Canada's obligation to Afghanistan

Obligation_to_Afghanistan_Montages.jpg

OP-ED

by Hugh Segal

The Kingston Whig
August 24, 2017

One of the challenges facing modern policing is what to do about high-crime neighbourhoods. The honest and law-abiding folks in the neighbourhood deserve the protection of regular police presence. Continued crime in the area, even casualties for the police themselves in the performance of their duties are no rationale to withdraw.

The United States has had 28,000 troops in the Korean peninsula on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone — and for good reason. Their presence has allowed a democratic South Korea to grow, flourish and build a productive and modern democracy, one of the main economic powers in the world.

Afghanistan is a difficult neighbourhood. Terrorist groups, often armed (irony of ironies, by the Russians, in the case of the Taliban), seek the destabilization and end of the democratic government, however imperfect in Kabul. Some warlords continue their operations with impunity. Since the main combat period ended, economic growth, children in school, health service access, even cellphone use, has grown admirably.

Bordering countries like Pakistan have often managed internal pressures by looking the other way when Pakistani territory is used by terrorist groups for deployments into Afghanistan. Iran’s record is in no way seriously better. In fact, their sponsorship of an Iranian Taliban is public record. Withdrawal, or maintenance of a diminished presence status quo is simply license for the forces of darkness. Russian President Vladimir Putin will use any geographic target to weaken stability and hurt the liberal-democratic western approach to global economic and social development. While China’s perspective is more about the Asian-Pacific region, and is more about staying dominant in that region than destabilizing others, it cannot be counted upon in this fight. Non-democracies are always comfortable when the democratic world view is under siege anywhere in the world.

A multinational renewed and energized presence in Afghanistan is both called for and necessary. Canada, India, Japan, South Korea, NATO-Europe should all engage and plan to deploy.

Whatever else is on this fall’s parliamentary schedule, a fulsome debate in Parliament and a firm government proposal for that debate is necessary.

Key foreign policy principles are at stake here.

Prime ministers from Louis St. Laurent through to Justin Trudeau have spoken eloquently about Canada’s global obligations. Mr. Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have spoken about Canada being back in the world, and the mix of soft and hard power required to do our part.

The recommitted U.S. stance on Afghanistan is important. Canada has the experience and capacity to do its share with both combat and diplomatic forces.

As we all learned on 9/11, looking away does not make a growing threat disappear.

Hugh Segal is Master of Massey College,a Distinguished Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and the Queen’s School of Policy Studies, He is a former chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Image credits: Rahmat Gul/The Associated Press

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
SEARCH
PODCAST

Evaluating the 2018 U.S. Midterms with Sarah Goldfeder & Laura Dawson

November 12, 2018

On today's Global Exchange Podcast, CGAI Vice President Colin Robertson sits down with CGAI Fellow Sarah Goldfeder and CGAI Advisory Council Member Laura Dawson to discuss last week's midterm election in the United States. Join Colin, Laura, and Sarah as they debate the implications of the 2018 U.S. midterm on the agenda of Donald Trump, the effect a Democratic House of Representatives will have on Canada, as well as what the election means for bilateral relations moving forward.



EXPERTS IN THE MEDIA

Pence announces US-ASEAN ‘Smart Cities Partnership’

by Patsy Widakuswara (feat. Stephen Nagy), VOA News, November 15, 2018

Canada’s Latin American trade complications

by Chuck Chiang (feat. Colin Robertson), Business in Vancouver, November 14, 2018


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 4K9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: contact@cgai.ca
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2018 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email