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Canada's Geopolitical and Defence Strategies


Canada's lack of an effective foreign policy vision (a geopolitical strategy)(beyond generalities) complicates its creation of an effective defence strategy & policy.

Canada is generally reckoned to have small but effective air forces, naval forces and land forces. It's space related, signint and cyber capabilities are similarly of high calibre.

The creation of an effective defence policy is made difficult by a rapidly evolving geopolitical situation and revolutionary new technologies that will impact the current structure and doctrines of Canada's defence forces and its allies.

Canada is 15th in the world in terms of its GDP and has a population of only 38 million. It must necessarily cut the coat to fit the cloth financially, and use more brains than brawn in pursuit of its security and foreign policy goals. It cannot be a tiger, a bear, a lion or an elephant - but it can be a wasps nest - a deterrent force, a point force and a mobile force. Diplomacy it has been said is the "art of letting the other fellow have your way". With some parties reason alone, while necessary, is not sufficient condition to alter outcomes. Canada has only 38 million people to Russia's 143 million but Canada's GDP has surpassed Russia's. We make a strong partner.

Canada has striking technological sophistication in some areas - for example machine learning and quantum physics, but it has consistently in recent decades failed to fund its military capabilities or develop effective policy - a neither brains nor brawn approach. It has however some exceptional AI and cyber capabilities that could be built upon as AIification proceeds.

On the critical path to a more effective military capability is defence procurement. Absent reform of the procurement process Canada's defence capabilities will falter. Absent improved funding Canada's defence capabilities will falter. Absent a more effective R&D strategy Canada's defence capabilities will falter. Absent a more effective defence capability its foreign policy will falter.

The creation of an effective defence strategy is complicated by the lack of informed public dialogue and a dependent mindset - on two stout allies the U.K. and the U.S. In the post-WWII period the heart of the strategy of the west has been essentially an "offset strategy" designed to deal with the numberical superiority of potential advesaries.

Central to Canadian Defence is the Canada - US Defence relationship.

China is and will be for the decades to come Canada's and the world's primary geopolitical challenge. By 2035 China's GDP seems likely to exceed that of the US. To restate the obvious, it is a dictatorship - which calls at all times for "realpolitik" in dealings.

A longstanding problem with defence policy has been the lack of an Asia Pacific facing worldview in Central and Eastern Canada and an isolationist Quebec.

One of the more sobering charts that define and dimension Canada's geostrategic challenge can be found here. China's leadership has a strong S&T background and is committing vast sums to R&D. This is a chart that should be widely shared with our North American and European cousins. China has a tremendous capacity for good or ill. It is no longer a "sleeping" giant. More

There is the risk too of the Thucydides' Trap (TT) ( See also aTT critique) “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this inspired in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

The current Canadian government has been signally circumspect - almost secretive - with respect to China relations. Others have noted this Canadian policy vacuum and the need for a Asia-Pacific security and defence "White Paper".

To this "rise of China challenge" must be added the seeming rise of "instability" in the U.S. political system, the disturbances in Europe and the potential for a variety of socio-economic challenges that may give rise to Canada's geopolitical situation being altered. At least one observer has described the current upheaval as The Great Rebellion. It appears that the new US President does not understand NATO along with a great many other things. The US global alliance network is manifestly in the US national interest.

Russia's recent clear drift back to historical authoritarian rule and successful use of a Hybrid Warfare tool for Limited War poses unique strategic challenges for Canada and the World.

The emergence of a proto - Sino-Russian Axis suggests that efforts should be made to keep such a relationship from deepening and to simultaneously keep Europe free from coercive Russian designs. China and Russia have little in common except the Asian landmass and authoritarianism. Russia has little or no commitment to raising up its poor.

To reiterate, Canada's lack of an overarching global strategy will hamper effective policy development and actions in crisises. Whatever may be said of the EU capabilities, it does appear to have a global strategy to guide its actions in diplomacy and defence. More

The Standing Committee on National Defence studies the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as the domestic, continental and international security environment. On September 19, 2016, the Committee tabled in Parliament a report: Canada and the Defence of North America: NORAD and Aerial Readiness.

Canada conducted a Defence Policy Review in 2016.

Breaking News: Canada issued its new Defence Policy on June 7, 2017.

    
  Global Affairs Listening Posts
  
  Defence Listening Posts
  
  Canadian Defense Reporting
  
  Canada's Geopolitical Strategy
  
  Canada's Disposition of Geopolitical Assets (Under Construction)
  
  Global Hotpoints and Flashpoints
  
  Canada's Defence Strategy
  
  Canada's Defence R&D Strategy
  
  Canada's Defence Procurement Strategy
  
  Canada's Strategic Materials
  
  Canada's Financial Approval Process and Economic Capacity for Defence
  
  Robotic and Autonomous Forces
  
  Air Forces
  
  Naval Forces
  
  Land Forces
  
  Space Forces
  
  Cyber Forces
  
  Electronic Warfare Forces
  
  Social Media Forces
  
  Special Operations Forces
  
  Counter Terrorism Forces
  
  Civil Society Forces
  
  Missile Forces
  
  Nuclear Forces - None
  
  Laser Forces - None
  
  Artificial Intelligence Management in the Canadian Armed Forces
  
  Peace Support Operations (Peacekeeping)
  
  Search and Rescue
  
  Pandemic Forces
  
  Current Conflict Deployment
  
  Parliamentary Direction of Canadian Defence Policy and Geopolitical Strategy
  
  Anglosphere Defence Oversight Committees and Documents
  
  Social Media and Disinformation Campaigns in Hybrid Wars
  
  North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Twitter: @NATO
  
  North American Air Defence (NORAD) @NoradNorthcom (not one for one organizationally)
  
  Canada and the United States: The bilateral defence relationship (2008 Statement)
  
  Canadian Defence History - Deployments
  
  Global Firepower: Ranking conventional Military Power
  
  Rebuilding the (US) Military for Tomorrow, Not Today (January 23, 2017)
  
  Estonian Wake-up Call (June 2016)
  
  NP: Michael Den Tandt: U.S. won’t care about Canada until we get more serious about military affairs (January 21, 2015)
  
  Canada's woeful defence spending
  
  A lesson in: Arithmetic on the Frontier (1886) Describing the conflict between highly-educated British soldiers and poor tribesmen
  
  Assessing Russian Hybrid Warfare: A Successful Tool for Limited War (August 8, 2016)
  
  A lesson from the Grey Zone (December 2015) Societies and militaries that fail to adapt to the changing character of warfare risk being outthought and outfought.
  
  Thinking about hybrid war: NATO’s Public Diplomacy in the Grey Zone of Conflict
  
  Small Wars Journal: Megacity Madness - or Operational Issues in Megacities (June 8, 2016)
  
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