Over there. People have expressed concern about the supposed “militarization” of foreign policy by the “Harper government”, see here and here. On the contrary, it seems to me that it is the leadership of the Canadian Forces that is looking towards that militarization:
Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk authorized the establishment of the operational support hubs in up to seven locations around the world on May 13, 2010.
A directive signed by Natynczyk and obtained by Postmedia News says the initiative was launched to improve the Canadian Forces’ “ability to project combat power/security assistance and Canadian influence rapidly and flexibly anywhere in the world.”
It adds that the ability to deploy and sustain combat forces is not only contingent on strong logistical networks, but is also “an essential instrument of national power and should continue to be exploited to attain national objectives.”
The directive traces the operational support hub initiative directly back to 2007, when the Harper government acquired four massive C-17 Globemaster military transport planes.
“The decision to acquire four C-17s (CC177) for strategic airlift indicates the government’s intention to utilize the CF more extensively off continent,” it reads.
“This directive is based on the assumption that in the future, Canada will continue to deploy and employ forces internationally in support of national interests,” it later adds…
Recently I had a “shiver” in that regard, see end of this post. Now I’m getting really worried. In a seemingly neo-militarist mindset the CF’s leadership now appear to anticipate regularly deploying–and fighting?–hither and yon. That’s just a bit scary. Significant use of the CF abroad is not something that should spring easily to mind in the conduct of foreign affairs, even in crises–see here and 2) here.
Yet that is how the CF’s leadership seems to view things. Being an (auxiliary) world policeperson is not to my mind a role fitting for a rather middling power with a rather small military. And one the CF may not really be up to in any event: ‘Can the CF “maintain its expeditionary capabilities across all three services: army, navy and air force”?‘.
One really does hope this government’s approach has been misread at National Defence Headquarters. I believe very strongly that Canada has an obligation, for reasons of national interest, foreign relations and international responsibility, to maintain highly capable and well-equipped armed forces–to the extent that governments are willing to pay for them (see: ‘Finally the Truth: “Canada First Defence Strategy” Just a Scrap of Paper‘). But those forces should only be put in harm’s way sparingly and with very good reason. Not just as some matter of course.
Use of the CF if necessary, but not necessarily use of the CF.
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger135b
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