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A New World View

Three weeks ago The Ruxted Group challenged the government of the day and the opposition parties to develop and promulgate a new defence plan - specifically one for the Army. Canada needs a new plan which will tell the civilian management at the Department of National Defence and Canada's military leadership what sort of military Canada needs to meet the strategic challenges ahead. Ruxted contended that such a plan would state Canada's world view and its strategy for protecting and promoting Canada's vital interests in the world.

What world view would Ruxted like to see created?
The simple answer is a clear view; not obscured by political correctness irrelevant to our opponents; not blocked by partisan domestic political and social considerations; and unfiltered by excessive concern about ‘what the neighbours might think.’

Ruxted has already advocated a foreign policy position which forswears NATO as its cornerstone in favour of a new ‘alignment’ of militarily capable democracies with Canada and its traditional allies (America, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand) at its core, along with Singapore and, most likely a few other countries including, sooner rather than later, India.

This foreign policy position is required because the world is much changed over the past 60 years, since Canada was one of the leaders in NATO's formation. There is a ‘new world order’ and chaos might well be its name. The Cold War's comforting stability, based upon fear of mutually assured destruction, is gone. It has been replaced by a pottage of Lilliputian conflicts which are not amenable to the sort of diplomatic, economic or military solutions with which most Western politicians and bureaucrats are familiar. These conflicts have, and will continue to threaten, Canada's vital interest in the world, much as they threaten Canadians’ safety and security here, in their own homes.

Currently, the most critical of these conflicts is that between radical Islamist movements and those members of the secular, democratic, and largely liberal West which is at the centre of what American strategist Thomas P Barnett describes as the "interconnected core" of the modern world. Barnett contrasts this core by placing pretty well all Muslim and African nations into a disconnected "gap" – disconnected, he suggested, from the globalized, peaceful, prosperous core.

As far as Ruxted can see this clash will persist for at least a generation and people like Osama bin Laden and groups like al Qaeda will likely enjoy some success in:

• attacking the West and other "core" nations (such as China, India, Japan and Korea); and

• taking over Muslim nations, especially those in the Islamic homelands of Arabia, North Africa and West and Central Asia – which Ruxted sees as the central ‘quest’ of these groups.

It is not, to be sure, the only clash. It is very probable that conflicts inimical to Canada's vital interests will break out in Africa, Asia, Latin America and even in parts of Europe.

This is the world in which Canada must operate for the foreseeable future.

It is important to affirm that:

• we are not at war with Islam, or any religion – but our self-declared enemies profess to be good Muslims and they use Islam as a weapon; and

• this is not a clash of civilizations. It is, however, a clash between civilization as we understand it and those forces desiring a return to a medieval barbarism.

Ruxted believes that the world is more complex than Barnett and others predict. There is, certainly, a stable "core" and a dangerous, disconnected "gap," but there is also an equally dangerous and unpredictable "boundary" linking the two. We find some large and powerful countries like Russia and perhaps even Brazil in that boundary group – countries similar to the "core" but disconnected from the stable, rule based, capitalistic world. Indonesia, Pakistan and Venezuela are members of the boundary group.

There are nearly 200 member states in the United Nations. Ruxted would place nearly half of them in the disconnected "gap" and another quarter in the "boundary" group leaving about 35 – the OECD plus or minus a handful – in the "core."

Of these 35 countries, only half can be considered stable free-market democracies with capable militaries. OECD members Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, and Switzerland, for example, are unlikely to be joining the likes of Canada, Australia, Netherlands and Singapore in any sort of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ mission in Africa or Central Asia.

Ruxted believes that Canada's government has an opportunity, indeed an obligation, to give effect to its stated policy goal of displaying leadership in global affairs. Canada must take a lead, now, in pronouncing a ‘world view’ which recognizes that Canada has interests in the world and commits this nation to promoting and protecting those interests - - not with mere words, but when necessary, by deploying and using a tough, superbly disciplined, well trained, adequately equipped, properly organized and well led military in combat operations.

This policy statement or ‘world view’ should:

1. Affirm for the world community that Canada can be counted on to ‘do the right thing’ and to ‘do things right’ in the ongoing and increasingly difficult task of building a world community which allows all peoples to secure their own peace and prosperity on their own, peaceful terms;

2. Reassure traditional allies that Canada intends to return to the “leading middle power” role which was so precipitously and calamitously abandoned in 1968/69; and

3. Give government planners, especially in DND and Finance, ‘marching orders’ leading to the re-establishment of a Canadian Army (as part of a properly unified military force) which can undertake a range of missions, anywhere in the world and, thereby, give ‘weight’ to Canada's foreign policy goals.

The Ruxted Group believes that developing and publicizing such a world view is a key step in bringing Canadians and the international community alike to a clear and common understanding of Canada's positive, productive and leading place on the world stage.

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Mark Collins on :

"a properly unified military force"--as in the US Marine Corps? With of course due recognition of the need for distinct naval and air force capabilities for territorial surveillance and sovereignty protection (and other assigned missions such as aerial SAR).

Mark
Ottawa

E.R. Campbell on :

This is the gist of what I said on Army.ca in answer to this point: I think the USMC is the pre-eminent example of the properly integrated force while joint commands and forces are good examples of properly unified commands.

Strange as it may seem the words really mattered back in 1963. A good many people, I think, though Mr. Hellyer was going for a fully integrated force - the single uniform seemed to indicate that. It soon became evident, however, that what was on offer was a very improperly unified force.

I think that the CF was poorly served by two generations of senior officers who failed to seize the opportunity to integrate and, instead, for 40± years fought the single service wars over and over and over again. To a degree those old, useless, wars are still being fought in the pages of Army.ca and, I’m guessing, from what I hear and read, that they are still be fought in NDHQ, too.

A small country like Canada might just have pulled off a fully, properly integrated force but, more likely, we could and should have built a properly unified and partially integrated force back in the mid ‘60s with:

• A ‘blue’ Navy with its own, organic fleet air arm;

• A ‘green’ Army with its own, organic tactical air elements, with army aviation (helicopters) and dedicated, purpose built close support elements (like F-5s, Harriers or A-10s) integrated (same uniform, chain of command, and all) right into brigades and even battle groups; and

• A ‘blue’ Air Force with continental air defence, general purpose combat air and air transport elements.

It is not as though a few senior and several mid-ranked officers were not pushing for that. The problem was that the majority of the senior officers just wanted to turn back the clock, no matter what – World War II *redux*, this time with the USSR as enemy, was their dream world.

Too bad, instead of the whole world looking at our organizational experiments with something between horror and disbelief we might have been ‘world leaders’ in military innovation.

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