Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blogging Drive By

I have been off my game blogging-wise the past few days.  Between the rigors of Twitter Fight Club (vote for me!), preparing for the ISA (including arranging some ultimate!), and the details of selling/buying houses and getting movers arranged, the blogging been a lower priority.  So, just some quick hit and runs:
  • I had a column at The Canadian International Council that applies what I learned about NATO to its new plan for Smart Defense.  The post basically argues that Canada should be wary about Smart Defense as a key part of it is coordinating defense planning where NATO countries each specialize, relying on other countries to provide capabilities that one does not develop oneself.  This would economize certainly as duplication is reduced.  BUT it would mean that on the battlefield, when you need a critical niche filled that you don't have, you better hope that the allies show up.  Lesson of Bosnia/Kosovo/Afghanistan/Libya (and other multilateral interventions) is that allies are, dare I say it?, unreliable.  
    • Phil Lagasse pushed me on this: Canada always partners, so what am I suggesting?  I am suggesting that Canada know that specialization means risk, and that risks need to be managed not avoided and not ignored.  So, Canada should only deploy in a multinational effort if the most reliable folks are involved or if less help is needed.  So, Libya made sense since Canada acted after the air defenses were already brought down, more or less, and Canada brought its own refueling planes.  This is very different from going to Kandahar with no helicopters and hoping to catch heaps of rides.
    • The real implication of this is the same one I have been harp(er)ing on for years: Canada can afford maybe two modern branches of their military, not three.  So, pick two and fund them well so there is less dependence (not complete independence, of course).
  • A survey written by, well, protagonists is being used by Quebec nationalists to say that there is a problem that only independence can solve. A pretty crap-tastic survey.  Anyhow, the QC nationalists are like Republicans and taxes.  For American conservatives these days, the best solution to any problem is a tax cut: recession? cut taxes! too much money going into the government?  cut taxes!  The month ends in a y?  cut taxes!  It does not end in a y?  Cut taxes.  Anyhow, now that Marois has been her party into submission, folks are continuing to be sick of Charest and the provincial Liberals, Legault's new party is not as desirable now that it has actually come into existence and started taking stands, it looks like the PQ might do well in the next election.  I doubt that it will be very soon, and I am hoping to get out of this province before it happens.
  • The New Democratic Party has a new leader, Thomas Mulcair.  When I was researching the NATO and Afghanistan book (next final deadline--next month), I came across a series of left-wing parties in Europe that realized that to be taken seriously, they had to ditch knee-jerk very left stances on things like NATO and even the US.  Mulcair and the NDP do not seem to think that they need to modernize their foreign policy stances and move to the center.  Nope, as this post at CIC indicates, emphasizing anti-Americanism and even relying on advisers who recommend a Canadian-Russian entente to deal with the American threat to the Arctic, the new NDP leader does not seem to think that foreign policy moderation might affect electability.
    • I just don't understand how standing with Putin against the US is an attractive policy to anyway.  Yes, the US is closer, and there is a bit of friction over a variety of issues.  But there is far more cooperation and mutual benefit that gets taken for granted.  And heaps of interdependence.  
    • Also, last time I checked, Putin is just a bit further to the right than Obama.  
    • So, if foreign policy matters at all, and it may not, the NDP may be choosing to stay out of power for the medium term.  Very nice of them to give the Liberals some breathing space and room to take back the folks who are centrists and slightly left of center.  

1 comment:

J.Collins said...

It is also a bit sweet of the NDP to be so stringent on taking a stand against human rights abuses (i.e. Omar Khadr) while simultaneously arguing for a close alliance-like relationship with Russia!