the NDP have both built their power base making their pitches to that audience.

If they want to, or are forced to, change policy to one of guns instead of butter then they are going to have to bring their power base, the left, with them. They can't simply declare a policy change because that would result in outcry. They have to do the Ralph Klein thing and lead where their followers want to be led.

The one thing that trumps "more butter" is "security".

If the government were inclined to oppose an imposed policy change then it would do what it has in the past and let the "outcry" prevail and tell the world "Sorry! We tried. It is just not politically possible for us domestically. Nothing we can do about it."

This time, the fact
that the government is taking the time to make the pitch,
that it is being made by a left wing government,
that it is being made by women,
that it is being pitched through the CBC, the Globe and Mail's Editorial Board and Lawrence Martin,
through a convening of the cross party old guard of Privy Councillors by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute,
that it was pitched through a presentation in Washington sponsored by the "Smart Women Smart Power Initiative" of the Center for Strategic and International Studies,
all suggest that the change is real.

Take that together with the Auditor General's military "slush fund"
With the Government making a 600 MCAD investment in Nunavut to "maintain" (clean-up?) the existing DEW-Line/North Warning Sites which seem about ready to be made redundant by OTH Radars and an enhanced Radarsat constellation,
And I suggest that the government is moving fast in an unlikely direction.

Even the deal with the NDP of March 22, a month after the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine, three weeks after the Feb 28 speech by Chancellor Scholz of Germany repudiating Merkel and Rapprochement, a deal apparently brokered by Christia Freeland, a deal that gives what was a weak minority government a firm platform for the next two or three years, can be seen through this same lens.

The weak minority government, even with the Ukrainian backdrop, would have been challenged to do a Scholz Turn on defence and sell guns instead of butter. It needed to know that it could manage its base against the base's strong isolationist, pacificist, inward looking elements.

And all of this has been done since February 24th - 79 days ago, less than 12 weeks, less than 3 months.

In Canada this is lightning fast for what can be perceived as a monumental shift by the party in power.

It also suggests that the change to the international scene and the impact it has on the domestic scene is perceived as very real by the people in power in Canada. Whoever that may actually be.
 

Kirkhill

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But what would a trustee fund raised sparkle socks wearing privileged ego-maniac white man baby want to do?

IMHO, that's the key factor in the estimate ;)

What would he WANT to do, indeed.

It will be interesting to see if he rides out the changes, if the changes happen despite his wants, if he gets replaced, or if he just starts reading from a new script.
 

Good2Golf

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In Canada this is lightning fast for what can be perceived as a monumental shift by the party in power.

It also suggests that the change to the international scene and the impact it has on the domestic scene is perceived as very real by the people in power in Canada. Whoever that may actually be.

Methinks that Canada received a multi-source pummeling behind the scenes recently, with a ‘put up, or shut up!’ message train…
 

FJAG

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This all seems to me to be a fairly realistic approach by a government that I have zero respect for.

Canada's population is a generation that has never had Soviet Nuclear sabres rattled at it before. Those that follow the MSM - and I think there are still some - will have noticed that it's not just Ukraine that is being threatened, but North America as well.

We have two major security issues that we could invest in:

1 Continental defence;

2. European NATO advanced defence.

The US would be happy if we invested in 2 and ecstatic if we invested in 1. No one really cares what Europe thinks because there is too little return on investment from them. The US on the other hand ...

We could actually fulfill both.

Put our real money into continental defence. We're already refreshing our fighter fleet and naval forces. An anti-missile defence actually does something, is complementary, and it will be seen as a defensive rather than offensive measure. Something that now threatened Canadians can get on board with. The fact that there might be economic spin offs from that is a bonus.

As for European defence - a low cost solution is to move the CMTC infrastructure and a healthy slice of a brigade's equipment as a flyover force to Poland. (Easily done if 2 CMBG is turned into a light brigade and Canada commits two LAV battalions and a half a regiment of tanks plus enablers overseas). Our annual managed readiness cycles can then be built around a flyover Maple Resolve. Much of the recurring costs would come out of existing Ready Forces programs. The additional recurring funds required are miniscule compared to those being sunk into continental defence but would still garner significant political brownie points. By being a flyover force it would be seen as less "offensive" by the Canadian public who, at the moment, are already being conditioned with the very real Russian threat to world peace.

China? It's a long game. It can wait until we have our continental ducks in a row.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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This all seems to me to be a fairly realistic approach by a government that I have zero respect for.

Canada's population is a generation that has never had Soviet Nuclear sabres rattled at it before. Those that follow the MSM - and I think there are still some - will have noticed that it's not just Ukraine that is being threatened, but North America as well.

We have two major security issues that we could invest in:

1 Continental defence;

2. European NATO advanced defence.

The US would be happy if we invested in 2 and ecstatic if we invested in 1. No one really cares what Europe thinks because there is too little return on investment from them. The US on the other hand ...

We could actually fulfill both.

Put our real money into continental defence. We're already refreshing our fighter fleet and naval forces. An anti-missile defence actually does something, is complementary, and it will be seen as a defensive rather than offensive measure. Something that now threatened Canadians can get on board with. The fact that there might be economic spin offs from that is a bonus.

As for European defence - a low cost solution is to move the CMTC infrastructure and a healthy slice of a brigade's equipment as a flyover force to Poland. (Easily done if 2 CMBG is turned into a light brigade and Canada commits two LAV battalions and a half a regiment of tanks plus enablers overseas). Our annual managed readiness cycles can then be built around a flyover Maple Resolve. Much of the recurring costs would come out of existing Ready Forces programs. The additional recurring funds required are miniscule compared to those being sunk into continental defence but would still garner significant political brownie points. By being a flyover force it would be seen as less "offensive" by the Canadian public who, at the moment, are already being conditioned with the very real Russian threat to world peace.

China? It's a long game. It can wait until we have our continental ducks in a row.

🍻

I'll go you one further when it comes to the Army FJAG. Reverse the 1970s batting order.

Instead of the SSF National Defence Force, the 5 CMBG CAST (nominal) Brigade, the 1 CMBG Augmentation Brigade and the 4 CMBG Prepositioned Brigade with the SSF being everybody's Regimental Step-Child and 4 CMBG being the big leagues, recreate 1, 2 and 5 Brigades as 2 battalion light Special Service Forces for Continental Defence and resurrect 4 CMBG with two sets of kit - one in Alberta or Gagetown and one in Europe.

The Regiments (Inf, Armd, Arty and Eng) rotate troops from the SSFs through 4 CMBG and 4 CMBG regularly practices deployments over seas.
 

Kirkhill

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This all seems to me to be a fairly realistic approach by a government that I have zero respect for.

Canada's population is a generation that has never had Soviet Nuclear sabres rattled at it before. Those that follow the MSM - and I think there are still some - will have noticed that it's not just Ukraine that is being threatened, but North America as well.

We have two major security issues that we could invest in:

1 Continental defence;

2. European NATO advanced defence.

The US would be happy if we invested in 2 and ecstatic if we invested in 1. No one really cares what Europe thinks because there is too little return on investment from them. The US on the other hand ...

We could actually fulfill both.

Put our real money into continental defence. We're already refreshing our fighter fleet and naval forces. An anti-missile defence actually does something, is complementary, and it will be seen as a defensive rather than offensive measure. Something that now threatened Canadians can get on board with. The fact that there might be economic spin offs from that is a bonus.

As for European defence - a low cost solution is to move the CMTC infrastructure and a healthy slice of a brigade's equipment as a flyover force to Poland. (Easily done if 2 CMBG is turned into a light brigade and Canada commits two LAV battalions and a half a regiment of tanks plus enablers overseas). Our annual managed readiness cycles can then be built around a flyover Maple Resolve. Much of the recurring costs would come out of existing Ready Forces programs. The additional recurring funds required are miniscule compared to those being sunk into continental defence but would still garner significant political brownie points. By being a flyover force it would be seen as less "offensive" by the Canadian public who, at the moment, are already being conditioned with the very real Russian threat to world peace.

China? It's a long game. It can wait until we have our continental ducks in a row.

🍻

More thoughts more in keeping with this thread rather than the Force 2025 meander I took

Yes it is a sensible approach and one that I think is both right and sellable - and more easily sellable because it is right.
We are not a world apart on the Flyover approach although I suspect my continuing Light emphasis will gain few additional converts.
WRT China - I wouldn't wait too long on China. I suspect, believe, that with a collapse of the Kremlin that China will move to exploit the vacuum. I still expect to see them looking for a seat on the Arctic Council before long as well as looking to exploit indigenous connections across the north.
 

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With the understanding that stationing troops offshore costs money, would establishing a brigade somewhere in Europe not help with retention and recruitment? Having one's spouse disappear for months at a time causes significant hardship whereas being overseas with them might make it more palatable.
 

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With the understanding that stationing troops offshore costs money, would establishing a brigade somewhere in Europe not help with retention and recruitment? Having one's spouse disappear for months at a time causes significant hardship whereas being overseas with them might make it more palatable.
Very true that.

Two years in Poland with the family, Canadian schools and a Canex would probably be a major recruiting tool.

So you put a brigade of kit in Poland, another in Canada and keep a Battle Group forwards with the remainder getting flyovers. Some might prefer to stay in Canada.
 

OldSolduer

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Perhaps the first thing is decide what policy the nation needs to follow cause this one ain't working.
 

Colin Parkinson

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I suspect, believe, that with a collapse of the Kremlin that China will move to exploit the vacuum. I still expect to see them looking for a seat on the Arctic Council before long as well as looking to exploit indigenous connections across the north.
Many of the indigenous communities are not enamoured or loyal to Ottawa or Moscow, or any other Northern Capital. Nor is their leadership well versed in the pitfalls of dealing with Beijing, so could be bought in many ways. It would make an interesting battle if a indigenous group on "unceded land" declared they are now a independent nation with the financial and political support of Beijing.
 

daftandbarmy

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With the understanding that stationing troops offshore costs money, would establishing a brigade somewhere in Europe not help with retention and recruitment? Having one's spouse disappear for months at a time causes significant hardship whereas being overseas with them might make it more palatable.

Or just don't recruit married people?
 

Kirkhill

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Many of the indigenous communities are not enamoured or loyal to Ottawa or Moscow, or any other Northern Capital. Nor is their leadership well versed in the pitfalls of dealing with Beijing, so could be bought in many ways. It would make an interesting battle if a indigenous group on "unceded land" declared they are now a independent nation with the financial and political support of Beijing.

Denmark has trouble with China over Greenland.


Need to keep the North on-side.
 
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