Denounce the ‘new’ defence policy

By TONY SEED

Trudeau’s Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan, released Canada’s “new” defence policy today. Here are the highlights:

  • A 70 per cent increase in defence spending over the next 10 years;
  • A staggering 62 billion dollar increase over the next 20 years;
  • An increase in the number of fighter jets to be purchased from 65 (under Harper) to 88;
  • An increase in personnel in both the regular and reserve forces;
  • The acquisition of armed combat drones, the deadly hallmark of the Obama war doctrine and whose target is the peoples of this country and abroad, suitable of being “capable of conducting surveillance and precision strikes”;
  • The creation of 120 new military intelligence positions and 180 new civilian intelligence positions, as well as building a “Canadian Forces Intelligence Command” capacity. It specializes Canada’s armed forces in black ops and cyber-warfare, whose target is likewise the peoples of this country and abroad. It prioritizes “the expansion of CAF Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (JISR) capabilities, while enhancing intelligence collection, analysis and fusion capabilities, and supporting and leveraging the expertise of Canada’s defence and security academic community”; and
  • Expansion of the militarization of universities and research; $313 million is allocated for military research for the arms monopolies and $102 million for university and private sector outreach, i.e., recruiting and propaganda.

The Canadian people and their interests for peace and friendship amongst peoples and their demands for a pro-social program play no part except as cannon fodder in the U.S-led wars of aggression and to foot the bill.

The announcement of the so-called “Strong, Secure, Engaged” defence plan was preceded by fraudulent “Defence Review” consultations in which military and American agencies and stupendously rich arms monopolies were given pride of place. A concrete example of this is that both the U.S. State Department and the Washington-based Halifax International Security Forum were awarded “stakeholder” status in the Canadian review. [1] Further, the “consultation” in Toronto for example was held in an isolated hall owned by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and packed with supporters of the U.S. installed coup regime in Kiev.

The Trudeau Liberals did not campaign on, and have no mandate for, significant increases in the defence budget. In fact, they gave the impression in the 2015 federal election that they would cut back Canada’s military involvement in Syria and Iraq, which has instead been expanded, as have arms sales to feudal Middle East regimes. There has been no basic change in the international security environment since their election to justify such astronomical increases in the military budget, apart from the election of Donald Trump as the U.S. war president and the deepening of the inter-imperialist crisis in their rivalry on all fronts from the Americas to Asia for domination.

To suggest publicly that “there are positive elements of the new policy – particularly Canada’s engagement in support of UN peace operations” is conciliation and prostration politically and quite wretched and impoverished thinking to boot. It aims to perpetuate the myth of Canada as a great “peacekeeper” and reclaim this image for the Liberal Party today. Peacekeeping is the liberal fig leaf for “humanitarian” intervention abroad, whether under the aegis of the UN or mounted directly by the U.S., as in Iraq and Syria, or under the command of the U.S.-led NATO bloc, as in Yugoslavia, Libya and Afghanistan. There is nothing “positive” about this warmongering programme. Trudeau’s “internationalism” is of the same character. The bourgeoisie in Canada identifies the pursuit of its own interests with the interests of U.S. imperialism and the Trudeau Liberals “new” defence policy is a clear indication of this.

The U.S. regime had already been provided with Canada’s new policy, according to unnamed Canadian officials. On May 15, after announcing a delay, Sajjan and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland flew to Washington, DC for meetings with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Yet Freeland is demagogically trying to frame the policy as being “independent” by a government which is not “a client state,” as she did in her speech in the House of Commons yesterday justifying the necessity for “hard power” for Canada to have influence in the world. “To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state,” she said. “Such a dependence would not be in Canada’s interest.” [2]

During the Defence Policy Review’s consultation phase, the issues of Canada’s membership in NATO and NORAD, both controlled by the United States, were not up for review despite these being fundamental to Canada’s foreign and military policy and the role it plays in international affairs. It focused on whether the military is “properly” equipped, not its aim.

In this it followed the pattern established by the Chrétien Liberals in 1994/95, when they conducted a review of defence policy but did not question Canada’s membership in NATO and NORAD. Since then, subsequent governments have all been war governments that have systematically placed Canada’s military under the direct control of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies and U.S. war aims.

Get Canada Out of NATO!

Dismantle NATO and NORAD!

Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

Note

1. On April 22, 2017 Freeland flew to Sedona, Arizona where she introduced a panel entitled “Victims of Putin’s Aggression” at an event hosted by the pro-war McCain Institute for International Leadership located in Washington, D.C., and Sedona, Arizona and named after John McCain, head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Since November 2014, David J. Kramer has been its senior director for Human Rights and Freedom and at the same time secretary of the board of directors of the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF), funded by the Canadian Department of Defence although it is headquartered in Washington. Kramer, a high-ranking official in Bush’s State Department responsible for Eastern Europe, was for four years president of Freedom House, funded 66 per cent by the U.S. State Dept. and grants from the Harper government’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Trudeau Liberals accorded the HISF “stakeholder” status in the Defence Review process.

Since the launching of the HISF in 2009, Sen. McCain has annually led a U.S. Congressional delegation to Halifax, where he has delivered the inaugural speech. See Tony Seed, “Harper government’s subservience to Senator McCain and US interests (1),” November 17, 2014.

2. Hard power is seemingly counterposed to soft power, which its theorist Joseph Nye defined in 2004 as “the ability to influence others by attraction rather than coercion or retribution.” Both serve strategic objectives, with soft power being a subordinate agenda, the velvet glove for the mailed fist. (Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, New York: PublicAffairs, 2004.) It is rooted in the concept of public diplomacy that was popularized in the early 1960s by Edward R. Murrow, Director of the United States Information Agency, which coordinated the cultural diplomacy of the United States and its Voice of America radio along a fiercely anti-communist line. The US State Department then wanted to suggest it was free from the notion of propaganda, associated with totalitarianism, to disguise this facet of its foreign policy. The notion of public diplomacy resurfaced in the 21st century, following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, with the aim of the Bush administration to regain “hearts and minds” in a world increasingly hostile to the United States. Defence Secretary Robert Rumsfeld stressed that it would be “fought with all the instruments of the Cold War.” In the range of diplomatic tools, the Obama State Department choose to revalue the international media and increased its support to non-governmental organizations (at least those whose activities are compatible with its policy) and to proxy political and military forces (see Obama Doctrine in tags).


First posted on Facebook and revised for posting on this blog. With files from ceasefire.ca and TML Weekly.

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