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National Security Strategy

Canada’s National Security in the Post-9/11 World: Strategy, Interests, and Threats
Edited by David S. McDonough

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, which targeted the heart of financial and military power in the United States, Canada once again proved its credentials as a key American ally. With the imminent end of its combat role in Afghanistan, however, it is time to take stock of how Canada has adapted to the exigencies of the post-9/11 world and to consider the future directions for its foreign, defence, and security policies.  

This timely exploration and re-assessment of Canada’s approach to strategic affairs offers a diverse set of nuanced, sometimes controversial, and always insightful perspectives on the most pressing security challenges that Canada currently faces. Bringing together noted experts on these issues ­– including a Canadian Senator, a past Minister of National Defence, former high-level military officers, and top scholars – this collection provides powerful ideas and guidance for the difficult task of formulating an overarching national security strategy.   David S. McDonough is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University.  

Anticipated publication date: Early 2012.

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E-Book Excerpt

From “The Canadian Forces in 2025”, edited by J.L. Granatstein Introduction by J.L. Granatstein

Available for purchase HERE.

The chapters in this book offer sound and sensible forecasts on what the future of Canadian defence policy might look like in 2025. The authors’ conclusions are sensible and sound, to be sure, but they are written on the basis of rational prediction, on what the expert authors expect to happen to the Canadian Forces a decade-and-a-half in the future. In a very real sense, their chapters suggest what should happen. But there are also other factors than assessments of military necessity at play, primarily the global situation and the social and political trends that will certainly enter into the shaping of Canadian policy. In their own ways, the authors try to factor in these trends, but there is some utility in laying out the dimensions of the problems that Canada might face in 2025.

Everything is, of course, dependent on the global situation, and it may well be full of surprises; it usually is. If current trends persist, what seems all but certain is that China will be stronger and the United States weaker in both military and economic terms by 2025. There is no doubt today that the U.S. is the sole superpower, the only nation with a military that can operate and prevail anywhere. But the American economy is less certain, and the nation’s ability to keep spending huge sums on defence is already under pressure, and that pressure can only increase. By 2025, the Americans will still be top dog, but their dog will likely be smaller.

China's economy is slowing today, its huge population has major demographic problems, its increasing percentage of GDP devoted to defence is straining its budget, and the aggressive posture Beijing has adopted in its region all suggest a nation yearning to achieve superpower status but worried about controlling its people. In 2025, it will not yet be a global superpower. But barring a political breakdown brought on by China’s internal contradictions that could see Communist Party control fragment, its power will make all other nations hesitate before challenging Beijing in Asia. [1]

The United States is already tilting its naval and air power toward Asia, pre-positioning itself for this new era, and Canada will also likely shift some of its limited defence resources into the Pacific. The small operational support hubs that Canada is now setting up in Singapore and the Gulf States in 2012 are an indication that the CF is thinking seriously in this direction, as is the increasing Canadian participation in the ever-larger annual RIMPAC naval/air exercises in the Pacific with friendly states. An expanded “Anglosphere” to encompass the democratic states with interests in the Pacific—Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and possibly France, the Philippines, Singapore, and India—is slowly taking form and by 2025 may have morphed into a diplomatic and military alliance to try to contain China’s burgeoning ambitions.

[1] See, e.g., Minxin Pei, “Everything You Think You Know About China is Wrong,” Foreign Policy, 29 Aug. 2012 www.foreignpolicy.com/article/2012/08/29.

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