Winter 2008 (Volume VI, Issue IV)

Promoting new understanding and improvement of Canadian foreign and defence policy.

Message from the President - Robert S. Millar

Welcome to the Winter 2008 issue of “The Dispatch.” The first thing you might notice about this edition is that it is in an entirely new format. The format will continue to evolve over the coming months and we encourage you to let us know what you think of it. In this edition of “The Dispatch,” there are two feature articles. The first examines the changing humanitarian space and asserts that it is the Canadian government’s responsibility to protect its citizens abroad. The second discusses how the Canada-U.S. relationship can be managed under a new American administration. The other six articles cover an array of topics from relations with China to the legal processes at Guantanamo. I encourage you to read each of them. I hope you enjoy this issue!

Article Summaries from the Assistant Editor

  1. Canadian Humanitarian Worker Security: Whose Responsibility is it? – Gordon Smith, Allen Kanerva, and Frans Barnard. Humanitarian agencies often find themselves in a space increasingly shared with militaries pursuing development operations. Gordon, Allen, and Frans state that this has put workers in more danger and note that there has been a sharp increase in the incidence of violence against humanitarian workers. The question, then, is who is responsible for the safety of these people who risk so much to help others? The authors argue that, as part of its commitment to human security and international development, the Canadian government must ensure that appropriate security measures are taken to protect Canadian workers and ensure that these people are properly trained in order to lower their risk levels.

  2. Managing the Canada-U.S. Relationship in the Obama Era – Denis Stairs. Canadians, for the most part, share in the international enthusiasm for the Obama-Biden foreign policy plan as it is more moderate and international in focus and may also produce new initiatives in the Canada-U.S. relationship. This, contends Denis, is not because the new administration will look more favourably on Canadian concerns, but because Canadians are more agreeable to working closely with the new administration. This new opportunity that political leaders will have to renegotiate the bilateral relationship, must fall within the traditional rules of constructive Canada-U.S. statecraft.

  3. The GWOT + 7 – Brian Flemming. The Global War on Terror (GWOT) has spanned seven years, but those countries still fighting the GWOT are now suffering from “crisis fatigue,” and unless another incident occurs, security measures are less likely to be funded. Brian argues that diminished funding of security measures, combined with the financial crisis, is a good thing because it will force national security institutions to do a serious cost-benefit analysis and will allow the Canadian government to develop a “resilient” approach to future extremist attacks. He also contends that the Canadian public should be involved in deciding on the security measures the government funds.

  4. It’s Time for a Defence Industrial Strategy – Sharon Hobson. What Canada has is a defence policy and plans to increase the defence budget for the next twenty years. What Canada does not have is a Defence Industrial Strategy, akin to those in the UK and Australia. Sharon argues that because DND will be acquiring billions of dollars in the next twenty years, and because there have already been procurement missteps, the need for this strategy is greater than it has ever been. The government, she states, must stop operating on the basis of ad hoc policies and create a defence industrial strategy that will help to build both the Canadian military and economy.

  5. Guantanamo – Frank Harvey. In April 2008, Frank attended Salim Ahmed Hamdan’s open militarycommission hearings in Guantanamo as an academic observer. He states that the image the media portrays of legal processes violated by an administration bent on imposing its will is simply not true. Mr. Hamdan’s legal team, and the teams of other detainees, are experts, have long years of experience, are relentless in the defence of their clients, and have a huge success rate. With this in mind, Frank questions whether it would be in Omar Khadr’s best interests to be tried in Canada, how Canada would deal with such a trial, and whose interests are really being served by brining him back to Canada. He also posits on the future of Guantanamo.

  6. Risks, Disasters and Crises: A Better Comprehension of the Stakes in Civil Protection – DanyDeschênes. In this article, Dany examines the differences and connections between risk, disaster, and crisis. He states that risk is a critical factor today because our society has become characterized by risk and because a risk to one sector of our society can become a risk to multiple sectors. Dany also argues that we need to stop solely associating risk with terrorism and that Canada must improve its collaboration between all levels of government in order to effectively deal with risk, disaster, and crisis.

  7. Charm and Repression – Ralph Sawyer. China, Ralph contends, is a master of deception and is playing the international community right into its hands. Chinese officials have launched a multipronged effort to achieve their perceived new world order – a world in which the United States and Europe have ossified and in which China has taken back its rightful place as the major world power. Ralph argues that the reluctance of people in the United States, and in other countries, to publically criticize China is creating a concensus it desires. That, combined with China’s strategy of alienating the world, and especially resource rich countries, from the United States, is giving China an edge in the battle for scarce natural resources and political space.

  8. Measuring the Comprehensive Approach to Peace Operations – Sarah Meharg. Since 2005, measuring the effectiveness of peace operations has been a high priority for the international community. In that same year, the Canadian Forces Joint Operations Group asked Sarah to develop a way to measure the effectiveness of Canadian PRT activities in Afghanistan. In this article Sarah reveals the two main results her research yielded and argues that measuring the effectivness of peace operations is directly linked to the international community’s success in these operations. It could lead, she states, to a common strategy that would ensure the underlying causes of conflict are properly addressed.



Message from the Editor-in-Chief - David Bercuson

David Bercuson is the Director of Programs at CDFAI, the Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, and the Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 41 Combat Engineer Regiment.

The attacks on Mumbai in the last week of November should wake up Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the real stakes in Afghanistan. As of this writing (November 30), no one is yet sure which “movement” perpetrated the raid, but one thing is certain: the raiders sole purpose was to kill as many innocents as possible. There can be no question either that they did not finance, plan, or train themselves for the  strike. But it does not matter too much whether they were Islamic terrorists from inside India (the so-called India or Deccan Mujahadin), Pakistan–either from Kashmir, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or any other trouble spots in that area–or even Afghanistan. It is clear today that all are linked and all are part of one larger murderous collection of jihadis who are engaged in total war against everyone who is not them.

Without question the best book on the subject is Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Written by Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, the book is NOT an anti-American rant. It is instead a careful exposition of how intertwined the jihadi movement is across a large swath of central Asia and how poorly the Bush administration (and others) understood this when committing to a military operation in Afghanistan. It also points to how it might have been carried out with greater success.

Put bluntly, the same enemy that attacked Mumbai is attacking our troops in Afghanistan – it is the same religious fanaticism, the same world view, often the same people from Chechnya, Zinzjang, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Bosnia, funded by the same sources of cash and with the same aim. Pakistan may be “jihadi central,” as Rashid explains, but the tentacles reach out for a thousand kilometers in any direction.

Rashid demonstrates that the key to winning the war against these jihadis is ultimately to be found in Pakistan. A Pakistan resolved to rooting out the terrorism in its midst, whether by undermining the basis of jihadism in schools, mosques, etc., or by force, or by any combination of such, is the ultimate answer. But if India, Afghanistan and even China hold the line around Pakistan, jihadism will be geographically limited and pressure will grow on Pakistan to deal with it.

In Kandahar province, Canada holds only one tiny piece of this very large puzzle. But it is a keypiece and abandoning Kandahar, in particular, or giving up in Afghanistan in general, will prolong this struggle that much more.



Dinner with Derek Burney
On 8 October, CDFAI hosted a dinner in Calgary at which Derek Burney shared his views on the Canada-U.S. relationship in a talk entitled, “The Audacity of Common Sense.” This event was held on the eve of a Canada-U.S. relations workshop hosted by Carleton University, in partnership with CDFAI, the Alberta government, and other contributors. Derek Burney is a Senior Fellow with CDFAI, a Senior Strategic Advisor to Ogilvy Renault LLP, and a former Canadian Ambassador to the United States.

Ross Munro Media Award
Congratulations to Mr. Alec Castonguay, who was chosen as the 2008 Ross Munro media award recipient in recognition of his excellent reporting on Canadian military and defence issues! Mr. Castonguay received his award at the CDA Institute’s Vimy Dinner on Friday, 14 November, in the LeBreton Gallery of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Canada-U.S. Relations Workshop
On 9 October the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and the Centre for Trade Policy and Law at Carleton University, in cooperation with CDFAI, hosted an Author’s Workshop entitled, “Blueprint for Canada-U.S. Engagement under a New Administration,” at the McDougall Conference Centre, Calgary. This event sought to provide political leadership with new ideas on creating a positive relationship with the incoming U.S. administration.

CDFAI would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Annual Conference

This year’s conference, “Canada & the United States: What Does it Mean to be Good Neighbours,” was held on 27 October at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ottawa. Just over 200 people attended and listened to excellent presentations, on a variety of issues within Canada-U.S. relations from high calibre panelists, as well as our two keynote speakers: Michael Kergin, former Canadian Ambassador to the United States; and Paul Cellucci, former American Ambassador to Canada. CDFAI is very grateful to our sponsors for their generous support that made the conference possible.



Canadian Humanitarian Worker Security: Whose Responsibility is it?

by Gordon Smith, Frans Barnard and Allen Kanerva
Gordon Smith is the Director of the Centre for Global Studies, and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria. Prior to 1997 he was with Foreign Affairs Canada and, among other positions, held two Ambassadorships and served as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

On August 13th, 2008, the Taliban attacked and brutally killed three female aid workers from the International Rescue Society and their Afghan driver outside of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Two were Canadians. This article is inspired by our close friend and colleague, Shirley Case, whose life was cut short while in unselfish service to Afghani children.

Canadians like Shirley, serving throughout the world in development, humanitarian or peacebuilding activities, often find themselves in complex scenarios in which infrastructure is insufficient to support the needs of the population, legal structures are weak if they exist at all, and the adherence to the rule of law is minimal. The risks associated with serving in these environments are considerable.


Preparing for the World Abroad

Compared to Canadian diplomats, corporate workers, police and military, Canadian aid workers rarely receive training adequate for what might confront them in their humanitarian deployments. While there are exceptions to this, the vast majority of first time humanitarian workers go into the field without the benefit afforded to others who go into dangerous and complex environments. Learning as you go in this area is obviously fraught with danger.


The Changing Humanitarian Space

Much is said about the “humanitarian space.” Questions and heated debates abound as humanitarian agencies find themselves increasingly sharing this space with military - hearts and minds operations - and politicised presence. From Colin Powell referring to humanitarian actors as being a “force multiplier” to the head of USAID in 2003 threatening the funding of any agencies which refused to overtly support the Bush administration, or French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner's recent comments about obtaining information on Hamas from French NGOs– humanitarian agencies and workers have been operating in an increasingly confused and dangerous environment. Canadian military Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) and the convergence of defence, development and diplomacy represent the institutionalization of these changes.

A major study in 2006, Providing aid in insecure environments: trends in policy and operations, sponsored in part by the Canadian government, identified an alarming rise in the incidence of major acts of violence – killings, kidnappings, and armed attacks resulting in serious injury – against humanitarian workers.

Today, humanitarian workers in general, and more specifically Canadian humanitarian workers in Afghanistan, have been put on notice; the Taliban has issued specific statements of threat against them. For those who remain and for those who have yet to deploy, the question has to focus on how to respond to this seismic shift in the operational environment.

Operational Security in Humanitarian Endeavours

Effective NGO operational security focuses on identifying threats, examination of individual and agency vulnerability, assessment of risk, development of mitigation strategies and, finally, a review of residual or unmitigated risk. Both individuals and organisations need clearly defined risk thresholds enabling clear and objective decision making appropriate to any given moment.

The standard framework for NGO security planning is based on three strategies: “acceptance, protection and deterrence.” These represent options ranging from soft to hard and are not linear in relationship, but more appropriately demonstrated by a triangle.

Acceptance relies upon communities who “accept” the NGO’s presence, consent to their activities, and see the NGOs as impartial, all of which contributes to their overall operational security. 

Protection invokes more active strategies to augment the security afforded through acceptance. This might include measures such as developing and implementing comprehensive security policy and procedures, reducing visibility and the use of protective devices – personal security, communications devices, and security equipment, up to and including the use of unarmed guards.

Protection can be used concurrently in environments where acceptance is, by and large, sufficient.

Deterrence is a move to more robust security in the knowledge that community based acceptance and the use of protection does not match the risk. Deterrence, at the highest levels might include legal, political or economic sanctions. However the reality for most NGOs is that deterrence will be framed by heightened physical security, up to and including the employment of armed security. The ultimate deterrence is the suspension of operations and the withdrawal of all staff. Properly employed, this range of security postures should allow an organization to react to the risk environment in appropriate ways while remaining congruent with its beliefs and values. 

Acceptance has been the unchallenged foundation for security of humani tarian operations congruent with the NGO values of transparency, neutrality and impartiality. Currently, the humanitarian operating context in countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Iraq or the DRC is such that , regardless of community support, a robust protection-based strategy with elements of deterrence such as armed guards must be considered by NGOs as an operational imperative. Further, the willingness to move to full deterrence – ceasing operations and repatriating staff - must be a realistic alternative.

Mission complacency combined with shifts in the operating environment creates fertile ground in which implemented security strategies fail to match the actual risks. An extensively used, overly simplified formula, is that risk = threat x vulnerability. As humanitarian workers we cannot change the threat, we can only influence positively or negatively vulnerability. Proper application of well founded security principles contribute to lowering an organization’s vulnerability. However, it is also the responsibility of individuals to  minimize their vulnerability. That means having sufficient training, experience and confidence to interpret what the risk levels and the organization’s security posture means to them.

Staff members may feel pressure to override their own understanding of risk, raising the threshold. This pressure, whether internal, external, motivated by immaturity, lack of experience, or zeal to make a difference, is often immense. Failure to align staff and NGO risk values has the potential of for significant compromise.

What should be clear and logical is seldom so. In Iraq in October 2004, Care International operated in acceptance security protocol despite the UN, IRC and most major NGOs having adopted robust protection/deterrence or full deterrence strategies. Margaret Hassan, the Dublin born head of CARE in Iraq, was married to an Iraqi and had been there for over 25 years. She believed that she had a high level of acceptance based on tenure: "She has tremendous presence. If there is anybody who can build a rapport with whoever these people are, she will,"British film maker Ms Arbuthnot said, “ . . . she (Mrs Hassan) did not fear being targeted in revenge attacks by Iraqis.” Margaret Hassan was abducted while driving to work on October 19th and subsequently killed. CARE ceased Iraq operations on the 20th of October.


Preparation; Whose Responsibility is it?

Recruitment organizat ions, internship offering organizations, educational work placement programs and governments themselves have a direct responsibility when sending, recommending, recruiting or otherwise encouraging individuals to participate in dangerous situations. NGOs, constrained by competition for funding, attempt to stringently apply each dollar to program delivery. Dollars attributed to security training take away from program delivery leaving NGOs resistant to increasing security expenditures. Internat ional Co-operation Minister, Bev Oda, in charge of Canada’s largest humanitarian funding agency CIDA, stressed that one of the priorities for Afghanistan was “...(to) apply its resources and work with the Afghan government and international partners to ensure measurable progress between now and 2011... (by) providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people.” Despite this emphasis, CIDA would say that it is the responsibility of the individual and or their organization to be prepared. Yet NGOs would be hard pressed to get funding from CIDA if they added robust security training and security measures as part of their operational costs.

Concurrent with the apparent lack  of direct support for security measures, CIDA took measures to further limit its exposure to liability by changing clauses in its funding documentation.

Still others might argue that it is  the role of the large international organizations such as the UN to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian workers. This is just not practical: “Very little of the extra security funding within the UN has resulted in extra security budget lines for the UN’s NGO implementing partners. The major donors have financed joint training initiatives for international NGOs, and some support has been provided to coordinated security management in the field. However, this has not been a core priority for NGOs.” As in so many other innovations in the field of humanitarian affairs, it may be the time to be clear it is the role of the donors to ensure, even demand, that appropriate security measures and training form core capabilities of implementing partners.


Canada Protecting Canadians

It is clear that there needs to be training made available to Canadians prior to their working in complex humanitarian situations. It seems reasonable that this training should be provided as a service at no cost, or at least embed the cost in the government’s overall financial commitment to human security, international development or other foreign policy programs. Pre- eployment screening, education, awareness training, and actual scenario based training would help to ensure that individuals have that capacity. The result would be organizations in which all individuals are competent and the ability to ‘mainstream’ safety and security is greatly enhanced. Corporations and their employees could also access training programs on a fee for service basis. Corporations would benefit in their staff having had effective pre-deployment training. Employees would be more effective in the field, and costs associated with support in foreign countries would be lowered. Additionally, much of the material presented could be applicable across a number of sectors – military, police, government officials, corporations and humanitarian organizations. Key concepts such as situational awareness, personal safety, threat, vulnerability and risk assessme n t s, wou l d be invaluable. For those people going to more complex environments, more intense training could be provided. The Pear son Peacekeeping Centre at one time of fered such a course: “ Foundat ions of Peace Operations.” Regrettably, despite the growing number of Canadians working in humanitarian efforts, course offerings have decreased due to the lack of government funding. Instead, millions of dollars are directed through military training assistance programs to officers from foreign nations. The incongruence is overwhelming.



Complexity and risk are  unfortunately the reali ty. Humanitarian ideals, values and goals are frequently the very issues which engender NGO vulnerabilities. Misunderstanding and failure to fully confront the consequences of delivering humanitarian assistance in complex environments leaves NGOs and their staff vulnerable. From the moment of arrival in a humanitarian mission, individuals are vulnerable to abduction, crossfire, IEDs and ambushes. These are the reality of the threats humanitarian workers face as they attempt to provide assistance in emergencies. Canada provides significant resources – financial, but more importantly its citizens - to the field of humanitarian relief , development and peacebuilding around the globe. Ensuring that the work continues is critical; therefore it is incumbent on the Government, on behalf of all Canadians, to ensure that all of the people who give freely of themselves in the service of others do so as well prepared as possible.



1. Colin Powell, “Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to the National Foreign Policy Conference for Leaders of Non-Governmental Organizations,” 26 October 2001,
2. Andrew Natsios, “Remarks at the InterAction Forum, Closing Plenary Session,” 21 May 2003, <
4. One consequence of this has been agencies such as MSF leaving Afghanistan after more than 20 years of operational presence. Their decision followed the targeted killing of 5 staff in 2004. They rightly claimed that the shift in military priorities to include what had previously been distinct humanitarian operations, created confusion, suspicion and the fertile ground for the actions being  taken against humanitarian workers.
5. Stoddard, Harmer and Haver,Providing aid in insecure environments:trends in policy and operations,” Humanitarian Policy Group Report 23, September 2006.
6. Ibid. Since 1997, the absolute number of reported major acts of violence (killings, kidnappings and armed attacks resulting in serious injury) against aid workers has risen sharply, nearly doubling (a 92% increase) between 1997–2001 and 2002–2005. All told, 408 separate acts of major violence were perpetrated against aid workers over the nine-year period, involving 947 victims, including 434 fatalities.
8. Koenraad Van Brabant, Operational Security Management in Violent Environments (ODI, June 2000).
9. In risk management, the calculation of risk associated with a particular threat is most often stated as risk = probability x impact. In the complex environment which we are talking about we have restated that formula such that risk = threat (probability x impact) x vulnerability. This speaks more clearly as to where an individual or organization can affect the greatest impact.
10. BBC News, October 20, 2004,
12. A review of the sample budget for a crisis intervention program on the CIDA website confirms that there are no line items allocated for security training or extra security measures.
13. In fact, in a series of changes completed this year, CIDA added clauses to its grant agreements which reduce their exposure to liability in the event that an aid worker is injured, harmed or killed while working on a CIDA funded program. It does suggest that somewhere there has been a potential (yet real) liability identified for funders.
14. Stoddard, et al. 



Managing the Canada-U.S. Relationship in the Obama Era

by  Denis Stairs
Denis Stairs is Professor Emeritus in Political Science at Dalhousie University and is a Faculty Fellow with its Centre for Foreign Policy Studies.

As this is being written in late-November 2008,  Americans are contemplating their prospects under a new President at a time of intensifying economic peril. The construction of Barack Obama’s administration is still a work in progress. His agenda at home (the economic melt-down, environmental issues, and the reform of the health care and education systems in particular) is laden with daunting challenges.

But his agenda abroad is overwhelming.  There, too, it includes both the economy and the environment, such matters now being driven more than ever before by global forces demanding a global response. To these are added, however, the painfully prolonged and still uncertain military enterprises in Iraq and Afghanistan, the dangerous deadlock in relations with Iran, and a host of other matters in which the United States is expected to engage itself whether it wants to do so or not. Prominent among the latter are the seemingly endless tensions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, the worrying proliferation of nuclear weapons and the danger that they will fall into the hands of terrorists, criminal extortionists and other miscreants , the fall-out from the putative Russian resurgence, and horrific instabilities in Africa.

There is the need as well to cope more generally with  a legacy of anti-American animus the world over – an animus aroused by too many years of rough-and tumble foreign policy, rendered even more offensive in the eyes of others by its association with a gratuitous, unnecessary and pugnaciously Manichaean rhetoric.

Having constructed his election campaign on  promises of fundamental change, the President-elect is already attempting to lower expectations. Presumably this is because he knows that fundamental changes of the grandly constructive sort are hard to engineer, and because he understands, too, that the hopes he has so easily raised are even more easily dashed. Predictable obstacles too often conjoin with unpredictable events to do such aspirations in.

The enthusiasm of Americans – recognizing, of course, that while Mr. Obama won, he did not win by much, and hence that their approval is far from universal – is matched by a comparable excitement among the well-disposed abroad. That this is so has been demonstrated not only by the breathless coverage of fixated media overseas, but also by the harder evidence of international polling data.

Canadians have shared in the general exuberance. In the days leading up to the American election a few of them, apparently oblivious to their own audacity, actually crossed the border to campaign on American soil in support of the charming and youthful candidate whom they had come so greatly to admire. They liked his style, which appeared accommodating and inclusive. They liked his social policies, which sounded like Canada’s own. And they liked his approach to foreign affairs, which seemed more cooperative and less adversarial than that of his predecessor. It was given more to multilateral than to unilateral modes of operation. It would be more solicitous of friends, more understanding of enemies. It was drawn more to the arts of persuasion – to soft talk and reasoned negotiation – than to the rattling of the steely instruments of hard power. It posed, in short, the encouraging possibility that a superpower voice might acquire a Canadian accent.

On the surface, certainly, the “Obama-Biden Plan” for  American foreign policy pointed in that direction. In dealing with Iran, the new administration would be firm, but it would experiment with non-military options, back away from “Bush-Cheney saber rattling,” and offer inducements to the Iranians to negotiate a “comprehensive settlement” on the nuclear question. It would eschew displays of arrogance, and “make diplomacy a priority” in dealing with friends and adversaries alike. It would “embrace the U.N’s Millenium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015,” and with this in mind, it would double U.S. foreign assistance to $50 billion. It would launch initiatives to “strengthen NATO.” It would also “seek new partnerships in Asia,” while forging there a “more effective framework...that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc arrangements.” It would work to “secure all loose nuclear materials in the world within four years,” strengthen the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and “set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it.”

In doing all this, it would be more consultative,  bipartisan and transparent at home. It would continue to give support to Israel. In partnership with others, it would develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing “the challenge posed by an increasingly autocratic and bellicose Russia.” In Africa, it would “take immediate steps to end the genocide in Darfur by increasing pressure on the Sudanese,” and it would greatly expand the American development assistance effort on the African continent more generally.

Closer to home, it would renew the engagement of  the U.S. in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the process promoting democracy and attempting to  normalize relations with Cuba. It would also work to create a regional “Energy Partnership,” and in the Americas, as in Africa, it would substantially increase its development assistance allocations. Consistent with American interests, it would encourage international trade and attempt to advance security by fostering cooperation with Latin American and Caribbean powers “to combat gangs, trafficking and violent criminal activity.”

The objectives here are ambitious. Some, almost  certainly, are unattainable. And here and there can still be found the traces of an iron fist – however finely gloved. Greater powers can no more escape the logic of their being greater than lesser powers can evade the constraints of being lesser. But it is easy enough all the same to see why Canadians would warm to the tone of the Obama-Biden Plan, and to its promised modes of operation – diplomatically styled, consultative, multilateral, and wherever possible, more soft than hard.

Even among Canadian professionals whose  dispositions have been steeled by long experience, there is evidence in response to all this of at least a flirtation with optimism. Older hands are usually inclined to think that true watersheds in the affairs of the world are rare, and hence to argue that we should expect relatively little from changes of government, and assume instead that things will remain pretty much the same. But some of them now clearly believe that promising opportunities for Canada are visible on the horizon.

It may be useful to ask whether their guesstimates are well founded.

In considering this question, it is important to separate issues overseas from issues on the purely bilateral Canada-U.S. agenda, and to observe that the latter have not been discernible on the Obama- Biden radar screen at all. It seems highly doubtful, for example, that the new President will restore the traditional custom, broken by President Bush, of scheduling Canada first on his list of visitations abroad.

Some might think this disappointing, but in fact it offers no cause for lamentation. Matters that attract enough of the attention of presidential campaigners to warrant placement in their foreign policy platforms are problems. Often they are intractable problems – problems that generate anger, grief, or serious inconvenience to large numbers of American electors. Happy is, or at least happy ought to be, the country that discovers it does not appear in an American presidential candidate’s catalogue of miseries in need of repair.

If Canadians are drawn to Mr. Obama’s foreign  policies, therefore, it is because of the way they perceive his aspirations overseas, along with the general style that he proposes to employ in his operations abroad, and not because of anything he has said about his intentions specifically in North America. To the extent that he has thought about the continent at all, he has probably focussed more on the Mexican connection than the Canadian. This is partly because problems on the border with Mexico are particularly troublesome for Americans, but perhaps more because expatriate Mexicans in the United States are the source of domestic political controversy (as well as constituting a potential bloc of cohesive voting support). By contrast, Canadians (numerous, but invisibly imbedded) are not. Canada has impressive energy supplies, but is unlikely to withhold them from American buyers. It may have malevolent residents in its midst, but its governing authorities are cooperating fully in the attempt to root them out and prevent them from marauding on American soil. From the American vantage point, Canada may not be a ‘non-problem,’ but it is at least an ‘OK-problem’ – a problem that can usually be managed by ordinary means. Its appearances on presidential agendas are thus occasional, often warranting no more than brief attention on an otherwise busy day. Tom Ridge, the first Director of Homeland Security, was reputed to have enjoyed working most of all with the Canadian file. It was easier to get constructive things done when working with Canadians across the border than it was to extract co-operation from the turf-warring departments over which he was expected to preside at home.

If there is any reason to think that the change in  American leadership will facilitate constructive initiatives in the Canada-U.S. relationship, it is less because the new administration in Washington is more favourably disposed than its predecessor on matters of substantive interest to Canada than because the moderated style and tone of its promised international operations at large has rendered the prospect of working more closely with the United States more palatable from the Canadian vantage point. To the extent that this is so, and to the extent that the new administration is successful in practising what it has preached, Canadian leaders will have much more domestic political room to deal with the bilateral relationship than was available to them under the excesses of its Republican predecessor. The latitude they will enjoy is likely to be enhanced further, moreover, by the deepening economic challenge. Not unnaturally, Canadians are more open to the compromises that continental cooperation requires when they know their own prosperity is at stake and in peril.

It will be important for Canadian observers, however,  to understand that American Democrats have affiliations with powerful political constituencies that confront them with protectionist temptations. These temptations are strengthened by precisely the same economic forces that tend to make Canadians both more accommodating and more willing to “integrate.” At the time of writing, the problems facing the “Big Three” North American auto producers illustrate the problem. Cures for their malaise may be hard to find. In the end, they may take the form of an odious medicine delivered by market forces. But even if statist pump-priming alternatives are mobilized instead, it may prove extremely difficult (and at the least, very expensive) to ensure that the Canadian patient is brought back to health in tandem with the American. Canadians will be willing to pay the price. Americans may not.

Having said all that, in an age when production  processes straddle the Canada-U.S. border in a fashion that leads manufacturing trade to be composed more of components (material and intellectual alike) than of finished goods and services, it may still be possible to foster more effective arrangements for securing and managing the flow of traffic back and forth, and for subjecting it to appropriate inspection without unduly hindering its speed of movement or multiplying its costs. Especially at a time of faltering economic activity, for example, the new political atmospherics may make it easier, especially on the Canadian side, to accelerate the harmonization of Canadian and American regulations and standards, including many of the ones intended to safeguard the environment, and thereby further facilitate unfettered trans-border production and exchange. It might even become possible, as some have argued, to construct new bilateral institutions – advisory, perhaps, but influential all the same – for a jointly creative endeavour not only in relation to border management, but in response to other issues, too (the Arctic, for example, or in new areas of military co -operation). With this in mind, the model of the International Joint Commission – not thus far emulated outside its own domain of boundary waters management – might conceivably be mobilized in similar or modified form for deployment in other issue -areas.

But if this sort of progress is to be made, great care  will have to be taken, especially in Canada, but against a backdrop of comparable sensitivity among authorities in the United States, not to ‘over-reach’ by mounting excessively dramatic proposals of the ‘grand design’ sort. The underlying opportunity in the bilateral context comes from the ‘de-politicization’ of the relationship – on the Canadian side as the result of a re-aroused goodwill among the populace at large, and on the American side by the fact that the relationship with Canada is normally not on the radar screen. To make the best use of that opportunity, however, will require obedience to the traditional rules of constructive Canada-U.S. statecraft. Among them are the following:

  • Wherever possible, avoid ‘linkage’ and treat issues separately. If the energy card has to be played, play it softly veiled, with care and discretion;

  • Wherever possible, manage the agenda at lower levels of the bureaucracy, where comity of purpose is more likely to favour considerations of fact over considerations of symbolic politics;

  • Wherever possible, deal with issues as practical problems in need of practical resolution, and not as matters pertinent to the maintenance of national dignity;

  • Wherever possible, focus public discussion on the purposes of the negotiations, and not on the details of the bargaining or on the disagreements and compromises that have materialized along the way;

  • Wherever possible, portray the negotiations themselves as positive sum, not zero-sum, games, and resist the temptation to claim a onesided victory in the bargaining;

  • Wherever possible, act on the premise that the conduct of foreign policy is, or ought to be, an enterprise in the responsible service of real public interests, and should not be regarded simply as a means of exploiting opportunities for the pursuit of short-term partisan objectives at home; and

  • Wherever possible, in short, understand that the effective pursuit of foreign policy requires pragmatism and prudence. Principle is also necessary, but it should be carried in the pocket, not worn on the sleeve.

There is nothing new in these precepts. They will be  very familiar to practitioners of diplomacy, and indeed to professional negotiators in other fields, too. But attentive publics in Canada, along with the political leaders who serve them, often need to be reminded of their importance.

Perhaps the latter will find them more palatable if  they recognize that, in the end, even the political rewards will go to responsible and measured toilers at the wheel, and not to righteous grand-standers. It was, after all, the practice of the former, not the latter, that for a time cultivated a helpful reputation for Canada in the world. And it was the indulgence of the latter, not the former, that ultimately helped to coat that reputation with the dull tarnish that so many observers think it has acquired in the last decade or more.


1.The Obama-Biden Plan for U.S. foreign policy can be found at



The GWOT +7

by Brian Flemming

Brian Flemming, CM, QC, DCL, is a Canadian policy  advisor, writer and international lawyer. From 2002 to 2005, he was Chairman of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), and he acted as CATSA’s first CEO and set up the Crown corporation.

What hath the GWOT – the Global War on  Terror, remember it? – wrought in the more than seven years since it was “declared” by “the war president,” George W. Bush? Well, for starters, the GWOT has lasted longer than either the first or second world wars and may, in the end, cost trillions of dollars.

The GWOT has certainly spawned a cottage  industry that has produced thousands of books, tens of thousands of “expert” articles, millions of bloggers’ words and hundreds of billions of dollars of government expenditure worldwide to fight it. Including the Afghanistan mission, Canada has spent at least $30 billion so far on the GWOT.

But, incredibly, there is still no agreed-upon  strategic theory on how the GWOT should be fought, or how long it will last or what victory will look like, if and when it arrives. It’s hard to craft a strategy to fight an abstract noun or a technique, like “terror” or “terrorism” respectively. The good news for those of us who live in Fortress North America – but not those in parts of Europe, and certainly not those in the Muslim world – is that there have been no successful attacks on either the American or Canadian “homelands” by violent extremists since September 11, 2001.

The bad news is that no one is certain whether this  seeming success has been due to the many billions that have been spent on “homeland” security or whether the extremists have decided to leave us alone, either to lull us into a false sense of security before striking again, or because of their disenchantment with the poor PR fall-out from the 9/11 attacks.

Just as it took many years for the containment and  nuclear strategy against the USSR to crystallize in the West, an agreed-upon strategy for fighting a long, asymmetric “war on terror” has yet to gel. On the one hand, there are those who tilt towards a military solution but that strategy is being slowly discredited by the Iraq quagmire and the gathering gloom in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, there are those who believe  violent extremists, particularly those of the Islamic kind, can only be countered by tried-and-true police and intelligence methods, the sorts of strategies Britain used against the IRA, that Spain uses against ETA and that France employs against extremists from the Maghreb. Little celebrated in the American news media, or in official statements emanating from Washington, during the GWOT has been the quiet and extensive cooperation between America and Europe in the areas of intelligence sharing and cooperation between police and legal authorities.

More good news is bestowed on the West as each  trial takes place of alleged members of “homegrown terrorist cells” – or an incident like the attempted bombing of Glasgow airport occurs. The idiots who allegedly plotted to “behead” Prime Minister Stephen Harper, or to bomb airports or night clubs in Britain, appear to have been incompetent, if not seriously stupid. We are blessed by an inefficient enemy.

A growing burden for those still fighting the GWOT,  in Canada and elsewhere, is “crisis fatigue.” Since 9/11, the world has endured the dot-com crash, the invasion and long occupation of Iraq, the difficult Afghan counterinsurgency, the growing threat of climate change, the housing and mortgage bubbles, the insane overpricing of oil and other commodities and, finally, the stock market crash of September-October, 2008. The Nervous Noughties have, up to now, been years of politically – and financially – generated fear. Plus the decade has witnessed the greatest transfers (or disappearances) of wealth in human history.

Speak to anyone in charge of security inside  corporations with serious security issues – such as banks, utilities or transport companies – and they will tell you the most difficult task they have is to convince managements and boards of directors to keep spending heavily on security when no “incidents” have occurred for some time. No incidents, no money.

So too, as governments worldwide are  forced to tighten their fiscal and monetary belts in the recession of 2008-9, many defensive “perimeters” in the GWOT – transport security, electronic eavesdropping, Internet analysis, watch lists, wars of counterinsurgency and general police and intelligence activities – will lose part or all of their funding.

This process of de-funding will finally force a  serious cost-benefit analysis by those in charge of national security institutions and, perhaps, see the development of better strategic responses to counter future threats of uncertain probability and size. This gift of quiet time will allow a foresighted Canadian government to develop the kind of “resilient” approach to future extremist attacks that the British have so successfully created in government and encouraged among their people. The adoption too, at long last, of serious risk management techniques, comparable to those employed by private security people, will allow sensible cost-cutting by the government’s security establishment.

But the public must not be kept in fearful darkness  as this process unfolds: Canadians must generally agree on which threats the state will spend money avoiding, and which threats the public must privately insure against. There is no fiscal room anymore in Canada (or the U.S.) for the so-called “One Percent Doctrine” of Vice President Dick Cheney. This “doctrine” encapsulated Cheney’s belief that even a one percent chance of an extremist attack required a complete, 100 percent government-funded response, as though the possible attack was a certainty.

The GWOT is over. It’s time to move on.



It’s Time for a Defence Industrial Strategy

by Sharon Hobson
Sharon Hobson has been the Canadian correspondent for Janes Defence Weekly since 1985. She won the Ross Munroe Media Award in 2004 in recognition of her excellent reporting on the Canadian military.

The  Conservative government has produced a defence policy and has promised regular increases in the defence budget for the next 20 years. What is missing from the security equation, however, is a defence industrial  policy that will provide direction to industry and allow for long term industrial support for the Canadian Forces.

Industry has been seeking such a policy for some time and earlier this year  was given an opportunity to make its case to the Standing Committee on National Defence. In February, that committee completed its deliberations on procurement issues, and produced a report that said, "most importantly, underpinning the whole of Defence procurement, there should be a government stated Defence Industrial Base Strategy, such as the UK and Australia has each recently published."

The government response four months later was full of bureaucratic jargon that signified little. In regard to a  defence industrial strategy, it said:

"DND, Industry Canada, PWGSC, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and other departments  are working together to build a better alignment between Canada's defence industrial capability and Canada's military requirements. The first stage of this process is the development of a series of guiding principles and best practices. Subsequent stages of work will establish renewed or new strategies, policies and programs aimed at achieving defined outcomes."

The government provided no further details in terms of type of "outcomes", lead department or time line.  Journalistic inquiries several months later as to the status of the strategy development hit a brick wall. The Department of Industry refused to answer any "policy" questions during the election, and post-election, deflected the question to the Department of National Defence (DND). DND took nine days to think about the question and by time of writing, still had not responded.

With DND undertaking billions of dollars of acquisitions over the coming years, and in the wake of several  procurement process missteps – the cancellation of the insufficiently-funded Joint Support Ship process, the much delayed and over-budget Maritime Helicopter Project, the delayed signing of a contract for CH-47F Chinook helicopters, and several major competitions in which leading contenders opted not to bid – the need for a comprehensive government policy covering its intentions and expectations regarding domestic defence capabilities is even more pronounced.

Organizations such as the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) are working  hard to get the government to focus on producing a policy which recognizes the industry's importance to both the military and the economy. CADSI's President, Tim Page, says "if the government is going to be spending tens of billions of dollars over the next couple of decades revitalizing the Canadian military, they should do so in a way that not only provides the military with the equipment and services that it needs…but also in a way that stimulates the Canadian economy in sectors that have strategic national security value."

What industries does the government consider to have strategic national security value? The shipbuilding  industry should top that discussion. It is about to embark on another of its historical boom and bust cycles with upgrades to the 12 Halifax class frigates, and government plans for three Joint Support Ships (possibly), 15 new surface combatants, and 6-8 Arctic/Offshore Patrol Vessels. All those billions of dollars to be spent, however, will not guarantee the continuation of the industry beyond the end of the programs unless the government acts to maintain the acquired technology, skills and workforce.

The current policy calls for all departments and agencies to build and maintain ships in Canada where technically  possible, but there is no overall plan aimed at keeping the shipyards working in between the infrequent large government contracts. To the contrary, as industry analyst Bernie Grover points out, after the government spent $11 billion in the 1980s and 1990s to build 12 Halifax class frigates and 12 Kingston class patrol vessels in Canada, "we did not create one self-sustaining job." In fact the primary shipyard, Saint John Shipbuilding Limited has closed, and the secondary yard, Davie Yards Inc. in Lauzon, Quebec, faltered into bankruptcy before finally finding a buyer.

The government's intentions regarding other industrial capabilities are also unknown.

It intervened in the sale of MDA this past spring because it did not deem the sale to be "of net benefit to Canada,"  but it did not follow up with an explanation of how the company fits into national plans. At the time, Dr. Jim Fergusson, an aerospace specialist at the University of Manitoba, said: "if this is a test case for an entirely new defence industrial base strategy, then I would want the government to lay this out…Are we suddenly going to triple the Canadian Space Agency budget, and start building a satellite a year? If they are, great, let's see it and hear the economic implications of all this."

We heard nothing.

A defence industrial policy is needed to pull together defence procurement plans, industrial infrastructure, inservice  support capabilities, research and development investments, intellectual property access, workforce skills and education, regional benefits, and export support.

Canadian governments have been operating for too long with ad hoc policies in these areas that do nothing for long-term industrial confidence and investment.

Now that the government is planning to spend $50-60 billion on defence over the next 20 years, it's time to produce a defence industrial strategy that will help build Canada's economy as well as its military.




by Frank Harvey
Frank Harvey is a Fulbright Scholar and the 2007 J.  William Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair in Canadian Studies at the State University of New York. He is also a Professor of Political Science and  International Relations at Dalhousie University.

Critics of the Guantanamo tribunals have  expressed serious reservations about the overwhelming power imbalance in favour of the prosecution in military-commission cases. The trials, skeptics maintain, are so predetermined as to be shams masquerading as military justice. Yet the U.S. government has been on the losing side of an ever increasing collection of judicial rulings, successful defence motions, appeals and precedent-settingSupreme Court decisions.

A silver lining seems to be  emerging from the Guantanamo cloud.

Consider the case of Salim  Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's driver and one of 275 detainees still being held in Guantanamo Bay. He is charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 with two surface -to-air missiles in the trunk of his car. "The only things in the air at the time," noted Colonel Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor, "were doves and us."

Mr. Hamdan's formal jury trial began on July 31  (2008), but pretrial hearings had been going on for close to two years. I attended his open militarycommission hearings as an academic observer from April 27 to 29 (2008), along with a large press contingent and several representatives from prominent human rights organizations.

As "unlawful enemy combatants," detainees at  Guantanamo are denied some of the most basic rights and privileges afforded other defendants under U.S. civilian or military criminal law. Most of them have spent years in detention without access to legal counsel; many are still unaware of the charges against them; very few have been given an opportunity to face their accusers or see (let alone challenge) the government's evidence; none of them were protected from supplying self-incriminating evidence; most experienced coercive interrogation; and several suffered cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (the defining traits of torture). Involuntary confessions make up a substantial portion of the evidence against them.

Col. Davis gave perhaps the most remarkable  testimony in Mr. Hamdan's case. He resigned as chief prosecutor of the military commission in 2007 because of what he viewed as unlawful influence. On the witness stand, he painted a vivid picture of the pressure he was under from superiors to prioritize "sexy" cases for maximum political benefit.

Col. Davis all but confirmed that powerful, securityconscious  officials in the Pentagon jeopardized  the chief prosecutor's independence by forcefully guiding the military commissions' pace and direction. His testimony helped to reinforce the image that prevails in the media of a process plagued by a pathological administration resolved to impose its will on the trials, with no checks or balances.

But that was not the impression I formed as an observer.

Mr. Hamdan's defence team relentlessly challenged  every aspect of the prosecution's case – demanding that their client be allowed to communicate with other detainees in order to refute the conspiracy charge, requesting access to witnesses on the no-fly list or to classified information from Mr. Hamdan's interrogation records, objecting to his pretrial confinement and treatment, making a strong case against the admissibility of self-incriminating evidence obtained through coercive interrogations, and so on. Dozens of defence motions have built up the strongest possible collection of arguments and strategies in preparation for the jury trial.


Dedicated defence teams

I spent much of my time at Guantanamo discussing  the case with four exceptionally bright lawyers from Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch, highly committed to uncovering problems with the military tribunals. Their criticisms and concerns were never directed at the defence teams. "It's not about the defence," one of them insisted.

Mr. Hamdan himself said, "I do have confidence and  trust in God with the lawyers I have." Judge Keith Allred replied: "These people have their lives tied up in your defence. They are here to protect you. You should have great faith in American law. You beat the United States once in our system" – a reference to the Supreme Court's 2006 ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on the Bush administration's first effort to prosecute captured al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The majority concluded that the commissions violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions of 1949. In essence, the government had no right to establish the commissions without congressional approval – which it then went on to obtain, when Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006.

The most relevant victory for Hamdan, of course, was  a November (2008) decision by the U.S. military to release Hamdan to Yemeni authorities until December 27 (2008). He will then be free to return to his family.

There have been other important victories in Mr.  Hamdan's case. Evidence of political bias and interference was instrumental in Judge Allred's firing of Brigadier-General Thomas Hartmann (the legal adviser for the military commissions and Col. Davis's former boss), who is now excluded from taking any further part in this trial.

And though the prosecution passionately  underscored the security implications of letting coconspirators communicate, Judge Allred let Mr. Hamdan contact other detainees.

In August, 2008 the jury found Hamdan guilty of five  counts of supporting terrorism -- he was found not guilty of two of the more serious charges of conspiracy. Hamdan was subsequently sentenced to five years and sixth months, so with time served he is eligible for release in February/March, 2009.

Several very important victories in other cases are also worth noting.

In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the  Constitution does apply to detainees at Guantanamo; they now have the right to challenge their detention in regular U.S. courts. The writ of habeas corpus is a mandate to bring prisoners to trial quickly, to establish a justification for their imprisonment. The Military Commissions Act suspended habeas corpus, but the Supreme Court has re-established it for Guantanamo detainees. The decision has important implications for the entire military commission process and may be the most significant victory for defence teams so far. Habeas corpus applications in the ordinary courts may do more to reorient the military-commission process – or possibly shortcircuit it altogether.

In May, 2008, all charges against the alleged 20th  Sept. 11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, were dropped. His lawyer interpreted this dismissal as confirmation that his client's confessions were obtained through torture (prohibited by the Military Commissions Act). This precedent makes similar defence victories likely in many of the remaining 80 or so cases.

Colonel Peter Brownback, the former judge in Omar  Khadr's trial, threatened the prosecution with dismissal if they continued to delay discovery, which they were accused of having done since November, 2007. The prosecutors finally complied on May 22 by providing Mr. Khadr's lawyer, Lieutenant-Commander Bill Kuebler, access to his client's confinement and interrogation records.

The prosecutors had to hand over, among other  things, classified instructions advising interrogators to destroy notes they made during their sessions with prisoners. He is expected to use this revelation to raise grave doubts about the evidence against Mr. Khadr – most of which was obtained through confessions. Judge Brownback could decide, for example, that the destruction of these notes seriously undermines Mr. Khadr's ability to challenge the prosecution's evidence, a core principle of American justice.


Compelling arguments

The most powerful government in the world, trying to  establish the best possible position in preparation for prosecuting Guantanamo detainees, has not been able to prevent defence teams from winning important, precedent-setting victories for their clients.

Washington officials  undertook in 2001 to give their military the authority to capture combatants and obtain actionable intelligence, in order to prevent future attacks on the battlefield or on U.S. soil. None of this can be effectively accomplished, the U.S. government has consistently argued, if soldiers are compelled in the midst of a battle, counterinsurgency or counterterrorist operation to read captured fighters their rights (if any) to remain silent or give them prompt access to a lawyer. American security would be jeopardized, in other words, if the government granted detainees the same constitutional protections as are guaranteed to American citizens (or American soldiers, as per the Uniform Code of Military Justice). And in a continuing post-9/11 security crisis in which both Democratic and Republican leaders remain very worried about the consequences of any security failure, the rights of unlawful enemy combatants will be sacrificed every time.

Of course, the primary mission of Guantanamo  defence lawyers is to win for their clients the rights and protections most of us take for granted – regardless of security implications, cumbersome rules of engagement on the battlefield, or recidivism rates of released prisoners. These excellent lawyers are mounting compelling arguments against the government's evidence, the ways in which it was collected, the treatment of their detained clients, and the legitimacy of the entire military commission process.

In many important respects, the military commissions  are actually working quite well, not only at Guantanamo itself, but also toward establishing a framework of precedents that will go a long way toward preventing future Guantanamos.

Many aspects of the Guantanamo story remain  deeply troubling, but if the defence teams representing Mr. Hamdan and Mr. Khadr are any indication of the quality of legal counsel Guantanamo detainees are receiving, there are many reasons to be hopeful.

Would bringing Khadr home be in the defendent's best interest?

Omar Khadr deserves a fair trial,  but does that mean he must be returned to Canada in order to get one?

A fair trial as defined by a defence attorney is one  that biases the procedures and standards of evidence in favour of getting the accused released. Mr. Khadr, according to this view, should receive all of the legal rights, privileges and constitutional safeguards enjoyed by U.S. or Canadian citizens, regardless of the circumstances surrounding his alleged crimes. Simply put, it is argued that military operations in the midst of a counter-insurgency are identical to actions involving police officers arresting suspected criminals in downtown Toronto – a crime is a crime.

But consider the implications if this argument  succeeds. Would troops be compelled to read captured fighters their rights (to remain silent), or to provide them with access to an attorney, or release them if they happen to be juveniles? Yes, the defence teams argue, that's for the military to deal with – there are important legal principles to uphold, regardless of the security implications that come with applying such rigid rules on the battlefield.

Competing interpretations of what constitutes a fair  trial for enemy combatants who are captured in places such as Afghanistan encapsulate the dilemma Washington is facing today, and no defence attorney, human rights advocate, Canadian senator or government official has figured out where the right balance lies.

Critics sidestep this dilemma when defining the  prerequisites for a fair trial in Mr. Khadr's case or when demanding his return to Canada. But if Mr. Khadr is returned, and if the Canadian government is forced to deal with this precedent-setting case, government lawyers will fight, much as their U.S. counterparts, to establish a different standard of fairness given the circumstances of battle. Ottawa would face much the same dilemma Washington has been dealing with since 2001 and would have to make many of the same arguments U.S. prosecutors have been making in Guantanamo.

The Canadian government would not establish  military tribunals, but there is no reason to expect Mr. Khadr would be treated as a common criminal either. The implications for Canadian military operations and rules of engagement in Afghanistan are too important.

So, what is the Canadian alternative? How exactly  would Ottawa deal with Mr. Khadr's status? Would we have to create our equivalent to an "unlawful enemy combatant?" What would Mr. Khadr's incarceration and treatment look like if he was moved to a Canadian prison facility, faced a military trial under Canadian military law (essentially our equivalent to a court martial proceeding) for the same crimes, based on the same evidence and circumstance?

How would Mr. Khadr's new defence team compare  with the team he currently has in his corner (when it comes to qualifications, experience, record)? And what stronger collection of legal arguments (criminal, constitutional, international, humanitarian) would the new team offer that the current team has missed? No one has easy answers to any of these questions. Consider the fact that Approximately 650 (of the almost 900) Guantanamo prisoners have now been released. Another 195 are at various stages of being processed for return (because the Office of the Chief Prosecutor has no evidence to try them for a violation of the Law of War).

That's a pretty impressive success rate for U.S.  defence teams - about 80 detainees are currently scheduled for trial by military commission. It's remarkable, to say the least, that these defence teams secured the release of Mohammed al-Qahtani, one of the six high-value prisoners implicated in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks. They've compiled a storehouse of successful defence motions, legal decisions, Supreme Court rulings and other precedents that Mr. Khadr's team will be using to help his case.

Mr. Khadr's Canadian defence team would be  working on (and learning from) its first case if he is returned to Canada. Is it in Mr. Khadr's interest to dismiss his U.S. attorneys, begin a new trial under a completely different system and start from scratch? It would take a considerable amount of time, with no clear resolution; so whose interests are being served by pushing so hard for his return?


Closing Guantanamo

So why not just close Guantanamo Bay prison and  move the detainees to the U.S.? There are two problems with this solution. There is no guarantee this move will have a positive impact on the recidivism rate. Second, despite campaign rhetoric and the personal preferences of Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, Guantanamo Bay prison is not likely to be closed very soon. The Pentagon currently has no detailed planning to move detainees to U.S. soil, and construction is underway to build a second court house to speed up remaining trials. I am not aware of a single Senator or Representative who has come close to endorsing the construction of a new prison in their state. The prospects for a quick fix for the Guantanamo impasse are not encouraging, even after the next President is elected. 



Risks, Disasters and Crises: A Better Comprehension of the Stakes in Civil Protection

by Dany Deschênes
Dany Deschênes is an Assistant  Professor at L’École de politique appliquée l’Université de Sherbrooke. He is also a columnist for Le Multilatéral, a French language magazine specializing in Canadian Foreign Policy.

Last September, the Senate’s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence published a second, rather voluminous, report on the federal management of emergencies. First observation: this report was widely overlooked. Yet, the issues being discussed are unavoidable: the management of emergencies. Second observation: if terrorism makes it possible to shed light on some of the stakes of civil protection, it eclipses all the other security issues. As it has been noted by the German sociologist Ulrick Beck since the 1980s, we entered the era of a risk society and because of that, an important current in sociology, political sciences and geography, is now interested in risk policies. In addition, if the environmental question is that important today, it is also in part because of its impact on security. Third observation: governments have the annoying tendency to set at the agenda matters regarding civil protection only when catastrophic events occur. However, these “matters” always have major  importance.

According to the Centre of Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, there is a significant increase in the n umb e r o f catas t rophes throughout the world. Between 1994 and 2003, only for natural disasters, the average number of annual deaths was 58,000 while the number of persons who have suffered in one way or another from natural disaster is 255 million. Moreover, on average, the annual losses rise to $60 billion. In Quebec, the Ministry for Public Safety reported that since April 1st 2008, 350 events concerning civil protection occurred. It is estimated that annually, on average, two major disasters strike the province each week, i.e. when more than two ministries are implicated in its management.

The first difficulty that we need to  tackle is to strengthen the vocabulary. It is important to distinguish the words risk, disaster and crisis. If we are being prosaic, we can differentiate risk from disaster by considering that a risk is when there is a possibility that one or many may events occur and the possibility to anticipate the consequences of these events. Disaster refers to an event or many events and their real consequences. We usually separate the risks into four categories (which can also beapplied to disasters and crises). 


Natural risks.

This category include risks where human behaviour does not have an incidence. Thi s includes earthquakes and hurricanes, risks resulting from climate changes, and risks from space, such as asteroids.


Technological risks.

This category includes industrial  accidents, such as explosions; accidents in transport, such as plane crashes; accidents or breakdowns in enterprises, such as nuclear plants and oil tankers; major breakdonws of technologies, such as breakdowns of communication systems; and serious incidents related to biotechnologies.


Health hazards.

They are caused  by new diseases such as AIDS; outbreaks of once-thought-to-be eradicated diseases such as tuberculosis; by pandemic illnesses such as influenza, SARS and small pox; by drug resistance illnesses; and every other issues concerning public health.


Socio-political risks.

They are related directly to human  behaviour, such as war, violent demonstrations, terrorist acts, hostage taking, conscious deterioration of products, etc.

Why is risk so important today?  We can suggest two explanations. Firstly, as we underlined, some researchers consider that current society is characterized by risk. Indeed, the number of factors (persons, events, discoveries, etc) interacting is so high that inevitably accidents will occur. For example, taking a plane or driving a car is not without danger. There is always a risk in using these means of transportation and we consider – consciously or not – that the risk is present; there is a probability ofhaving an accident.

However, depending on the  consequences, some situations become disasters or sometimes even crisis, while others remain in the spectrum of the accidents or the normal situations of life. It is difficult to define exactly the characteristics explaining why a risk remains acceptable and the r easons which make it unacceptable in othe r circumstances. For example, for a long time, cyclists did not wear helmets. However today, the risk of injury is considered too high and the majority of cyclists wear helmets. The same logic applies to wearing seat belts in cars. If risk and disaster are closely associated, all risks do not lead to disasters; however, all disasters are associated with risks. The same applies to disasters and crisis, as we will see. The second explanation for the importance of risk today is the narrow link between all activities of society. In other words, the very nature of contemporary societies shows that interdependence exists between various components of a sector and between the various sectors. Thus, at the time of a major disaster, it is not only a component of a sector that is affected, but the whole sector as well as all the others sectors in relation with it. We call this situation the chain effect of a catastrophe. For example, during the 1998 ice-storm, the fall of pylons used for the transportation of electricity stopped the distribution of electricity. Without distribution of electricity, heating and lighting devices, water provision, computer systems, lights at intersections, banking systems and telecommunications, to name a few essential sectors, could not function anymore. Therefore, from a specific weather related event (ice-storm), two components of the hydro-electric sector (transportation and distribution) were affected. The result: an important number of both Canadian and U.S.citizens  were deprived of essential services on which their daily life rested.

We can divide disasters into two  types: major disaster and minor disaster. Taking, as a starting point, the definitions of the Ministry for Public Safety of Quebec, we can define major disasters as extraordinary events causing serious prejudice to the person and/or important damages to their property and require unusual measures from the affected community. In the majority of cases, the local authority is unable to manage the situation and the intervention of the national authority and/or, in some cases, the intervention of international partners is required. On the other hand, minor disasters are extraordinary events with possible consequences on the safety of a restricted number of people and/or their property. Most of the time, local authorities are able to face the situation by themselves.

After having identified the type of  disaster – major or minor – we can qualify it using the typology of risks. Thus, the flood of 1996 in Saguenay was a major natural disaster; the ice-storm of 1998, in spite of its natural component, is a major technological disaster; the attacks of September 2001 in the United States of America were major socio-political disasters; while the occurrence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Toronto in 2003, was a major health hazard disaster. The crisis of listeriosis linked to a Maple Leaf factory in Toronto and some cheese factories in Quebec can also included in this category.

The third important word to define  is, of course, crisis. According to Roux-Dufort, and which Lemieux summarized so well, “the crisis is a dynamic process which, in reaction to a trigger event, highlights an ensemble of nonf unct ional organisat ional processes and inadequacies in managerial practices (2007: 587)” (our translation). Thus, even if in all crises there is a major disaster, not all disasters lead to a crisis. As such, crises are extreme situations in which political institutions have difficulty in adequately facing the situation. Let’s take Hurricane Katrina to illustrate this matter. In this area of the United States hurricanes are not exceptional. Nevertheless, the ineptitude of political authorities to respond adequately made the situation tip over: from an emergency, the situation became a crisis. We can also notice, with this example, that crises situations are not unforeseeable.

As such, we can apprehend crises  from two interdependent angles. A crisis is link to particular circumstances, which we can call a trigger event, and to structural causes, vulnerablenesses or weaknesses. Both of these are present before the crisis. In other words, there is not a single cause to a crisis situation, but rather several causes interacting.

What we  should keep in mind, first of all, is that risk, as the stake of safety, is omnipresent in our societies . Secondly , we need to stop  studying the issue only from the perspective of terrorism. Other stakes, like socio-medical risks, deserve our attention. Thirdly, as underlined by the last report of the Senator ial Committee, the development of better collaboration between all the levels of government is imperative. However, this collaboration will only be possible through the development of a true culture of civil protection in which the expertise of provinces such as Quebec is not neglected. Indeed, during the repatriation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon in 2006, it was the Organization of Civil Protection of Quebec (Organisation de la sécurité civile du Québec – OSCQ) that, upon their arrival in Canada, dealt with their safe return. The role given to the OSCQ can be explained by the particular structure of civil protection in Quebec. We also need to understand that in this field of action, the role of the federal government is one of support to the provinces. Once again, if the financial resources are in Ottawa, the needs are in the provinces and the municipalities. It is of the utmost importance to find a framework flexible enough to allow all the parties involved to work efficiently for the wellbeing of all in the event of a disaster, major or not, and even more in the event of a crisis.



Charm and Repression

by Ralph Sawyer

Ralph Sawyer is an independent historical scholar, lecturer, radio commentator, and consultant to command colleges, think tanks, intelligence agencies and international conglomerates. He has specialized in Chinese military, technological, and intelligence issues for nearly four decades.

Now that the artificial frenzy of the Olympics has ended, attention can presumably be refocused on consequential affairs such as the recent Georgian incursion, coincidentally – but presumably not accidentally – initiated just prior to the opening ceremony. One subject not irrelevant to the question of China’s intentions in hosting the Beijing Olympics is the stifling effect that PRC soft power and its multipronged charm offensive have been exerting on European and North American discussion.

Those who were poised to find fault quickly castigated China for its “deviousness” in dubbing the opening singer’s voice, electronically enhancing fireworks displays that were visible only on television, and erecting traditional facades to wall off dilapidated storefronts. Although deceit and deception are core tenets of Chinese military and political science, these were trivial in themselves and more expressive of their determination to present a flawless spectacle consonant with the overwhelming expectations spawned by modern marketing than a fundamentally duplicitous mindset.

Nevertheless, the PRC’s oligarchs well understood the public relations value offered by the modern Olympics, an orgy of nationalistic sentiment that far surpasses the martial spirit of the original Greek games, contests that themselves emphasized citystate identity from inception even as they crowned the greatest individual participants. What could be more martial than having the participants march under national flags, uniforms emblazoned with country markings, constant emphasis upon medal standings, and bickering over whether “victory” is determined by the total number of medals or simply iridescent gold? (For the Olympics to be truly imbued with the frequently espoused “spirit of competition” it would seem that the summer games should be held in Athens, the winter in Norway or preferably Canada; permanent, low cost facilities would always be reused; and all the participants would wear identical clothes [rather than appear nude, as in ancient times, though some approach that now], and every form of national identification banned.)

Much has been made of China’s intent to employ the Olympics to impress the world at large, to announce their arrival as a powerful and sophisticated country deserving not just equal treatment, but respect and awe. In this regard, whether from the precision of the drummers at the opening ceremony; their singleminded determination to master the environment through weather rockets, displacement of the populace, diversion of electricity and water supplies vital to other areas, or imposition of economic hardship through mandated factory closings; or their draconian control of the media and movement, they perhaps succeeded too well. Instead of simply garnering applause and fostering admiration, their efforts have ironically prompted increased concern over the government’s totalitarian control and correlated ability to implement immense projects of enormous cost.

However, the real motivation and greater purpose was almost certainly unifying what the PRC’s rulers have frequently decried in key journals as their increasingly undisciplined, hedonistic people in an overwhelming swell of nationalistic sentiment. With the death of Communism and the unspoken (and rarely bemoaned) abandonment of the Party’s original egalitarian objectives, the current administration lacks any legitimacy beyond forcefully asserting that it is the unquestionable inheritor of the initial, revolutionarily imposed government. Its highly visible achievement in mounting the Olympics for the national good is therefore being cited as justifying not only the Party’s wisdom, capabilities, and vision, but also the roughshod handling and repression of many of its citizens, coincidentally damping hopes for liberalization and essential reforms.

Their spectacular success also provides further impetus to ongoing efforts to deliberately craft certain perceptions that can be profitably exploited. Primary among them are fostering the foregone conclusion that Taiwan will collapse as an independent entity; the PRC will soon achieve innovative and technical supremacy; the United States and Europe are relics, as sterile and decrepit as the Coliseum or Temple of Zeus; and China will inevitably regain its rightful, dominant position as the dynamic pole star. Participation in this new age will be reserved exclusively for China’ s friends; those who cling to ancient allegiances will be ostracized, diminished, or even destroyed, just as those who opt to conduct business with Taiwan are already shunned. In an “all or nothing” world obsessed with being number one this will relegate the United States to impotent non-existence.

Insofar as perception inevitably mangles reality, the PRC is taking advantage of its burgeoning economic power and the certainty of this emerging new order to cajole governments and manipulate assessments in the most astute nations. As revealed by numerous articles published in their theoretical journals, this perceptual shift is to be realized by implementing Sunzi’s behest to achieve victory without combat. Thus, a multi-pronged effort is being mounted that includes a media blitz (including frequent op-ed pieces by prominent friends in various foreign media); propaganda through the overseas academic circles it increasingly influences; confrontational legal measures such as suits for slander and defamation; multiplication of the highly visible, supposedly benign Confucian Institutes; and exploitation of the internet, including for what has been characterized as low level but pervasive cyber-warfare.

The apparently unanticipated worldwide protests prompted by the conspicuous progress of the Olympic flame, including in Tibet where still imperfectly reported measures of brutal repression were quickly implemented, must have initially caused consternation for China’s leaders. However, they also provoked a vehement response among Chinese nationals who perceived the demonstrations as an insult rather than a critique of their autocratic government and therefore had the unexpected effect of solidifying the people behind the authorities just as prescribed in the Art of War. Even though Tibetans are ethnically, religiously, and cultural different, for decades the PRC populace have been persuaded that Tibet is inherently part of China and its conquest a purely internal matter so their response was no doubt pre-scripted in a fundamentally subconscious way. However, the apparently less than spontaneous emotional actions of Chinese nationals in overseas countries, resulting in clashes with protestors as they arrogantly abrogated to themselves the function of security personnel, raises serious questions.

By any realistic humanitarian or righteous standard,the brutal conquest of Tibet should have provoked international outrage at the time of its first commission in 1951 and continued vilification for the policies of cultural and racial genocide, not to mention repression and degradation, reportedly conducted throughout the years of continued subjugation. The minor tremor at Tiananmen some twenty years ago, a purely internal issue of little consequence within the context of the Cultural Revolution and other government mandated “rectifications” that saw millions suffer and perish, paradoxically stirred worldwide outcry, an ongoing ban on weapons sales, and other reverberations for years (erroneous claims that it represented the crushing of an incipient democracy movement provided much of the necessary impetus).

Yet Tibet, as if through the conspiracy of a worldwide officialdom little inclined to perturb itself about such a physically forbidding state and visibly archaic culture, has not only fallen below the horizon of non-issues, but even incurs quick expressions of disapproval when raised in any context or conference. Only the miscalculation of the PRC oligarchs in overlooking the possibility that blatantly parading the torch around the world (rather than simply running it up from Athens into Beijing) would provoke surprisingly volatile external protests revitalized the issue unt compassion for the earthquake victims again relegated it to the status of an unmentionable.

The PRC has also proven highly successful in persuading academics and high ranking North American and European military officers that Tibet’s occupation merely constitutes an “unavoidable” preemptive action designed to preserve territorial integrity. Their stance conveniently precludes any examination of the purported justifications for regarding Tibet as their native dominion because there is no historical claim or rationalization, only a few assertions about late Qing dynasty interventions that can be countered by potential Tibetan claims for possession of significant areas of Western China (PRC occupation of Tibet as a defensive pre-emptive may be likened to the United States occupying Mexico to preclude imagined actions by Chavez or, from the Canadian perspective, U.S. plans to invade British Columbia early in World War II to thwart a feared West Coast Japanese invasion through inadequately defended terrain).

PRC assertions to be merely ensuring its territorial integrity, designed to persuade the world that it has no external ambitions and thus mitigate suspicion and antagonism, should actually prompt questions about the outlines and extent of their envisioned domain. However, despite lurking trepidation, lured by the hope of peaceful coexistence (or commercial opportunities), few of the world’s citizens wish to perturb themselves with efforts that will only be rebuffed (Could constant clamoring for greater “transparency” be more absurd?). Claims to frighteningly vast swatches of contiguous terrain repeatedly appear on PLA websites and in contemporary PRC political and historical journals, and it has long been rumored that a map formerly kept in Mao’s office included not only the entire realm at its greatest extent in the Han and Tang (rather than simply the Ming, the current proclaimed model), but most of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, and Laos, as well as Korea and parts of Russia. As a classic Chinese military writing advises, the words – “territorial integrity” and “peaceful coexistence” – may be the same, but the understanding far different.

Tibet’s subjugation is not the only aggressive military action undertaken by “New China” (as the PRC prefers to style itself) even though its leadership has long vociferously proclaimed that neither it nor any historic embodiment over the previous 3500 years ever mounted such campaigns. In 1962 Chinese forces mounted a surprise incursion into India, defeating Indian border forces and seizing extensive terrain that is still retained. And 1979 saw the Vietnam debacle (which the PRC views as a successful castigation) in which massive PRC forces penetrated the border area before being repelled with heavy casualties.

Moreover, contrary to their highly publicized, frequently repeated assertions, China’s own historical records (which actually tend to de-emphasize military activities while extolling the radiant power of Virtue) record numerous instances of conquest oriented aggressive activities. Inscriptions that date to approximately 1200 BCE clearly show that the first historically known dynasty, the Shang, frequently undertook expeditionary campaigns to enslave and annihilate various contiguous peoples. The Qin, so vividly symbolized by its hordes of terra cotta tomb soldiers, mounted massive invasions of much of the south, including the area of North Vietnam. A hundred years later at the end of the second century BCE the Great Han Martial Emperor initiated no less than eleven aggressive operations entailing upwards of 200,000 troops designed to sweep the steppe and Central Asia clear of “barbarian” entities, inflicting heavy casualties and exterminating several protostates.

Centuries later the Sui and Tang dynasties mounted several massive efforts against the indigenous states located on the Korean peninsula with as many as 500,000 men that eventually achieved their conquest objectives and scored a collateral naval victory over a Japanese fleet. And the Ming, famous for the visible remnants of its complex defensive system, the Great Wall, only resorted to static defensive initiatives when the last of three campaigns designed to subjugate the steppe and integrate it within the greater administrative realm resulted in the debacle at Tumu in 1449 at which 100,000 or more Ming troops perished and the emperor himself was captured. Taiwan is also slipping into the status of a proclaimed non-issue (the fundamental problem derives from the KMT administration in Taiwan, a government in exile that continued to claim legitimate representation for all the citizens and terrain of China, having always insisted that China was a single entity, whereas an early declaration of abandonment and complete independence in the 1950s or 1960s might – but only might – have garnered greater international recognition. Since the recent Russian penchant for supporting the independence of small enclaves has caused considerable consternation in China, perhaps Taiwan should seek their support and further roil the waters?). Just as with Tibet, the world ardently hopes this issue will simply evaporate and would no doubt rejoice if an earthquake should suddenly sunder the island, causing it to sink beneath the sea. Otherwise, it will certainly acquiesce in Taiwan’s subjugation if it is achieved, as is likely, through subversion or possibly a relatively bloodless invasion, and even U.S. military planners have long been pondering the perturbing strategic implications of post collapse scenarios.

The PRC effectively manipulated the pre-Olympic euphoria through a campaign that systematically exploited naïve hopes for peace and accommodation to dissuade the United States from actions that it regarded as inimical to its interests. First and foremost was the muting of any criticism of human rights and other issues prior to the Olympics, next any official recognition of Taiwan in the form of announcements or actions, and finally the sale of weapons to Taiwan which, although mandated by an act of Congress, have now been indefinitely postponed and even removed from consideration according to Pentagon spokesmen (despite the recent release of a long pending Boeing missile contract).

President Bush’s somewhat anomalous verbal attack, delivered immediately prior to the Olympics in Thailand, appears to have been unexpected but well may have been a pre-scripted arrangement. However, ignoring assertions by Taiwan’s new president that only strength will preserve them, the unexpected Taiwan hiatus is being justified in the U.S. as appropriate in the context of improving PRC/ Taiwan relations. Moreover, for years the U.S. has been trying to dissuade Taiwan from continuing the relatively successful development and deployment of LACMs (land attack cruise missiles) with sufficient range to strike Shanghai and other sensitive Mainland targets, and any other “offensive” weapons to avoid upsetting the PRC whose ongoing increase in the number of missiles targeting Taiwan draws only silence.

Unwaveringly committed to charting its own course, the PRC regards the current penchant with somehow transforming China into a “responsible stakeholder” and “equal citizen of the world” as not only laughable but also another factor that can be exploited. Rather than directly confronting positions it finds offensive, it manipulates this burgeoning sentiment to encourage the indigenous populace, foreign media, and even government spokesmen to suppress criticism and block negative actions. Thus, whenever the PRC is in danger of being castigated for some reprehensible act, a chorus of voices – whether motivated by true belief, self-interest, or acting at the behest of the PRC is immaterial, but likely all three – immediately rises to dissuade or suppress it on the grounds that it will provoke a negative reaction, antagonize the Chinese people, deter the PRC from participating in world affairs, or thwart further progress.

While one might decry Sharon Stone’s insensitivity in the light of Sichuan’s devastation, the vehement reaction to her remarks about the earthquake being a punishment visited upon China for the misdeeds of their government betrays the PRC’s invidious ability to mobilize supposedly impromptu public sentiment. The free expression of opinion, whether by native born citizens or immigrants, should never be contravened and certainly there may have been cause for consternation among immigrants of Chinese origin. However, reportedly in Canada and the U.S. many of these protesters were transient Chinese nationals rather than immigrants though it would seem that anyone who supposedly abandoned their allegiance to China in emigrating to a foreign country should fully embrace the rights and philosophy of their new land. Yet the intensity of the supposedly “spontaneous” response both within and without China compelled her, albeit perhaps for commercial reasons, to retract her statement and issue an apology just as CNN eventually did under overwhelming pressure for its newscaster’s condemnation of PRC officials.

Ironically, for two thousand years the Chinese populace has believed that the frequency and extent of natural disasters reflects Heaven’s dissatisfaction with the government. Numerous horrific events preceded the populist revolutions through which the interminably suffering but highly volatile people twenty-five times overthrew the ruling house and established a new, equally abusive dynasty. Many inhabitants within China had been expressing similar thoughts, though not very openly for fear of vanishing into the shadows. Sharon Stone’s comments were condemned but public sentiment, once enraged, could easily have shifted toward the government, particularly given the people’s dissatisfaction with the government’s initial response to the crisis and widespread reports of corruption in public construction practices.

For some years it has been claimed that a “fear of offending” or “demonizing” China coupled with pressures from Congress, the State Department (whom some refer to as a Ministry of the PRC), and business interests was causing Defense Department estimates of PRC military power to be substantially reduced and assessments of the threat posed to be minimized. This mitigation, accomplished by lowering assessments and consigning significant developments to footnotes, should not have been unexpected due to the dominance of the “benign” China view among high intelligence officials and the heritage of the Clinton administration’s declaration that China was not just a friend but a strategic ally (Shouldn’t someone have asked, “ally against whom, the Martians ?”). However, Washington reaction to Michael Pillsbury’s Congressional testimony in January of 2007 on the PRC’s successful destruction of an orbiting satellite (even as China’s minions scurried to minimalize the importance of the ASAT test through contextual shifting and similar techniques) reflects what might be termed a conspiracy of marginalization.

Although Dr. Pillsbury cited definitive evidence from PRC theoretical journals that have been strongly asserting a need for China to develop the weapons necessary to dominate space, the next battle frontier, rather then stimulating discussion about the implications, his presentation was dismissed by numerous experts and even official defense spokesmen the very next day as not necessarily expressive of actual Chinese views. If Dr. Pillsbury had been an ordinary defense analyst the question of probable veracity could well be raised. However, among PRC experts he is uniquely qualified not just by his lengthy official career and expertise, but also personal acquaintance with many of the progenitors for these views.

Two other examples, among many, spanning the gamut of importance might be cited. The first was the potential Olympics soccer scandal that arose when the Danish women’s team discovered they were being surreptitiously recorded through a two way mirror during a strategy meeting in their hotel room earlier in the year. Not surprisingly, despite vociferous Danish complaints neither PRC authorities nor the Olympic Committee was willing to undertake an investigation and Danish officials claim that they were pressured to forego further mention of the incident.

The second, of far greater import, was the clandestine penetration of the office computers of at least two U.S. representatives earlier this year from PRC servers and thus presumably by PRC cyber-warfare specialists. Rather than causing outrage, demands for an immediate investigation, official protests, and clamor for strengthened U.S. cyber capabilities, the two were reportedly pressured by their colleagues and others in Washington to remain silent in the interests of PRC-American friendship and the viability of future relations. In other words, anyone willing to confront evil is now cast as a provocateur and warmonger. Victims are blamed and perpetrators pardoned for simply acting in accord with their nature and normal expectations.

These developments are in many ways reminiscent of pre World War II attitudes toward those courageous individuals in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and other places who, in resisting Nazi aggression, were castigated for perturbing the world by not recognizing historical inevitability and acceding to Hitler’s demands. Even Hollywood found itself unable to raise the specter of dire Continental events without provoking violent German-American demonstrations at movie theaters that attempted to show “controversial” films and therefore largely abandoned German themes (despite the appeal of the Leslie Howard film Pimpernel Smith).

Certain similarities are visible in the contemporary media, with internationally controlled publications generally eschewing critical reportage and local papers reportedly shunning potentially controversial stories (In contrast, it should be noted that the Canadian press has distinguished itself in reporting apparently officially backed efforts of pro-PRC student organizations to eliminate all vestiges of their Taiwan counterparts and various nationwide spying efforts). It has been repeatedly asserted that incidents of apparent PRC instigated thuggery perpetrated against Falun Gong writers in the U.S. have been virtually ignored and investigating police agencies have supposedly avoided identifying the attackers as enemy agents despite clear evidence that the destruction targeted writers and materials critical of the PRC and at least one victim advised that his assailants explicitly said the attacks were reprisals.

Fear of offending China, already widespread for economic reasons, can only become ubiquitous as more companies and resources are sold to China and the employees become overly sensitive to negative statements and behavior. Insofar as trends and events in the world seem to be unfolding just as China desires, including U.S. alienation of its allies and the exhaustion of its military forces in ways that the PRC could never have imagined in its most secret strategic think-tanks, a more sanguine leadership envisions the collapse of U.S. hegemony and a gradual but assured rise to international dominance without the necessity for bluster and heavy-handedness assuming major debacles can be avoided. This doesn’t preclude internal factions from calling for a more aggressive international stance and demanding the respect supposedly due to it but, in consonance with its victimization complex, seen as unlikely to be forthcoming because of the perceived ongoing conspiracy to deny China its rightful place in the world.

In this light it can only be concluded that the PRC’s programs to estrange the world, and especially Mexico and Canada because of their natural resources and geographic position, from the U.S. are succeeding beyond all expectations. The highly successful, self-imposed suppression of free expression within foreign countries, while only a first step, underpins their policies to form a new consensus and achieve the hegemony they perceive essential to the definitive battle for scarce natural resources and political space.



Measuring the Comprehensive Approach to Peace Operations

by Sarah Meharg
Sarah Meharg is an inter-disciplinary academic who bridges the security and defence, humanitarian,  governmental, and private sectors through her research. Dr. Meharg is currently seconded to the U.S. Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, U.S. Amry War College.

In 2005, I was contracted by the Canadian Forces Joint Operations Group (CF JOG)  to develop a “measures of effectiveness” system for the Canadian provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) conducting reconstruction activities in Afghanistan. The focus of the project was to develop a progress measurement framework for the 3D approach to reconstruction operations. The project was to include a network-centric, command and control system with effects-based operations logic applicable to reconstruction effort.

During this process, my research suggested that cause and effect relationships that were intended to change attitudes and behaviours in war-affected peoples were virtually impossible to prove due to myriad factors that arise in the aftermath of violent conflicts, including continued hostilities, political upheaval, ethnic divisions, and mass exploitation. In other words, it is difficult to attribute a cultural change to a specific intervention activity. Many countries and military forces have a tendency to claim early success in peace operations activities only to be “found out” later by external evaluators. Countries like the U.S. have been placed in compromising positions where they were forced to retract early claims of success and admit multiple wide spread failures. These interesting findings suggested that measuring progress, especially related to behavioural and attitudinal changes in war-affected peoples, was a complex task.

The 2005 project netted two results: a) a high-tech framework for measuring behavioural and attitudinal shifts  in war-affected people, and b) a process by which stakeholders involved in the then-emerging 3D approach to Canadian operations in Afghanistan could measure the impact of their comprehensive activities.

Since 2005, measuring the effectiveness of peace operations has been a high priority issue within the international community. According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (Washington D.C.), reconstruction theory and practice have advanced considerably over the last few years, yet the international community still lacks progressive, pragmatic, and reliable models for measuring progress of their activities in post conflict environments. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) argues that there is no way of identifying success in moving towards post-conflict goals using current systems for tracking project performance. RAND suggests that even though many of the reconstruction missions involve several of the same actors, it is difficult to find consistent and comprehensive data on all but the dominant activities, such as reconciliation or national army training projects. Most data sets are incompatible and do not lend themselves to comparative analyses or accurately assess progress in the majority of activities in war-affected environments. Current attempts to quantify outcomes of complex cultural processes make it impossible to provide a firm conclusion of progress.

In September, 2007, Canada’s General Ray Henault hosted the NATO Military Committee Conference, which  provided an opportunity to exchange ideas on sustaining and improving NATO’s high readiness forces, as well as developing better criteria to measure progress and effectiveness for operations, including Afghanistan. In October that same year, Canada’s Defence Minister Peter McKay, announced that Canada’s commitment to NATO required the development of better criteria to measure progress and effectiveness for operations, especially in Afghanistan. Echoed in the Government of Canada’s ‘Manley Report’ on Afghanistan (2008), it was suggested that to achieve success in theatre, the Canadian government needed to elevate co-ordination in Ottawa among Canadian departments and agencies engaged in Afghanistan for better efficiency and effectiveness. In February 2008 the appointment of Canadian commander, Major General Marc Lessard, to NATOs RC-S in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was announced. Lessard suggested that his priorities would be coordinating – or harmonizing – operational aspects of governance and development within the overall security framework. Quickly following Lessard’s statement, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer suggested that continued discussions must be had on the effectiveness of the International Security Assistance Force operation in Afghanistan and what is needed to achieve success for NATO and the international community as a whole.

In response to these concerns, the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre had the foresight to implement a research  project on measuring the effectiveness of peace operations and crisis management. I am in the process of leading this multi-phased integrated research initiative, which has led me to interview over 80 key elites in 9 countries during the past year. Participants involved in measuring progress and success from various peace operations sectors, including defence and security, humanitarians, war-affected locals, government representatives, the private sector, think tanks, civilian police, and academics, were a part of the process. The results of the primary research will be published by Canada’s McGill-Queen’s University Press through the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University in the book Measuring What Matters in Peace Operations and Crisis Management (April 2009).

Research has shown that there remains great emphasis on accurately measuring the efficacy of the activities  that constitute peace operations, especially those implemented through the comprehensive approach within the international community of stakeholders. The international community’s ability to contribute to tenable peace around the world is linked to an ability to accurately assess progress related to comprehensive efforts. Systematic and regular, shared analysis of intervention activities could inform a common strategy to ensure that the underlying causes of conflict are addressed by correctly assessing attitudinal and behavioural changes in war-affected populations. The results of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre’s primary research will be a Canadian contribution to international efforts to measure what matters in comprehensive peace operations and crisis management.

The international community’s ability to contribute to tenable peace around the world depends on an ability to  work within a common trade space of comprehensive norms, standards, and codes – to do the ‘right’ activities, at the ‘right’ times, in the ‘right’ ways, using the ‘right’ means – and to accurately assess comprehensive progress, for those that conduct and fund peace operations, and also for those affected by interventions long after we have moved on to other theatres.


About Our Organization

Institute Profile
CDFAI is a research institute pursuing authoritative research and new ideas aimed at ensuring Canada has a respected and influential voice in the international arena.

CDFAI is a charitable organization, founded in 2001, and based in Calgary. CDFAI develops and disseminates materials and carries out activities to promote understanding by the Canadian public of national defence and foreign affairs issues. CDFAI is developing a body of knowledge can be used for Canadian policy development, media analysis and educational support. The Fellows program, a group of highly experienced and talented individuals, support CDFAI by authoring research papers and essays, responding to media queries, running conferences, initiating polling, and developing outreach and education projects.

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CDFAI was created to address the ongoing discrepancy between what Canadians need to know about Canadian foreign and defence policy and what they do know. Historically, Canadians tend to think of foreign policy - if they think of it at all - as a matter of trade and markets. They are unaware of the importance of Canada engaging diplomatically, militarily, and with international aid in the ongoing struggle to maintain a world that is friendly to the legitimate free flow of goods, services, people and ideas across borders and the promotion of human rights. They are largely unaware of

the connection between a prosperous and free Canada and a world of globalization and liberal internationalism. CDFAI is dedicated to education Canadians, and particularly those who play leadership roles in shaping Canadian international policy, to the importance of Canada playing an active and ongoing role in world affairs, with tangible diplomatic, military and aid assets.



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