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Sécurité

Thank you for participating in the Dialogue on Foreign Policy. The interactive web site is now closed. The Minister's report will appear on this web site once it is released.

Ce forum est bilingue, et les participants peuvent rédiger leurs commentaires dans la langue de leur choix.

Future of our Security

Participant: sheldong

Date: 2003-03-04 12:05:34


There are several different aspects of a nations security that need to considered. Military size and strength is a very obvious aspect. Of course intelligence gathering and analysis goes hand in hand with the military, and is really just another facet of the military. Itís just that when people think military strength they think of the number of gun toting soldiers, tanks or submarines. All of these things are useless though if a country cannot fight and win an information war.

As our methods of information exchange continue to increase in importance and complexity so does the concept of information warfare. It has always been a key part of any war. At one point in time though intercepting messages sent from the front lines back involved capturing or killing messengers sent on horse. Things have become exceedingly more complicated these days. A major turning point in information warfare surely was the Second World War. It was clear very early in the war that it would be won by whichever side had the best technology. So there was a rush to invent bigger and better war machines. The Germans developed rockets, jet aircraft, not to mention nerve gas. While the Allies put much effort into the Manhattan Project, which gave us nuclear weapons.

Although the dropping of the nuclear bombs was responsible for ending the war I think that the operations of Bletchley Park were responsible for the Allied victory. This was the center for Allied code breaking. It was here that Allied cryptanalysts, with Alan Turing in the forefront broke the famous Enigma code. This allowed the Allies to understand intercepted German messages and was particularly key to the naval side of the war. By breaking Enigma the Allies were able to pinpoint locations of German U-Boats, which in turn allowed more Allied convoys to safely reach their destinations, providing troops with much needed supplies.

From this I think that it is clear to see the importance to keep the edge in information warfare. Knowledge truly is power. Therefore I believe that it makes sense for our government to increase its efforts in this area. The creation of the Internet has opened new possibilities to information warfare. People depend very heavily on the Internet now. Just how much everything does hinge on the web can be seen by the fuss that a well-designed virus can cause.

Though a virus as we currently think of it cannot be the only possiblity of information warfare on the Net. It would be prudent to explore these other possibilities. For example there are several cryptographic engines that exist today that are essentially deemed unbreakable. If this is true then when the next war breaks out then nobody will be able to intercept any enemy messages. That will be a first in the history of mankind I think, that is if these codes are unbreakable. I am positive that the Germans believed that Enigma was unbreakable; otherwise they wouldnít have continued to use it. So that is what we must be prepared to do, break the unbreakable. This is no easy task to be sure, and the bottom line is that this will require funding.

So I think that it is clear why it is important to invest in information warfare. Knowledge is power as I mentioned. However if you think of this knowledge as the head, then you still need an arm or leg, sometimes a fist and foot as well to carry out what this knowledge tells you must be done. The information obtained through Bletchley Park would have been essentially useless if the Allies didnít have the troops and the equipment to make it matter. Once the position of a German U-Boat was obtained then you still needed someone to fly a plane, or steer a boat out there and blow it to bits.

I know that Canada is a peace loving country, but I also know that as long as mankind has existed there has been war. While global peace remains a beautiful dream, it appears to be a dream that will not be realized any time soon. Therefore we must be ready at all times for the possibility of war. Remain prepared to do whatever is necessary for us to survive.

Currently Canadaís military consists of a total of 56, 800 active personnel. This may seem like a reasonably large number, until it is compared with other countries of the world. For example the Chinese military has 2,310,000 active personnel, the U.S. military has 1,365,800 active personnel, India has 1,263,000 active personnel, the North Korean military has 1,082,000 active personnel, and Russia has 977,000 active personnel.

Central to Canadaís security agenda are military forces capable of defending our country and supporting our foreign policy abroad. So the question must be asked, do we truly have enough military force to simply defend our country if it becomes necessary? When comparing our military, with the land mass we would have to defend and the militaries of other countries worldwide the answer appears to be no. The only way the answer becomes yes is when you work from the assumption that we will always have our big brother to the south to protect us.

The idea of relying on another nation for our national security does not sit well with me. We must entertain the possibility that the mighty U.S. shall someday not be so mighty. What will Canada do then? We cannot wait until that day comes before we start making a contingency plan. It is not likely there will be much if any forewarning otherwise it would be preventable. We must also realize that increasing our military strength is not something that can be done overnight, it must be done in many small steps. We cannot just all of a sudden throw all of our money into the military; other aspects of our society would suffer. I think that it is imperative however that we do start taking the necessary steps to increase our military strength, get the ball rolling. We cannot plan the future of a country while looking no further ahead than the next decade or two

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Future of our Security

Participant: Fleabag

Date: 2003-03-05 00:13:28


I believe our future security lies outside of the framework as being set down by both the US and Iraq. The entire future and path of the development of life on this planet, is now inextricably dependent on the actions of man. Choose your Atlas. Whom shall bear the burden of holding up the values of the planet? One? Or would it not be best if we sought the help of all? The inclusion of the values of all have yet, in the history of the planet, to be chosen as valued above all else.

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Future of our Security

Participant: banquosghost

Date: 2003-03-05 22:25:53


Try this short quiz. First take a look at the countries we have bombed since WWII.
(compiled by historian William Blum:)

1. China 1945-46
2. Korea 1950-53
3. China 1950-53
4. Guatemala 1954
5. Indonesia 1958
6. Cuba 1959-60
7. Guatemala 1960
8. Congo 1964
9. Peru 1965
10. Laos 1964-73
11. Vietnam 1961-73
12. Cambodia 1969-70
13. Guatemala 1967-69
14. Grenada 1983
15. Libya 1986
16. El Salvador 1980s
17. Nicaragua 1980s
18. Panama 1989
19. Iraq 1991-2003
20. Sudan 1998
21. Yugoslavia 1999
22. Afghanistan 1998, 2001-2002

Just for fun, take a guess -

In how many of these instances did a democratic government, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result? I'll make it easy - multiple choice!

Choose one of the following:

(a) 0
(b) 0
(c) 0
(d) 0

This quiz compliments of:

Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Ben Chitty USN 65-9 VN 66-7 68 NY/VVAW
Peace Center
P.O. Box 36
San Antonio, Texas 78291

Do you really think that just because Dubya made a speech the other night that bombing Iraq will yield a different result?

Democracy through "Shock and Awe" bombing - Some Middle East peace plan, eh?

Pacem in Terris,

One Citizen
-------------------


There's also an emerging story about the NSA eavesdropping on Security Council members. Read it here: http://www.sunspot.net/news/nationworld/iraq/bal-te.md.nsa04mar04,0,7914034.story

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Future of our Security

Participant: codc01

Date: 2003-03-06 06:56:05


Your information is wrong, and i don't know where it comes from :

1) Afghanistan is now in a sense democratic, since the ruler was
elected by the council of elders (its not our definition of democracy but it is for them) - and the cause of this was the coalition against terrorism. There are several problems, since the Kabul government does not have any army to inforce its rule, but thats another story.

2) Yugoslavia is now separated into several entities which are democratic, so i don't really see what you are talking about - and the cause of this was the NATO intervention.

For the other countries you are talking about i don't have enough information to give a balanced opinion (but i think you are probably right in those cases)...

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Future of our Security

Participant: Vox

Date: 2003-03-06 15:39:19


I believe you are trying to make a point on the success/failure record of the US in bringing democratic reforms and human rights to countries that it used force on.

To start off, I think it is debatable for anyone to categorically "credit" a country's democratic government or record of human rights "directly" to the actions of the US or any other nation.

Having stated this, I want mention that in addition to "codc01" comments, I also took a quick sample of several countries you listed and the following all now happen to be democratic republics. Is it possible that the list you obtained is somewhat slanted in opinion/judgement to begin with?

South Korea
Taiwan
Guatemala
Indonesia
Nicaragua
Panama
Peru

I would agree that you or others may not view these countries' human rights records as "satisfactory". But I should hasten to caution you to not simply base your judgement on your personal standards or indeed on the standards of any third-party country. There is the aspect of whether these countries did change for the better due to the action of the US. We may also wonder what might have happened to the peoples of these countries had the US or any other "would-be interfering" state never intervened.

I agree the issue of "regime change" justifies heated debate and while I know "regime change" is sometimes necessary, there are also many cases when it has failed. I think Saddam Hussein brought this crisis upon himself and his country. I also do not see an alternative to regime change in Iraq if it is to be effectively disarmed. If the US should topple Saddam Hussein then the world community must not only scrutinize the US but also rally to help ensure that regime change in Iraq results in meaningful improvements.


Vox Canadiana

BTW, you missed Somalia. The US left after they were attacked by Al Qaeda trained gunmen and I believe Somalia still has no government and is basically fought over by various factions of armed groups.

I also want to mention the cases of Sudan, Rwanda and East Timor.

There is credible evidence that Islamic fundamentalists in Sudan systematically massacred Sudanese Christians. The Al Qaeda has been linked to those fundamentalists. This is a method Islamic fundamentalists use to intimidate a population into creating a homogenous Islamic state. I have not checked on Nigeria but the pattern seems similar. It's a sort of "ethnic cleansing" and you can see it in parts of Indonesia and The Philippines. I mention this because the massacres of indigenous people is often what happens when other nations do nothing. Witness what happened in Rwanda when the US stayed out and no one, not even a Canadian-led UN presence did anything. Compare that to what happened in East Timor when the UN brought in Australian peace keepers.

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Future of our Security

Participant: Fleabag

Date: 2003-03-07 07:33:21


There are many countries overlooked in these lists where the US has had direct military influence. Most notably, Angola, where UNITA (US supported)rebels have commited horrible atrocities and acts of terrorism.
In 'The World Human Rights Guide' The nation of Liberia had, in the eighties, a military coup. The former government officials were liquidated.
The 'US supported this regime because of US interests in that country'

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Future of our Security

Participant: Vox

Date: 2003-03-07 13:03:30


Well, I am unsure of the objectivity or accuracy of your claims but...

...by using the same twist of deductive logic you might also disregard any policy offered by France, Germany and Russia (and even Belgium) because Gaullist France has been an unrepentant colonialist and it committed atrocities in its various colonies, Germany because of its NAZI past/legacy and Russia for its past/present atrocities in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia....etc. and Belgium for numerous colonialist atrocities in Africa and Asia. It is an essentially endless and absurd exercise because none of the relevant parties are without "past sins".

My point is that you need to focus on the current issues and try to research the bases of the current allegations and rebuttals. Furiously dredging up fuzzy historical events with dubious accuracy and objectivity may satisfy some emotional grudge you bear but IMO it also creates useless distractions from the current real issues.

I believe that people who "live in the past" are some of the reasons why we have so much unresolvable strife in the world and IMO linking all of your arguments to convenient past events is a very non-constructive way to look at the real issues at hand.


Vox Canadiana

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Future of our Security

Participant: Fleabag

Date: 2003-03-07 18:05:57


I agree that the focus must be on the present, and certainly on solutions, not blame. However, it has been said "those that do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it".
Germany was de-nazified, mostly, after WWII. Britain and France (and many other european nations) have lost control (at least gov't-wise) of their colonies. The US, however, seeks 'economic imperialism' and expansion, and is prepared to use the sword as it's means of 'protecting it's interests'.
The world must face the notion, however absurd it may seem at this point in time, that the US might have to be confronted, and a 'regime change' forced upon them, if the rest of the world is to be truly 'free'.

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Future of our Security

Participant: Vox

Date: 2003-03-08 12:23:54


"The world must face the notion, however absurd it may seem at this point in time, that
the US might have to be confronted, and a 'regime change' forced upon them, if the rest
of the world is to be truly 'free'. "



Well. Okaaay... and er, have a good day.



Vox Canadiana

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Future of our Security

Participant: fatmomma

Date: 2003-03-09 21:42:05


Perhaps, the American people will have to make this regime change themselves. A regime change may be coming soon for his side kick Blair. 85% to 90% of the British people are against the war without the UN approval.
I would like to know what an independent poll of the American public feel about Mr Bush's stand. Completely anonymous of course as people are discouraged from speaking out for peace. CNN asked if they should be considered unpatriotic. Mr Bush said: you are either for us or against us.
No sane person could defend the bombing of the WTC but we do not need to agree with his actionsince. Too much, so called "collateral damage" If they are that inept; they should be armed with pea shooters.

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Future of our Security

Participant: Fleabag

Date: 2003-03-07 23:22:49


To clarify my stance against the US led invasion of Iraq I would say this.
Based on numerous recent historical examples I must conclude that this invasion is yet another violent, agressive action by the US to further enhance their wealth, and future access to that wealth, by use of force. The main issue here is how this action, and actions like it, will affect the future of all. There is a great opportunity for the world to 'wake up' and realize what is and is not important to the future of mankind. The focus of the US is not the future of mankind, however. It is on the next quarterly shareholders report.
I see the US as only concerned with subservience to Mammon, and as zealots, they feel 'justified' in any action that serves Mammon, even if they have to lie, murder, and pretend that they represent 'freedom' to do it.

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Future of our Security

Participant: Vox

Date: 2003-03-06 00:21:01


I think what you are arguing for are:

- Canada to put a focus on greater/better intelligence gathering and usage

- Canad to re-energize its defence capability

I have read other material that you recently posted and I believe you favour greater Canadian independence.

I would agree with these recommendations to a certain degree and it is also on a matter of degree that I find your ideas problematic. What I question are how Canada can realistically achieve the degree of independence that you seem to promote as well as how wise it is to try. To illustrate a major point - that our present government lacks the will to make any meaningful improvements to Canadian defense capability, you only have to look to HMCS Iroquios. We can't even find a replacement helicopter for it. Our "fleet" of such aircraft is less than 30, none of which was deemed suitable or available. The government has been ducking the issue of replacements for the 40-year-old museum pieces ever since they came into office.

You may also recall the PR flak over CSIS and Bill C36, I wonder how you feel about the prospects of increasing Canadian intelligence efforts. Do you really think the Canadian public would support such an idea? In the past, I have personally written letters to our Minister of Defence, without apparent success, to complain about the lack of simple everyday resources for our men and women in the armed forces.

Finally, I think you need to be more realistic about Canada's resources with regard to technology, budget, manpower or collective will. We are a small nation where our taxes go towards paying salaries of the bureaucracy and other mundane everyday social services. We are not a global defence player when assessed as a whole. While you may wish to look down the road past 2 decades I suggest that there are already more critical problems than we can handle at the moment. Would you prefer to promote the rise of a Franco-German-Russian alliance? Would you rather work with them than the Americans or the British?

BTW, I would like to point out apparent errors in some of your information. For one, I would say that towards the end of WWII, all the major combatants were developing atomic weapons, rockets, jets and possibly also nerve gas; and not just the US. I would also say that overall, Germany had markedly superior technology and Japan also had an marked edge at the beginning of the war. Aside from the benefit of having broken the German code (aided by the capture the "improved" enigma machine from U-505) what really made the difference was the speed and vastness of US war effort and the safety of their N. American supply base from Axis retaliation. Attrition had a great deal to do with the Allies' eventual victory. Germany and Japan simply could not replace what they lost. America had an overwhelming amount of resources to inject as well as pass on to GB and the USSR. It is also ultimately this question of resources and will power that Canada lacks to satisfy the degree of effort that you seem to recommend.


Vox Canadiana

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Future of our Security

Participant: Fleabag

Date: 2003-03-07 23:04:33


Actually Great Britain 'broke the Enigma code' from U-505 (American movies love to re-write histroy for the masses) and I agree, the US industrial effort was one of the main reasons for allied victory in WWII. The US did benefit greatly from the fact that none of their factories or workers were subject to enemy bombing, and so became the economic powerhouse of the world, able through the Lend/Lease act to profit immensely on WWII. Canada has no particular need to produce large military armaments companies, for to whom would we sell them? Iraq? Morocco? Very few countries, except those of dubious intentions, would actually buy them. That is why the Canadian Military is suffering so. "Use it or lose it" is the watchword for government spending, and since Canada does not seek to enforce it's economic aims through brute force, our military is used sparingly, for 'peace-keeping', and the like. Canada Does not subjugate other 'republics' like Russia. We do not 'prop up' dictators of third world nations to ensure the continued wealth of our multinational companies like the US. We do not have a hostile neighbor to 'race arms buildups' with like the Koreas. Canada prides itself on being fair and equitable. Perhaps too much so for the liking of our neighbors to the south.

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Future of our Security

Participant: Vox

Date: 2003-03-08 16:41:15


I share your skepticism of Hollywood but on this occasion you are mistaken about U-505. Several enigma machines were actually seized from the Germans. U-505 was captured by the USS Guadalcanal Task Group 22.3 on June 4, 1944. You probably confused U-505 with U-559. The Poles actually did everyone a big favour in 1929 when they intercepted the first German enigma machine (a commercial version) and realized its significance. They worked to break the enigma till the start of WWII. As Poland was overrun the Poles managed to deliver their work to the Allies and the rest of the effort followed from there.

As for Canada's defence requirements, our country has a large "footprint" and we have to secure it to enforce our claim and to deter illegal entry. You will recall we had to "fight" with Iceland and Portugal over fishing rights a few years back and without a credible navy we would neither have had effective monitoring or deterrence. It's pointless to be "right" if you cannot protect those rights. You may wish everyone to be "fair" but it doesn't work that way.

My second point is probably more ominous and there is already a precedent set with the Groupe Roubaix/GIA attempt on the eve of 2000. Due to our large and porous common border with the US, Canada is in effect an ideal entry point for illegals and contraband to the US. At the same time, we have to worry about illegal entry into Canada. Some of the illegals are heavily armed and may possess high-powered aircraft or boats/ships. We do not expect our police to risk their lives without being properly armed so the same goes for our armed forces. The other issue is that once a nation gives up certain combat expertise, they are lost forever because there is no one to train replacements and no experience to impart. If negative world developments should force Canada to call upon those expertise again we would have to ask the US and the UK for training and help. As you may well agree, global security issues seem highly fluid these days.



Vox Canadiana

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Future of our Security

Participant: Fleabag

Date: 2003-03-09 00:54:47


I must concur that 'being in the right' does not make things right. I also must agree that 'policing one's own backyard' and having the tools to do so are imperatives.
I feel that the current debate should be about 'what is right', rather than 'who is going to make right'.
The US is,(and I hope not by choice, but I can't rule that out) fomenting a confrontation with Islam and pretty much anything that isn't 'the American Way'. Almost every Islamic nation does not believe in democracy because 'free choice' violates the notion of Koranic certainty (I thought 'papal infallability was zealotry!). Based on the recent stand taken by the US regarding the use of force against perceived threats to themselves, eventually nations that are Islamic, adhering to Koranic laws, and even Zionist nations, must eventually have 'regime changes' until they abandon their 'old ways'. These nations wil ahve to be told that religious conviction has no place at the table because America says different. Muhammed will certainly have something to say about that.
A debate or consultation should take place, at the UN, involving every major nation, religion, and race, to decide the direction mankind should go towards. Let's see how much truth we can find in our actions and beliefs.

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Future of our Security

Participant: Vox

Date: 2003-03-10 11:39:50


I would like to make a correction to my earlier posting.

The fisheries dispute I mentioned should read ...with Spain and Portugal..." and not "...Iceland and Portugal...".



Vox Canadiana

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