What’s Been Wrong with Canadian Security Policy and Diplomacy and What It May Take to Fix It

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by Denis Stairs
October, 2015

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Table of Contents


Introduction

The following discussion was originally delivered as the Louis St. Laurent Lecture at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto on 9 October 2015, ten days before the recent federal election. The text has been slightly edited for publication and to dispose of anachronisms resulting from the fact that the election results are now in.

As attentive Canadians will know very well, the general patterns of Canada’s diplomatic behaviour, particularly in relation to international security issues, has been the object for some time of criticism in books (and chapters of books) by former senior foreign service officers, by a Prime Minister and former Secretary of State for External Affairs , and by sundry journalists, as well as in legions of “op-ed” commentaries by defence and foreign policy specialists of various kinds in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, iPolitics, think-tank periodicals and the like.

The commentators, it has to be said, have come by their raw material honestly. Prime Minister Harper was very explicit, after all, in declaring from the outset that his government would be taking a new approach in its conduct of Canada’s foreign affairs (most notably, by implication at least, in the politico-security field). Specifically, it would follow a “principled” foreign policy – by which Mr. Harper appears to have meant a “moral” foreign policy – a policy, that is, that among other things would be very clear in supporting both rhetorically and in other ways international actors of whom the government approved, and in declaring Canada’s strong opposition to the players of whom it disapproved.

This commitment, or attitude, or orientation (or whatever we might like to call it) departed, of course, from traditional Canadian practice not in the sense that the new policy was truly “principled,” whereas traditional policies were amoral, or even wicked (although that may well have been the Prime Minister’s personal view), but only in the sense that it was founded on a different conception of what should be counted as truly “principled,” as opposed to “unprincipled,” behaviour.

Even taken on its own terms, antecedents for the new approach could be found (albeit rarely) in our earlier history – as in the case, for example, of some of the more exuberant expressions of distaste for the conduct of the Soviet Union both domestically (although that was less common) and internationally during the heyday of the Cold War;

Or again, in the 1950s, when Lester B. Pearson famously, if atypically, felt compelled to give vent to public cries of outrage in the House of Commons over the witch-hunting behaviour of American Congressional committees, whose repeated allegations of communist sympathizing appeared to have hounded the Canadian ambassador to Egypt, Herbert Norman, to the point of his committing suicide by jumping off the roof of a nine-story building in Cairo. There are times, even for those whose realism inclines them to compromise and moderation, when “enough” really is “enough.”

But Mr. Harper’s approach nonetheless differed fundamentally from that of his predecessors in one very important respect: namely, in that it attached much more importance to positions taken than to consequences. The traditional approach tended almost always to be far more wedded to the pursuit of efficacious results than to offering moral displays for their own sake, and it entailed taking the realities (including the power realities) carefully into account. Put another way, the starting question laid down by the new approach seemed to be: “Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, so that we can know where and with whom we stand?”

The comparable starting question for the traditional approach, by contrast, was far more utilitarian. It could be paraphrased as something like, “Given whom we know (or think we know) to be the good guys and the bad guys, what can we do that will be the most likely to contribute to achieving constructive results, even modest ones, whether for the international community at large, or for Canada itself, or (more commonly) for both?”

In the latter view, of course, the assumption was that knowing who were the good guys and bad guys from the Canadian perspective was pretty self-evident. (As an aside here, it may be useful to recall that in the late 1940s there was a raging debate in the Department of External Affairs over the question of whether the Americans or the Soviets were most responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War. Different senior foreign service officers had different answers. But of course the answers really didn’t matter very much. No one had any trouble knowing who our friends were and where our interests lay.)

The tough part of the job, therefore, was not the picking of sides. Often, in fact, the picking of sides was not even subliminally pertinent to the Canadian agenda. In conflicts abroad in which we had no interest, save the restoration of order, we really didn’t care in any case. Of the conflicting adversaries it could frequently be said, from the comfortable perspective of a conflict-resolving diplomacy, that they were two twos of one and four of the other. The tough part of the job, therefore, was the far more difficult task of figuring out how to promote – however marginally – the getting of some useful things done.

It is important to note here that this was as true of Progressive Conservative leaders – Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, for example – as of their counterparts in the Liberal Party. The new approach – the approach of the “New” Conservatives – thus really did represent a departure from previous norms.

Those norms were rooted in a complex series of factors related to Canada’s geopolitical circumstances (including most obviously its proximity to the United States), in its position in the international power hierarchy more generally, in its domestic political culture, and in the education, experience and (in a surprising number of cases) the religious backgrounds of its professional foreign service. I don’t want to re-hash all this further, and I am quite aware that some might say that I shouldn’t be taking Mr. Harper’s rhetorical generalities about the need for a “principled” approach to foreign policy too seriously because they may not have borne very significantly on his practical conduct of our foreign affairs. Perhaps his observations were rather like the more elaborate disquisitions that the professional bureaucracy itself sometimes generates in response to comprehensive (and heavily publicized) foreign and defence policy reviews. The documents that result often seem to be designed, after all, to bring closure to the sometimes tedious reviewing process, to cause as little inconvenience as possible to the conduct of practical operations related to security affairs every day, to keep academics and other commentators as distracted as possible by conceptual frameworks and other overly intellectualized concoctions, to impart more broadly (with any luck) some measure of public education on international issues, and ultimately to secure for the written analysis an honourable resting place in the murky caverns of the Public Archives without its having done much harm en route.

But I fear this was not the reality in recent cases, where what the Prime Minister said about his government being “principled” in foreign affairs seemed (with occasional exceptions reflecting lessons often learned the hard way) to accord very well with its actual behaviour, particularly in the politico-security issue-area. A few familiar recollections may help to demonstrate the point.

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The China Example

The first of these, and in some ways the most telling, related to the government’s initial approach in managing the Canadian relationship with China. It made it clear from the beginning that China’s autocratic habits of domestic governance – reflected among other things in oppressive treatment of dissenters, pervasive assaults on freedom of speech, assembly, religious practice and the like, ruthless (not to say brutal) violations of principles and practices commonly regarded in the liberal democratic world as essential prerequisites for the rule of law and the proper administration of justice, and all the rest – put it unambiguously in the bad guy category. Ottawa would therefore be placing pressure for human rights reforms very high on the agenda of its China file.

By clear implication, progress on other matters (including economic ones) would rank much farther down on the Canadian priority list. In effect, the government was telling Chinese authorities to shape up or ship out. The bluntness of such talk was strengthened (or so it must have seemed in Beijing) by unflattering comparisons of the way the Chinese handled their internal affairs with the practices followed in India, a nearby and similarly populous power with massive long-term potential and an economy, like China’s, that seemed to be taking off. Unlike the Chinese, the Indians were ruling themselves, under daunting internal circumstances, through processes associated with parliamentary democracy. That being so, Canada would assume a much more positive and helpful attitude in dealing with the Indian than with the Chinese file.

Here was Ottawa’s principled foreign policy in action. There was no recognition that Canada, from the Chinese perspective, was essentially a pipsqueak player, and that, for all sorts of obvious reasons, Beijing was highly unlikely to respond constructively to such aggressive rhetorical displays from the likes of Canadians, or from anyone else, for that matter. Past experience demonstrated very clearly, of course, that the Chinese were uncompromising in their view that their internal business was entirely their own. It also showed that they had very long memories of occasions when they were denigrated or insulted, particularly in such crude and highly publicized terms.

Sane practitioners of the diplomatic art therefore knew very well that constructive engagement was almost certainly a better way of proceeding, while recognizing that changes in the way the Chinese managed their political affairs at home were bound to take a very long time to materialize. The better informed among them also understood that the Chinese were faced internally with enormously difficult challenges. Their economy was growing with impressive rapidity. But it was also growing unevenly. Internal fissures were an inevitable part of the process. Even Canada’s constitutionally-enshrined principle in defence of the free mobility of labour could become for the Chinese, if their citizens (like ours) were allowed to move about however they liked without government approval, a cause of devastating and de-stabilizing chaos and confusion.

A Canadian rhetoric, in short, that failed to take into account the circumstances that the Chinese were facing on the ground was almost certain to be regarded by the authorities in Beijing as little more than gratuitous and ill-informed political posturing. It might be designed primarily for Canadian domestic consumption, but it was insulting all the same.

In this example, of course, the government in Ottawa ultimately reversed its strategy, most notably for trade promotion reasons. It is highly likely that this reversal reflected the outrage of Canadian business enterprises that saw only the loss of promising commercial opportunities as the discernible outcome of federal policy. But by then a lot of damage had obviously been done, with no evidence of compensating advantages on other fronts – the propagation of human rights within China among them. (It is equally unclear, incidentally, whether much good ensued from the rhetorically much more flattering and benign Canadian assessment of India. But that’s another matter.)

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The Middle East Example

A second example, still commonly referenced in commentaries on the government’s conduct of Canada’s foreign affairs, relates to the Middle East, and more specifically to Ottawa’s regularly reiterated declarations of unqualified support for Israel, and its equally unqualified disparagement of the other players in the cauldron of conflict in which the region’s turbulent politics are brewed. Canadians in general, of course, sympathize with Israel and its security problems, and they know very well that its political system falls four-square within the western tradition and the liberal practice of a pluralistic and democratic politics. And they recognize, too, that most of the other countries in the Middle East area are, in varying degrees, much less congenial from that point of view.

But it has been commonly observed all the same that the Conservative government’s approach was rhetorically one-sided in the extreme, and that this has been a significant, and perhaps diplomatically unhelpful, departure from past practice. That practice had always displayed a pro-Israeli tilt in substance, but rhetorically previous Canadian governments had tried to express, on the one hand, an empathetic understanding of the tragic complexities of the regional problem, broadly conceived, and, on the other, a willingness to be of assistance in any process aimed at de-escalating the passions and conflicts involved if such assistance should come to be regarded by any of the pertinent players as potentially helpful.

We have to be honest, I think, in recognizing that the chances of Canada being of significant use in this way are now pretty remote, and that they have been so for some time. What is clear, however, is that the Harper government’s “saints-and-demons” Manichean approach in this context has pretty well demolished any credibility Canada might once have had in the region – except, of course, among members of the hard-line community within Israel itself. In effect, we are indulging our partisan preferences in a way that ensures we will accomplish nothing (except, that is, to give some political comfort to those within Israel who are among the least likely to entertain accommodative initiatives). This, I suggest, doesn’t help.

It is sometimes argued that the highly partisan position we have so ostentatiously displayed is really a reflection of the government’s playing the game of diaspora electoral politics at home. I suspect that may be at least partly true. But to be fair to the Prime Minister, I think it highly likely that his position is honestly and deeply held. The problem with it in the foreign policy context is that it is an easy self-indulgence and fails to pass the far more difficult utilitarian test that is the measure of a constructive statecraft.

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The United Nations Example

A third example has to do with the United Nations, a multilateral enterprise if ever there was one, and a significant vehicle for much of Canada’s diplomatic action on “out of area” politico-security issues over some six decades following the end of World War II. Deeply, if sometimes naively, cherished here at home as an auspice for legitimizing Canadian action in response to complex conflicts abroad, the UN has traditionally enjoyed a significant place in Canadian security policy.

The process has actually worked both ways. When the organization has been able to act, it has often put Ottawa on the hook, forcing it to contribute. On the other hand, when it has been unable to act, it has sometimes given the government an excuse for getting off the hook, too. In short, Canada has used the UN as a vehicle for pursuing what it has perceived to be its interests. Just like everyone else!

But the UN has a lot of warts, and they are most commonly evident in relation to the maintenance, if necessary by forceful intervention, of international peace and security. This is clearly the organization’s core collective function, but it is also the function upon which truly collective action is the hardest to get. That being so, representatives of the current government have repeatedly used opportunities in the General Assembly and elsewhere to give vent to their frustrations in response to the ineffectuality of the organization’s performance. In this respect, Minister John Baird was probably the best (or at least the most notable) performer. These righteously indignant displays have been complemented in other contexts by declarations to the effect that Canada is losing interest in the UN and is now attracted to alternative – and much less universal – channels for responding to security menaces originating abroad.

Of course, such ventings are not unique to Canada. Americans, among others, hear them often, particularly (but not solely) from voices on the Republican Right. But the United States is a superpower, and it has been carrying the freight for a very long time. In that context, easy expressions of contempt for the gridlock that the UN (not unlike the American Congress, it must be said) routinely engenders can be more readily understood. The same excuse cannot, however, be persuasively mounted in the case of Canada, where resorting to the more muscular of the alternative vehicles of statecraft as sources of influence abroad has much more limited and selective utility.

The UN is, in the end, an instrument for the conduct of statist international politics in which the players involved include virtually all of the state actors we have. Of course it has warts. Of course it’s frustrating. That’s the way of the global political world. For Canada to condemn it in simple tones of moral indignation is simply to duck the difficult – to ignore the tiresome but nonetheless persistent realities. That’s easy. Trying to do something constructive about them is not. And obviously it requires patience – endless patience.

Interestingly, some in Canada have argued that our ostentatiously propagated assessments of the UN in recent years have led to an embarrassing payback. We weren’t successful in our bid to win an elected seat on the Security Council in 2010. I suspect myself that this resulted at least in part from systemic international developments beyond our control. But the fact that Canada simply “wasn’t there” certainly contributed to the outcome, if only by making it easier for long-standing friends to shift their votes.

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The Russian Example

I will try one more example, this one very recent. It has to do with the confrontational talk that Prime Minister Harper directed to Vladimir Putin in relation particularly to Russian behaviour in Ukraine (and now also, of course, in Syria).

I suspect his performance may have had something to do with his desire to win votes from Canadians of Ukrainian extraction in Saskatchewan and elsewhere on the prairies. But I think also that he actually agreed with what he was saying, and was content on its own terms with his straight-talk manner of saying it. As in the Middle East case, however, his performance could not have been expected to have any impact on his target, Mr. Putin (for whom, in the Ukrainian context, noises from Canada amount to little more than the sound of a buzzing gnat, momentarily tiresome but not worth much attention). More importantly, the Prime Minister’s approach had the unpleasantly counterproductive feel of demonization.

I want to be clear about this. I hold no brief for Mr. Putin, and I don’t think I am naïve about the kind of political animal he is. But I do think there are explanations for his behaviour that go far beyond the “bad guy” hypothesis. I am sure he sees political advantage at home in playing the nationalist and empire-recovery cards, particularly when the Russian economy is in such a mess. It diverts public attention from the awkward facts.

But I have to say as well that almost any Russian leader would be worried by the advance of western influence so close to the Russian border and hence would be concerned to secure and perpetuate the reliability of the Federation’s geopolitical interests – naval interests not least among them – in Crimea. As anyone who has visited Moscow will know, the sense there of being geographically surrounded by sources of vulnerability is palpable – notably among them Europeans in the West, various unfriendly Islamic elements to the south, and the Chinese to the east. And it doesn’t take much knowledge of Russia’s history to recognize that these concerns are far from irrational.

Frankly, I don’t think the western powers, particularly on the security side, have done a very good job in the years since the end of the Cold War of seizing the opportunity to mend fences and reassure their erstwhile polar adversary. They have succumbed instead (admittedly under strong and understandable pressure from the East Europeans) to the temptation to make the most of their victory. “The most,” as it turns out, has been too much. But to understand all this leads, it seems to me, to an emphasis focused more on constructive diplomacy than on demonization, even if keeping some powder dry is also prudent.

Obviously, I could go on in similar vein with reference to other examples (in relation to the troubles in Sri Lanka between Singhalese and Tamils, for example, or in the context of development assistance programming in Africa, or in North America on functional bilateral matters like the Keystone Pipeline). But my central point here is that the Conservative government seemed, on security issues in particular, to be responding – not by “doing politics” – but by indulging in a kind of “good guy–bad guy” posturing that violated the first rule that presumably should apply as much to diplomacy as to medicine: do no harm. And like many other Canadians, I have concluded that the harm that was done was harm more to ourselves than to others.

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What May It Take to Fix the Problem

If the Conservatives had been returned to office, either in a majority or minority position, it is not unreasonable to assume that we would then be treated to more of the same. As it happens, we have a new government with majority support, apparently reflecting among electors a widely distributed desire for change. But even the Liberal majority government may find the task of turning things around difficult, and it won’t happen overnight.

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Restoring Confidence

The enterprise will need to begin, I think, with a restoration of the lost confidence of much of the public service in general, and the foreign service in particular. I say this because the Manichean approach to international security affairs that I have discussed was necessarily accompanied by a rejection of what public administration specialists like to call “evidence-based policy-making” (in contradistinction, I suppose, to policy based on no evidence at all). It reflected, that is, a tendency in the political leadership to ignore the contextual nuances in favour of a priori assumptions and judgments, and to regard suggestions from officials that inconveniently complicated the problem at issue, or cast a different light on it, as tiresome obstacles in the way of getting on with the job.

But textured evidence treated with careful analysis is exactly what is required, especially in the more complex fields in which public policies have to be developed and implemented. This means in turn that public service advisers will need to be convinced that their ideas are valued even if they are not always followed, and that ministers including the prime minister, honestly want to hear them. That will take a lot of earnest persuasion and positive reinforcement.

Given the “sending-to-Coventry” with which senior public servants have been rewarded for nearly a decade now if they provide unsolicited advice, their initial response to encouragement is likely to be skeptical. Some may even wonder exactly what is really being asked of them. I know of at least one well-connected observer who fears that the traditional policy-advising and analysis role is now so distant a memory that the culture upon which it depended may lie beyond recovery. A lot of middle-level foreign service officers, after all, have never experienced it.

It follows that a new government that really wants expert advice from its public service professionals will have to work hard to get it, and have support from the highest level in doing so. Among other things, this will also require a more clearly defined understanding on all sides of the distinction between the political advice that is the appropriate responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office and the professional advice that is the responsibility of the public service. Political considerations at home will sometimes outweigh considerations of efficacy abroad. That goes without saying. But both kinds of input, in a parliamentary system, have to be in place and at work if well-founded policies are to ensue.

Years ago, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his immediate colleagues thought that the balance of influence weighed too heavily in favour of the public service, so that ministers often felt that their deputies – more experienced by far in dealing with the complexities – were leading them around by the nose. I would argue now that the pendulum has swung much too far in the other direction.

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Restoring Resources 

But displays of leadership encouragement and rhetorical morale-boosting won’t be enough. There will need to be tangible indicators of restoration and renewal, too. And this will require resources.

Government departments and agencies have been heavily cut back in a wide variety of sectors, reflecting a general view in the Conservative political leadership that too much government is a bad thing anyway, and that in Canada the public policy apparatus has become bloated with the effects of bureaucratic aggrandizement over time. Those concerned primarily with international matters have thus not been alone in experiencing cut-backs in personnel, the hollowing out of their policy analysis capacity, the contraction (in the foreign policy context) of embassy establishments abroad (with one-off sales even of their real estate facilities), and so on. The recent controversy over delays in processing refugee admissions seems to have been – in part, at least – a consequence of this phenomenon.

Retired senior foreign service officials complain that their department has become a pale shadow of its former self, and the department has been known to try selling itself even within the larger bureaucracy more as a service agency for other government units than as a leading policy-adviser and implementer on its own. All this needs to be reversed if its culture – and its capacity – are both to be revived. The process won’t come free of charge. If Canada wants to count in the world, it has to be “there”, and with genuine talent and expertise.

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United Nations

On the United Nations front, the Conservative government, at least in the short term, may have had some success with its attempts to deflate the organization’s popularity at home, drawing as it has been able to do on the difficulty the UN has been having, in a much more diversely configured state system, in getting concerted action on the security front. This tends, among other things, to ignore the enormous contributions the UN makes in an elaborate array of functional issue-areas, many of which are concerned with the ultimate sources (or “root causes,” as the jargon has it) of conflict.

But even there, it experiences major obstacles in trying to get good things done on an adequate scale. The organization simply cannot rise above the standards that the politics of its own members collectively determine. And of course it IS very tiresome when subordinate commissions like the one devoted to human rights, have members (in that example) from countries that are ruled by autocrats with kleptocratic habits of governance whose hold on power is fortified in large measure by villainous human rights violations.

All the same, it seems to me that the organization and its various Specialized Agencies have done, and are doing, invaluable work around the globe, and we need to stop being “not there,” and to start showing up again. That will take resources, too – resources of energy, diplomacy, and hard cash among them.

The government decided in the face of the outcome of its 2010 bid for a term on the Security Council not to bother even trying to get elected in 2012 and 2014. Election campaigns in the UN context, as in others, do, of course, require considerable effort. Sometimes they even require unseemly bargaining in the “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” style typical of domestic politics in lots of places, and perhaps most vividly of all in the United States.

In short, you have to “do the politics” at the UN just as you have to “do the politics” at home. Mr. Harper’s government apparently concluded early on that influence in the UN just isn’t worth the trouble, or the price, or the political embarrassment that can come from trying only to fail. This, in my view, is simply wrong, and runs contrary to the long-term Canadian, as well as international, interest.

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Containing Expectations

Having said that, there is a strong case for the argument that the new Canadian government ought to try to lower expectations – both at home and abroad. Canadian foreign policy debates have long been coloured by a tendency to exaggerate Canada’s international influence and accomplishments. These, at times, have certainly been considerable. But our federal politicians have been understandably tempted by the prospect of propagating warm glows in the hearts of the citizenry at large by dwelling on, and exaggerating, particular diplomatic episodes in which Canada has played a part, all the while insisting that they are reflections of uniquely Canadian virtues and attributes, and hence are typical of us and likely therefore to be repeated.

There were smidgens of truth in this for a couple of decades or so after 1945, but the exuberance of the telling ultimately came to be overdone, and in any case the performances at issue reflected a set of international circumstances that have long since been transformed – the breakdown of the bipolar structure and the emergence on the scene of an increasingly impressive array of states with significant power assets of their own not least among them. The security problems we face, moreover, now have many new dimensions, and are not by any means triggered by established states alone. Practitioners of foreign affairs will have a far better feel for all this – and for much more of the same – than I.

My own point here is simply that Canada cannot expect to play the kind of role that it sometimes played during the years of post-1945 recovery. New (or recovered) players in the state system now have more clout by far than we ever had, even then. A sensible foreign policy leadership will try – ever so gently – to make this clear to its citizenry. In Canada’s case, after all, the realities are already clear to powers abroad. There is no point in cultivating expectations at home that have no chance of being met. (President Obama, rather interestingly, has tried – perhaps not yet very successfully – to make the same point clear to citizens of the United States, realizing as he does that there are limits these days to what even an unchallenged superpower can actually do unless it can acquire by negotiation a lot of help.) 

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Setting Priorities 

The importance of lowering expectations is strengthened by one of the consequences of the extent to which most of the security problems we face exceed Canada’s modest capacities to respond. No country can do everything, even if it has the will to try. Certainly Canada can’t. Hence there is a strong case here for functional specialization – for doing a great deal very well in some security-relevant issue-areas, but perhaps not very much in others.

The Harper initiative in support of maternal health in Africa has done a lot of good work and has been very well received, although the program’s reputation has been damaged by the government’s “principled” refusal to extend its terms of reference to include family planning. The enterprise nonetheless points to the sorts of things Canada can usefully do, given its professional assets and expertise, in a way that can have both a significant impact in the field, while at the same time propagating a defensible Canadian “brand.” Why not do more of this sort of thing? Bill Gates does it (and with help from Canadian medical experts, too). Surely Ottawa can do the same – only more so – in the name of the Canadian state.

It can be argued that this sort of functional initiative is not really about “security,” although it’s easy enough to mount a root-cause argument suggesting that it could at least contribute to the lowering, here and there, of latent sources of conflict. That is the “human security” argument, and all that.

But whatever one’s views on that score, I am persuaded myself that such enterprises, taken in conjunction with others, are far more likely to have constructive effects than trying to transform the internal political cultures of unstable states simply by deposing their dictators, waging war against their military establishments, or attempting to dislodge warlords who have non-state armies at their disposal. We have tried this too often and have too often failed, perhaps because we remember John Locke but have forgotten Thomas Hobbes (whose Leviathan model of the social contract sometimes seems in many parts of the world to be better received and much more efficacious than is the Lockean version cherished in the West).

These remarks have focused on the broad generalities, and some may be disappointed by their failure to comment more substantively on such matters as defence procurement, or more specifically on such questions as what Canada should be doing now about ISIL, or what the West in general should be doing about the Russians and Ukraine, or the Russians in Syria, and all the rest.

But these are questions for area specialists, or for practitioners in the field, to answer. They are the kinds of questions that the members of the new government should be directing to their officials (the people “on the cables,” as the diplomats used to say) and perhaps to independent experts whom they may think it useful to consult. Generalist observers in the peanut gallery who have little access to the nuances that are the prerequisites in such matters for useful judgment are wise to keep their peace.

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About the Author

Denis Stairs is a former Chair of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute's Advisory Council. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Dalhousie University and a Senior Fellow with its Centre for Foreign Policy Studies. 

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