Author Topic: National Post View: The military is an instrument of national policy, not Libera  (Read 3035 times)

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Offline Dimsum

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It leans a bit sensationalist, at least on the Navy side (totally missing the bit that our Frigates are doing most of the deployments now, not the Destroyers), but it's almost as though someone took the major arguments from here (less Buttons n' Bows) and put it in an Op-Ed  :nod:

Quote
As Donald Trump continues to rapidly reshape U.S. policy on issues foreign and domestic, Canada is moving to adapt. Trade has gotten the most attention so far, as is logical — we depend on our access to the gigantic U.S. economy for our prosperity. But there is another area where Canada will need to adapt to the new U.S. administration’s priorities. There are early signs we are willing to play ball there, too.


As recently reported by the National Post’s John Ivison, the Trudeau government’s oft-touted plan to deploy up to 600 military personnel on a peacekeeping mission to Africa is on hold. With Trump publicly calling out some of America’s allies for not pulling their weight in the Western alliance, the Canadian government has postponed the deployment until it can co-ordinate with the White House.

Canada, of course, must act in its own interests. But it must also be pragmatic. The U.S. is our most vital partner and our closest ally. Furthermore, if the White House chooses to make an issue of Canada’s low military spending and our resulting often shockingly poor state of military readiness, what can Canada say? We do underfund our military, we do understaff units, we do bungle one procurement program after another, and our military remains, as it long has, too small for a country of our size and global responsibilities. In other words, if the president decides to be critical of our contributions, in this case, he’ll have truth as a defence.

The White House seems inclined to cut us some slack. Ivison reports that Ottawa has been told that the U.S. administration and its military leaders value Canada’s willingness to punch above its weight during times of crisis, and also recognizes that the quality of the Canadian military allows us to do more with less. But one can only take that so far. Our army is too small to meet all of our international obligations while also retaining enough forces at home to be prepared for unexpected contingencies, such as natural disaster or civil emergency. Our air force desperately needs a new fighter fleet, and in much larger numbers than the 65-jet figure that has been bandied about. Yet that procurement program remains dead in the water. And the less is said about the disaster that is Canada’s tiny navy, with its half-functional submarines, one elderly destroyer and no supply ships, the better.

Like every NATO member, Canada has committed to spend two per cent of GDP on defence. We currently spend less than half that. It is unlikely, to say the least, that Canada will spend the extra $20 billion per year it would cost to make the two per cent target, but that is no reason to not work harder to find ways and budgetary room to invest in a larger, more capable Canadian military. If it takes the White House prodding Canada to bring this about, so be it.

And in the meantime, Canada at least needs to be smart about using what military forces it has. A peacekeeping mission to Africa simply is not a priority given our limited means and the current international situation, even if the federals Liberals had badly wanted one as a way to ingratiate themselves to the United Nations. Canada is already reinforcing our allies in Europe, tensions are rising in the Pacific, and Canada remains a part of the anti-ISIL coalition active in Iraq. A 600-man deployment to Africa is a luxury at the best of times, and these are certainly not that.

There’s also the issue of the current challenges facing peacekeeping itself. Recent (and indeed, ongoing) UN missions to Africa have been rocked in recent years by confirmed reports of peacekeepers refusing to intervene to stop atrocities, and UN forces have been repeatedly accused of brutality themselves, including the sexual exploitation of children. Why would Canada commit its far-too-slender military resources to these missions? Would we be prepared to unilaterally send Canadian troops into battle, alone, to prevent massacres while our UN partners twiddled their thumbs in their barracks? Would our forces answer to Ottawa or to the legendarily byzantine East River bureaucracy? These are critical questions Canadians never had satisfactory answers to, and yet the Trudeau government didn’t waver until now. Why?

The answer, of course, is because the Liberals have convinced themselves, and too many Canadians, that Canada is a primarily peacekeeping nation, not a military one. That’s not true and never has been. It is long-past time for the Liberals to start properly recognizing the Armed Forces as an instrument of national policy, rather than political vanity. If Trump is the means to that end, so be it, for it’s better late than never.


http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/full-comment/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-view-the-military-is-an-instrument-of-national-policy-not-liberal-vanity
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline jollyjacktar

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It leans a bit sensationalist, at least on the Navy side (totally missing the bit that our Frigates are doing most of the deployments now, not the Destroyers), but it's almost as though someone took the major arguments from here (less Buttons n' Bows) and put it in an Op-Ed  :nod:

http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/full-comment/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-view-the-military-is-an-instrument-of-national-policy-not-liberal-vanity

I think you miss the point they were making re the Destroyer, subs and no AOR is the dramatic loss of capabilities we now face with the destroyers soon to be completely gone and no sea legs without AOR support.  I never realized how tin pot we were until I visited Norfolk for the first time.  It was a good lesson in humility.

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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If the government wants to send soldiers to Africa, please do so under a mandate that's independent of the UN.  France's Op BARKHANE is not a UN mission and the French don't fall under UN command.  I'd rather have any Canadian contingent  working OPCON to a French Commander than having to answer to the rump of an organization that is the United Nations. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 07:49:22 by Humphrey Bogart »

Offline Lumber

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If the government wants to send soldiers to Africa, please do so under a mandate that's independent of the UN.  France's Op BARKHANE is not a UN mission and the French don't fall under UN command.  I'd rather have any Canadian contingent  working OPCON to a French Commander than having to answer to the rump of an organization that is the United Nations.

Hear hear,  but then how would we get our medals?
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Offline Dimsum

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Hear hear,  but then how would we get our medals?

Oh I don't know - dither about with what constitutes acceptability for the GCS vice GSM, and make said dithering long enough that Roto 0 doesn't get either  >:D
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

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Hear hear,  but then how would we get our medals?

Ink up a new ribbon for the OSM or GCS...pretty easy.

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Offline rmc_wannabe

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Ink up a new ribbon for the OSM or GCS...pretty easy.

MM

Tell that to the bulk of Op Unifier and Op Reassurance that are stuck uneligible for the archaic SSM due to 180 deployments no longer being the norm. The GCS/GSM/OSM was supposed to end this crap show but hasn't...
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Offline daftandbarmy

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If the government wants to send soldiers to Africa, please do so under a mandate that's independent of the UN.  France's Op BARKHANE is not a UN mission and the French don't fall under UN command.  I'd rather have any Canadian contingent  working OPCON to a French Commander than having to answer to the rump of an organization that is the United Nations.

Methinks the Trump regime will quickly sideline Prince Justin's plans for the Dark Continent... unless that includes AQ busting operations of course.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Methinks the Trump regime will quickly sideline Prince Justin's plans for the Dark Continent... unless that includes AQ busting operations of course.

This is my point, any military action we perform should have a very specific mission in mind. Destroying AQIM as an organization in the $ahel is a viable mission, buzzwords like "stabilization", "development", etc.  Are not!

Offline Haligonian

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If the government wants to send soldiers to Africa, please do so under a mandate that's independent of the UN.  France's Op BARKHANE is not a UN mission and the French don't fall under UN command.  I'd rather have any Canadian contingent  working OPCON to a French Commander than having to answer to the rump of an organization that is the United Nations.

I don't think this enters any governments mind.  I wonder what it would be like operating in a theater that isn't buttressed by US firepower and logistics....  Now that might be a learning experience.

Offline Hamish Seggie

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I don't think this enters any governments mind.  I wonder what it would be like operating in a theater that isn't buttressed by US firepower and logistics....  Now that might be a learning experience.

What's going though government "mind" is the tune from the merry go round at Disney......at least when it comes to military matters.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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I'm going to be a bit contrarian ...

I have said, before and elsewhere, that, in my opinion, every sailor's, soldier's and air force member's life, limb and sanity are forfeit after (s)he enlist and finishes training. Government's should not, but may misuse and abuse their soldiers for their own, partisan, political purposes. In my opinion, again, that is exactly what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposes to do.

For the record, I oppose any and every UN mission in Africa because they are all failures or failing. I am even more opposed to joining any French mission because they are all, 100% in support of France's own, partisan and imperialistic policies that we do not share.

I would not oppose sending a Canadian mission to Africa if I thought it was going in pursuit of our own interests, vital or not, which can be stretched to include helping to bring peace and stability to Africa.
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Tanks! Mr Campbell, no argument here!☺
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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I'm going to be a bit contrarian ...

I have said, before and elsewhere, that, in my opinion, every sailor's, soldier's and air force member's life, limb and sanity are forfeit after (s)he enlist and finishes training. Government's should not, but may misuse and abuse their soldiers for their own, partisan, political purposes. In my opinion, again, that is exactly what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposes to do.

For the record, I oppose any and every UN mission in Africa because they are all failures or failing. I am even more opposed to joining any French mission because they are all, 100% in support of France's own, partisan and imperialistic policies that we do not share.

I would not oppose sending a Canadian mission to Africa if I thought it was going in pursuit of our own interests, vital or not, which can be stretched to include helping to bring peace and stability to Africa.

I've got no problem with French imperial interests, we're soldiers after all, find me a military campaign that hasn't been about imperial interests?  I don't think such a thing exists but I'm willing to be proven wrong.

Now, peace is good for us in Africa because it's good for business.  If we deploy to Africa, shaping the environment in to one that is governed by rule of law and creating stable economic conditions for business transactions should be our number one concern. 

Protecting civilians is part of that strategy but it shouldn't be THE STRATEGY. 

Mali is an interesting case because there's the issue of the Tuareg and government in Bamako not getting along.  There's also the AQIM problem.  If AQIM is to be defeated in Mali, the Tuareg must be allowed to have a political voice, this means forcing the government to make concessions, by force if necessary. 

Ultimately, E.R. I agree with you that we shouldn't get involved in Africa but my reasoning is that we as a country are too naive to face the reality that the only thing the people our military often comes up against overseas understand is force.

We speak loudly but ultimately wave a small stick.  The words are worth no more than the paper they're printed on.

Edit:

To add, any military campaign should be fought with audacity, speed, aggression and the will to achieve decisive victory.  UN Peacekeeping Operations don't work because the underlying political conditions that caused the conflict are never resolved.  We need to be prepared to go all the way or not at all.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 08:39:07 by Humphrey Bogart »

Offline Simian Turner

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IMHO the desire by the current government to re-commence (old-style) peacekeeping operations in a place like Mali is ill-conceived. I remember writing a service paper for Staff School back in 1992 regarding Canada's prerequisites for our deployment of troops on a UN Mission.  I can't see to find an updated version of those necessary elements (I would be interested if anyone can offer them)but a lot has changed in the 24 years and for anyone interested in historical background on Canada and UN Deployments, I recommend that you look at:

1.RCMI's SitRep has a useful discussion here as well: http://www.rcmi.org/Library-and-Museum/Publications/SITREP/SITREP-2015/15-3_Sitrep_(1).aspx  Page 7 shows a good overview of troop deployments from 1992-2013.

2. There is another overview of UN SHIRBRIG (Stand-by High Readiness Brigade) dated 2007: http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo8/no2/army-armee-eng.asp

3.   A parliamentary overview dated 2006 that describes the history of CAF international deployments:
http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/content/lop/researchpublications/prb0006-e.htm  Appendix 2 of this document provides a wonderful summary of all deployments between the end of WWII and 2006.

An interesting excerpt on Africa in 1996 states:  Perhaps one of the most significant take-note debates was that concerning “Canada’s leadership role in the international community’s efforts to alleviate human suffering” in the Great Lakes region of Africa on 18 November 1996.  Questions from the opposition parties focused on:  the cost of the mission and whether Canada had an appropriate level of military capability to undertake it; whether there was international support, particularly in the destination country, for Canadian participation; what the exact mandate of the mission would be and what role Canadian peacekeepers would play under the rules of engagement; and whether the government had established a timeline and an exit strategy, should the need arise, as well as a rotation schedule to ensure the health of CF personnel.  Although the mission ultimately did not materialize, this debate allowed for a thorough discussion of the facts and an exchange of related concerns.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 11:27:00 by Simian Turner »
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Offline Blackadder1916

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An interesting excerpt on Africa in 1996 states:  Perhaps one of the most significant take-note debates was that concerning “Canada’s leadership role in the international community’s efforts to alleviate human suffering” in the Great Lakes region of Africa on 18 November 1996.  Questions from the opposition parties focused on:  . . . . .

It has become almost de rigueur to invoke the term "Bungle in the Jungle" when reference is made to the 1996 Canadian military operations in the Great Lakes region of Africa.  While it may have been debated in the House (and I will admit to not completely reading the link you provided), the parliamentary record will probably not have been as justifiably critical of our military leadership of the day as they were of the political leadership.  It was a clusterfuck all round.

Just so individuals don't get multiple Jethro Tull links when they google the reference.
bungle in the jungle africa site:army.ca

 
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It has become almost de rigueur to invoke the term "Bungle in the Jungle" when reference is made to the 1996 Canadian military operations in the Great Lakes region of Africa.  While it may have been debated in the House (and I will admit to not completely reading the link you provided), the parliamentary record will probably not have been as justifiably critical of our military leadership of the day as they were of the political leadership.  It was a clusterfuck all round.


Polite understatement that...I remember all to well sitting on my ruck/training/giving immunizations for that mess.

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