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Therein Lies The Problem

Therein Lies The Problem

"Canada's strengths are not in its military force,'' he [Mohamed Boudjenane of the Canadian Arab Federation and NDP member of the Ontario legislature for Etobicoke North.] said. "Let's not (kid) ourselves -- we're not a power.”
Source: CTV New at

And therein lies the problem: Mr. Boudjenane is right, Canada is not a power, not a superpower, not a great power, and, in reality, not even a middle power.

In 1969 Canada decided, consciously, to eschew ‘hard power,’ Canada chose to be weak and disengaged. Prime Ministers Mulroney and Chrétien began, hesitantly, to change that in the 1990s when they authorized Canadian Forces participation in a variety of UN and, later, UN-mandated NATO missions in the Balkans. But both prime ministers, ever the Canadian pragmatists, were interested in doing just enough to show that Canada was ‘doing its bit’ to stabilize the international security problems brought to the fore in the new world order, thus safeguarding Canada’s trade and commerce interests – especially vis à vis the USA.

Canada was a power – up until 1969. Canada was a middle power but, to be sure, a cash-strapped one. Canada had emerged from the ashes of the 2nd World War as something pretty close to a major power – but that condition could never last and should never have lasted. The Marshall Plan and the Colombo Plan (in which Canada was a major player and which fostered the rise of India) were designed, in part, to bring about their own new world order – one in which former, war ravaged great powers would be rebuilt and rearmed so that they could bear a full and fair share of the global collective security burden envisioned by the United Nations’ charter. It didn’t quite work out that way – even with substantial North American aid (and charity) Britain, France, Germany and Japan could only become pale shadows of the great powers they had been. One of the reasons the former great powers failed to regain their past stature and, equally, why Canada found maintaining a leadership position amongst the middle and lesser powers was money.

By the mid to late 1950s the costs of defence hardware and of the (fewer in number but more expensive in skills) military personnel needed to operate and maintain it had skyrocketed and they continued to grow at far above general rate of inflation throughout the succeeding decades, as they do today. All countries, including the USA, found defence expenditures hard to manage; Canada was no exception.

The entirety of the Avro Arrow imbroglio was financial: building and flying the Arrow would have destroyed the Canadian Forces unless unconscionably huge increases were made to the defence budget – in the teeth of a recession! Defence Minister Paul Hellyer’s organizational ‘experiments’ in the early 1960s (the integration and unification of the Canadian Forces) were designed, almost exclusively to try to contain the ever growing costs of defending Canada. Those problems have only gotten more difficult to solve as the decades passed.

By the end of the ‘60s Canada was awash in anti-war and anti-military sentiments – greater by far than the mistrust of large military establishments that is part and parcel of our British heritage. In the 1970s inflation soared and the already high inflation rates associated with ever more technologically advanced military hardware went from high to nearly impossible but, in Canada, defence budgets were frozen. In the ‘80s it was becoming clear to most of the allies that the way to win the Cold War was to just keep American defence spending – especially on technology – growing; the Russians, it was reasoned would “have to eat grass” to keep up, or surrender. In the face of this, Canada, under Prime Minister Trudeau, embarked on a ‘peace initiative’ that was intellectually unsound and did measurable damage to our relations with our best friends and closest allies.

Briefly, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, it looked as though Pierre Trudeau might have been right. History might have ended and nationalistic military forces might have become useless. Sadly the idea of a peaceful new world order demonstrated, yet again, the triumph of hope over experience. History was not ended; rather, as Francis Fukuyama forecasted, the end of the Cold War and, implicitly the end of the capitalism vs. (Marxist) communism debate, did ”not by any means imply the end of international conflict per se ...” there will ”still be a high and perhaps rising level of ethnic and nationalist violence, since those are impulses incompletely played out ...” and ”terrorism and wars of national liberation will continue to be an important item on the international agenda.” 1

But, in 1970, Canada launched a process of unilateral disarmament and of disengagement from the collective security regime that had underpinned Western security for twenty years; by 1995 it was very, very hard to reverse the process.

Canada is, currently, punching above its weight. Since the mid to late 1990s we have, almost consistently, maintained a substantial naval presence in areas of dangerous tensions and a small but tough, well trained and adequately equipped army force in (mostly) combat operations and we have also, occasionally, provided modern combat aircraft for combat operations. This has made Canadians and some of our allies forget (temporarily, at least) that we spent a quarter century, as John Manley put it, like the man who enjoys a good dinner with his friends but, when the bill is presented, runs off to hide in the washroom while the other pay his share. It has also stretched our military resources right to the breaking point.

We could do nothing else because, as Mohamed Boudjenane of the Canadian Arab Federation noted, “we’re not a power.”

For a decade we have tried to act like a power – but, for the most part, without paying the price.

It seems pretty clear that Canadians believe they have a useful, productive, even important role to play in the world. Canadians have views and ideas and aspirations and they want their government and its agents to assert itself on the world’s stage to adopt, for Canada and Canadians, in former Prime Minister Paul Martin’s words, “A role of pride and influence in the world.”2

In that title former Prime Minister Martin correctly identified both sides of the coin: Canadians want to play a constructive role of their own (not as an adjunct to the USA) in world affairs and they want to take pride and satisfaction in that role. There is just one problem: over and over again Canadians tell their government that they don’t want to spend any money on these noble aims.

There are three main aspects to any reasonable sort of “role of pride and influence in the world”:

1. Diplomacy – Canada needs to be active in the world, in the United Nations, in other international political, social and economic fora, and unilaterally. Canada needs to have and offer ideas, based on Canadians’ ideals, that “make a difference” in world affairs. But, to have a diplomatic voice Canada must pay its dues in the other to domains and by way of a bigger and better foreign service;

2. Aid and development – Canadians pride themselves on “caring and sharing,” even if the balance sheets show that we are far, far less generous than we would like to believe. Aid and development assistant matters, even, perhaps especially when it is poorly managed, allowing large sums to be siphoned off as de facto bribes for government officials. Canada, and other countries in similar positions, can and should expect that aid will be repaid with support for e.g. seats on the UN Security Council; and

3. Security and defence – the most obvious and often most necessary attribute of power is hard, military power. The world (especially the poorest ⅔ of the UN’s members) wants, needs and sometimes even deserves armed help. Canada has been a pioneer and leader in developing and popularizing the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P).3 Canadians have, probably thoughtlessly, agreed that they have a duty to act, with force of arms, to prevent the sorts of human disasters that have been all to prevalent since 1990 – the “high and perhaps rising level of ethnic and nationalist violence” Fukuyama predicted nearly twenty years ago. The current mission in Afghanistan is just one example of Canada actually exercising its R2P. Canadians remember that, under the Taliban, women and girls were denied equal opportunity – or, mostly, any opportunity at all – that soccer stadiums were turned into public execution grounds, and that homosexuals and female adulterers were publicly executed by being buried alive or stoned, respectively. But Afghanistan is not the only or even the neediest country when it comes to R2P. We can confidently predict that the sorts of human crises that caused us to push R2P as a doctrine will occur soon, indeed are occurring right now in Africa. Canada does not have enough military power to go beyond the levels described above – the ones which have already stretched our military too thinly.

But: the world needs some leadership from the middle powers, to offset the fear and mistrust of the USA and the other major powers. And: Canadians want to be leaders. It ought to be a no-brainer; Canada should have been – ever since the mid 1990s – rebuilding its diplomatic brains, its aid and development heart and its military muscle, creating a wise, generous and robust Canadian actor to play our part on the world’s stage. That, despite a generally robust economy, we have not done so, not under prime Minister Chrétien, not under Prime Minister Martin and not under Prime Minister Harper, tells us that political leaders, Liberals and Conservatives alike, have read the polls and have determined that Canadians may ‘want’ to be leaders but they are unwilling to pay the price to actually lead.

And it is no small price. Beyond more than doubling GDP to 0.7% of GDP ($10 Billion/year by about 2010 from about 0.3% today) as we have promised and promised and promised, it will, as The Ruxted Group has explained, 4 require something akin to 2.2% of GDP, year after year, for decades, for the defence budget alone. That’s likely to be $30 Billion very soon (Canada’s GDP is at or rapidly approaching $1.5 Trillion)5 then $40 Billion by 2020 and perhaps $50 Billion by 2030.   Those are huge numbers: 3% of GDP or $45 Billion (rather than the $25 Billion that most observers predict for 2010 to 2015) to buy ourselves “a role of pride and influence in the world.” We are not surprised that political leaders are unwilling to present such numbers to Canadians.

Canada really is a ‘peaceable kingdom.’ We inherited, from our British forbearers, a distaste for military forces and, especially, for their cost. But: we have roused ourselves when necessary and nations have discovered, to their peril, that they have “made a match with such a wrangler” and have suffered grievously for it. But: we are slow to identify real threats – and not all threats do require an immediate military response, because we would like to believe that others are as peaceable as we. But: we rely too much upon myths:

•   “Our ability and our force and strength are in our moral authority as a peacekeeper;”6

•   We don’t need big regular forces because, à la 1812 and 1885, our militia can be mobilized to save the day; and

•   There is no longer any role for a ‘leading middle power.’7

A final but: sometimes the threat is real and blue-beret wearing ‘peacekeepers’ and our citizen’s militia will not be enough to meet it. We will need to forge military ties with other powers, great, small and middle and the latter will want and need to be led by someone.

So, therein lies the problem: contrary to the views of most Canadians, The Ruxted Group asserts there are real threats to our peace and prosperity, threats posed by Fukuyama’s ”ethnic and nationalist violence;” these threats require much, much more than a few lightly armed and poorly equipped UN peacekeepers. New, loose alignments of like minded great and middle powers are required to contain and, as necessary, defeat the threats. Canada ought to be a leader amongst the middle powers in this new quest for peace. We have a Responsibility to Protect. Therefore, we need to rouse ourselves and pay the money, up front, now, so that we can pay a lower price in lives and treasure later.   

1. Fukuyama, Francis: Summer 1989, The National Interest.
2. Marin, Paul: A Role of Pride and Influence in the World, Foreword from the Prime Minister, Canada, Department of Foreign Affairs, 2006, at:
3. See:
4. See: Ruxted, A Look to the Future at:
5. See: Statistics Canada at:
6. Mohamed Boudjenane, again, at:
7. A myth proffered by e.g. Jennifer Welsh at:

Saving NATO II

Saving NATO II

A deeply divided NATO held ministerial level meetings recently with a Canadian threat to withdraw from Afghanistan hanging over its head. Prime Minister Harper has, correctly in The Ruxted Group’s estimation, suggested that "NATO's own reputation and future will be in jeopardy"1 if it cannot get its act together and figure out a way to win in Afghanistan.

In an effort to forestall a NATO failure a panel of distinguished retired military commanders2 have reviewed the current situation and have proposed a new grand strategy for a much-reformed NATO and, indeed, the West in a recent paper prepared for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (hereafter “the paper” or “Paper”).

The Ruxted Group accepts the paper’s broad analyses of the challenges ahead and of the grand strategy proposed, but we dispute the paper’s main finding that an enlarged and reformed NATO can or should be the key actor when complex military operations need to be planned, coordinated, mounted and managed on behalf of the United Nations (UN).

The paper’s distinguished authors begin by enumerating six challenges the whole world will face:

1.   Demography - population growth and change across the globe will swiftly change the world we knew;

2.   Climate change - is leading to a new type of politics;

3.   Energy security – the supply and demand of individual nations and the weakening of the international market infrastructure for energy distribution make the situation more precarious than ever;

4.   The rise of the irrational and/or the discounting of the rational - though seemingly abstract, this problem is demonstrated in deeply practical ways. There are soft examples, such as the cult of celebrity, and there are the harder examples, such as the decline of respect for logical argument and evidence, and a drift away from science. The ultimate example is the rise of religious fundamentalism;

5.   The weakening of the nation state - that coincides with the weakening of world institutions, including the UN and regional organisations such as NATO; and

6.   The dark side of globalisation - interconnectedness has its drawbacks. These include internationalised terrorism, organised crime, the rapid spread of disease, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and asymmetric threats from proxy actors or the abuse of financial and energy leverage. Migration continues to provide challenges across the world; globalised threats are wide in scale and unprecedented in complexity.

Source: Paper, pps. 14/15

Taken together, the paper’s authors conclude, and we agree, these challenges mean decades, even generations of conflict which we, the US-led, law-abiding, secular Western democracies, cannot escape. They conclude that there is: a new form of warfare that abuses leverage in finance, energy and information technology. War could be waged without a single bullet being fired, and the implications of this need to become part of strategic and operational thinking. The threats today are a combination of violent terrorism against civilians and institutions, wars fought by proxy by states that sponsor terrorism, the behaviour of rogue states, the actions of organised international crime, and the coordination of hostile action through abuse of non-military means. These dangerous and complex challenges cannot be dealt with by military means alone. The West needs to agree on a new concerted strategy that would include the use of all available instruments, and to prepare for those global and regional challenges that we can predict, as well as those we cannot. Source: Paper, pps. 44/45

The Ruxted Group agrees with most of the analysis but we part company on the “threat” posed by the rise of Asia. We do not believe that it is a zero sum game of Asia vs. the traditional West (which includes e.g. Australia and Japan); rather, we prefer to take a free market perspective and assume that the rising economic, social and political tides in Asia will lift our boats, too. Further, since the challenges we face are global it stands to reason that we need a global response – one that must include friends and traditional allies from the Asia Pacific region.

The Paper moves on to address existing international security capabilities, from a wholly Eurocentric or, at best, North Atlantic perspective, concluding that:

1.   The United Nations remains a vital tool and should play a decisive role, but it is not capable of doing so;

2.   The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is useful in many respects, especially because both Russia and the USA are members. It has a mechanism for the peaceful settlement of disputes among its members, but it lacks a broad vision and a common strategy;

3.   The European Union (EU) is a unique international organisation, partly supranational and partly a confederation. It has brought prosperity to its citizens and has succeeded in maintaining peace and eliminating war among its members. The EU also has political weaknesses, and it lacks unity. In areas of security and geopolitics, there are many internal differences concerning the status of the transatlantic alliance including the relationship with Russia and issues surrounding the Mediterranean and the Middle East; and

4.   The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been the most successful political organisation and military alliance in recent history, having managed to settle the Cold War peacefully and on its own terms. Despite its success, NATO faces serious challenges in Afghanistan and has lost the momentum required for transformation of its forces. NATO is, therefore, in danger of losing its credibility. In addition, the organisation seems to need an adequate vision for the future, including an effective strategy. It lacks capabilities, and its constituent nations are showing a marked lack of will for it to prevail. Unreformed, NATO will not be able to meet the challenges it faces now or in the future. NATO’s effectiveness is further constrained by the differences of opinion between the US and Europe, as well as by differences within Europe about the role and use of war, about hard and soft power, and about the legality of armed intervention. European NATO members are also divided among themselves about the size, role and scope of NATO. One important difference among Europeans concerns the range of NATO’s involvement: one view holds that NATO should be focused on Western security and should not extend its competence or its membership worldwide. In this vein, certain members are also opposed to extending NATO membership to non-North Atlantic nations, such as some of the democracies of the Pacific.

Source: Paper, pps. 71/75

The currently vexing problems of national caveats and sharing of intelligence are well-presented in the paper; it is hard to form a team-approach when each player, for national political reasons, applies different caveats to its forces and relies upon different intelligence estimates. Part of this problem is created by the very size of NATO which, later, the authors propose to enlarge. NATO, like the EU, is, simply, too big, too divided and too political to bring forward a tight, cohesive plan for the sorts of complex military operations that will confront us in the future.
The paper concludes that there is a serious shortfall between the threats facing the world, not just the West, and the existing capabilities of e.g. the UN and NATO.

The authors posit (p. 85) that all is not lost because, and here we agree: “What we do have, however, are common aims, values and interests, and these alone provide a sufficient basis on which to design a new global strategy – one that appreciates the complexity and unpredictability, and that links all the instruments and capabilities together. Looking at the scale of trends, challenges and threats, we cannot see a solution in America, Europe, or any individual nation acting alone. What we need is a transatlantic alliance capable of implementing a comprehensive grand strategy that is integrated, both nationally and among allies.”

Ruxted takes great issue with one word of this assessment. The authors should have said and the leaders of the secular, law abiding democracies must insist that “what we need to is a global alliance capable of implementing a comprehensive grand strategy,” etc.

The central issue, the one the paper’s authors got right, is that the problems and challenges are global – they are not, in the main, in and around Europe and the North Atlantic. The ‘cockpit’ is, now, as it has been so often in history, in West and Central Asia and it is likely to shift towards Africa sooner rather than later. It is highly unlikely that Eurocentric or, at best, North Atlantic solutions are going to work all that well.

The Ruxted Group agrees with the paper’s broad thrust. The proposed new grand-strategy aims to preserve peace, values, free trade and stability. It seeks as much certainty as possible for the member nations, the resolution of crises by peaceful means and the prevention of armed conflict. In doing so, it aims to reduce the reasons for conflict and – should all attempts to find peaceful solutions fail – to defend the member states’ territorial integrity and protect their citizens’ way of life, including their values and convictions. Source: p. 92

The authors propose (Paper, p. 106) a clear, simple and, in our view, workable grand-strategy. But, despite the paper’s many, many excellent analyses and deductions the authors end up making the wrong conclusion because about implementing that strategy because, we think, of their highly Eurocentric views. NATO, even an expanded alliance,3 cannot meet the objectives the UN will set because NATO will still be centred on the divided and divisive Europe.

The paper correctly points out that the problems facing us are global in nature but the paper then proposes only a ‘North Atlantic’ solution. Ruxted repeats: that is not going to be good enough. NATO should be maintained, enlarged and reformed but it needs to be steered, in the purely military sphere, by a small, nimble, global alignment (rather than a formal alliance) of internationally respected (hopefully trusted), secular, law abiding democracies that have similar (even shared) intelligence systems and military standards. The Ruxted Group has proposed in the past and continues to suggest that this alignment must include the USA (for credibility) and should also include trusted members from the Americas (Canada), Europe (the United Kingdom) and the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, New Zealand and Singapore). Other qualified nations will be associated with the group; countries like Chile, Denmark, India, Japan, the Netherlands and Norway might be amongst them.

The world, connected or not, is dangerous and is growing more so. Existing international institutions (the UN, NATO, etc) are ill-suited to protect the world from itself. All can and should be reformed but a new global alignment of traditionally law biding, secular democracies is required to lead reformed regional groups, like NATO, in creating and managing the five-point strategy outlined above to serve our own and the UN’s interests – such leadership is especially necessary when ‘enforcement’ is the order of the day.

Canada needs to have its voice heard in the world. Canadians want to contribute, actively, to the quest for world peace and security and they want their ‘values’ to animate any grand strategy which might involve Canada. Therefore, Canada should whine less and work assiduously, albeit quietly, to save NATO from itself and, more importantly, to create a new ‘alignment’ of like-minded, respected democracies which we can join with confidence and pride.

1. See:
2. General (ret.) Dr. Klaus Naumann, KBE Former Chief of the Defence Staff, Germany and Former Chairman of NATO’s  Military Committee; General (ret.) John Shalikashvili Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe; Field Marshal The Lord Inge, KG, GCB, PC Former Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom; Admiral (ret.) Jacques Lanxade Former Chief of the Defence Staff of France and Former Ambassador; and General (ret.) Henk van den Breemen Former Chief of the Defence Staff of the Netherlands
3. See ‘Enlargement and the three circles’ pps. 132/136 of the paper

Saving NATO?

Saving NATO?

The Ruxted Group believes that the Report of the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan (hereafter the Manley Report or just the Report) makes two vital points:

First (as we said just a few days ago): Prime Minister Harper must convince Canadians that this mission, which the Manley Report describes as “honourable and achievable” is, indeed, worth the blood and treasure Canadians have paid and that it is worth more of both; and

Second: this is the first major test of NATO’s utility in the 21st century.

About 13 months ago we said, “for a half century and more, NATO was the cornerstone of our foreign and defence policies,” but, now, “NATO is less and less a useful 'cornerstone' for Canada and, more and more, a stumbling block.”

The question we posed then was: is saving NATO worthwhile? We answered it, to our satisfaction, with a qualified “yes.” Our main qualification was and remains that the UN needs a new military “agent” to plan, coordinate, mount and manage complex operations. We believe that agency should a small, nimble, global (not just North Atlantic) alignment of like-minded nations; not a formal alliance with all the bureaucracy and politics that implies. We propose Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA as the core group with countries like Denmark, India, the Netherlands and Norway closely affiliated. Most of the core members are already united in various military standardization groups – some of which already “lead” NATO in those efforts.

The Manley Report’s conclusions may have put the task of “saving NATO” in Prime Minister Harper’s hands. He appears to have accepted the Report’s recommendation that we should “stay the course” only if another NATO nation deploys a battle group to augment the active combat force in Kandahar.

We believe it is fair to say that most countries from Ruxted`s core group are relatively ‘committed’ to this UN sanctioned NATO mission while most European members of NATO (Denmark and the Netherlands excepted) are, relatively, ‘disengaged’ either in terms of the numbers of troops committed or, in the cases of France and Germany, for example, by the number and nature of the caveats imposed on their forces. NATO says it is determined to find the 1,000 additional troops for Southern Afghanistan, but Canadians need to take NATO’s assurances with a grain of salt because this is not the first time NATO has been determined to increase ISAF combat forces in the South.

In political terms, some European NATO nations have already run for cover by authorizing a peacekeeping mission of sorts in Chad. This is understandable; many, probably most, European governments are unconvinced that the US-dominated ISAF mission is “right” for them. This is, roughly, the same position Canada took (albeit relative to joining the US led coalition in Iraq) when it joined ISAF.

We must remember that NATO invoked Article V (an attack on one is an attack on all) for the very first time on 12 Sep 01. There was a broad, general rush of support for the USA in September 2001. Canada, almost immediately - in October 2001, sent naval units (HMC Ships Charlottetown, Halifax, Iroquois and Preserver) to the Persian Gulf with specific orders to join in the “war on terror.” In the autumn of that year Canada offered a battle group (3 PPCLI Battle Group deployed to Kandahar in early 2002) to fight alongside our American friends. Opinions, in Canada and most of Europe, changed rapidly with the invasion of Iraq. Support for the USA faded because many countries could not understand that strategic rationale for President Bush’s actions. Afghanistan and Iraq got mixed together in the public mind – and the polling Ruxted has seen indicates that confusion exists today – and support for the UN-sanctioned (we should say UN begged for) mission in Afghanistan also faded.

Most respectable security/defence and foreign policy analysts seem to agree with the Manley Report that:

1.   The mission in Afghanistan, while difficult, is “just” and important for the West;

2.   The campaign in Afghanistan can be “won” if two things happen –

a.   We get the aim (the victory conditions, as Ruxted described them) right, and

b.   We get enough troops on the ground, in the right place – in the South, especially in Kandahar; and

3.   NATO will, quite likely, be a useless shell if it cannot manage to win in Afghanistan.

The question, for Prime Minister Harper is not, we suggest, whether to save NATO but, rather, how.

Perhaps the threat of an institutional failure will be sufficient to convince some NATO members to offer more troops. But the threat of a NATO failure may be cushioned by the “promise” of a new, robust EuroForce of some sort. Some NATO nations might be only too happy to see less and less North American influence in world affairs and those nations might be willing to make promises about a strong, influential, united Europe. In Ruxted’s view: it is highly unlikely that the European members of NATO (excepting the UK from that category) can or will be persuaded to strengthen their forces in Afghanistan. That leaves two choices –

1.   Persuading other non-European ISAF members, to increase their contributions – perhaps Australia and New Zealand, Turkey, the UK or the USA could be targeted for political pressure; or

2.   Recruiting (a) new member(s) for ISAF; China and India are obvious choices, but so are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia and South Africa.

In our view, the best immediate term course open is to ask the USA to make at least part of the recently announced “surge” both permanent and part of NATO’s response to Canada’s justified “demand” for help in Kandahar. Another good long term course is to ask Australia and New Zealand to form a combined battle group, based on their existing contribution but to move from Bamiyan and Uruzgan provinces to Kandahar. That course would improve matters in Kandahar but it would not add many new troops to ISAF.

It is likely that NATO’s reaction to Canada’s pending demand will signal the future of the alliance. If members (American and European, alike) want NATO to survive then some nations will offer new forces. If they fail to do so and if Canada cannot persuade other, non-NATO friends to take up the burden then NATO will, rightfully, be seen as a “paper tiger” and its utility, as the UN’s “military agent” will be reduced and the alliance itself may wither and die from lack of a useful role in the world.
No matter what NATO and others decide, Canada must continue to rebuild its military capabilities so that we will be able to respond when our much-hyped “Responsibility to Protect” requires it. We must, simultaneously, work diplomatically to create a new, better, global alignment of like-minded nations to help plan, coordinate, mount and manage the sorts of military operations the United Nations is certain to want us to undertake in the coming years.
The Ruxted Group believes that Prime Minister Harper and Canadian ministers and officials must all press hard, at forthcoming NATO meetings – in an effort to save Afghanistan and NATO, itself.