Dr. Douglas Bland (Chair, Defence Management Studies Program, School of Policy Studies, Queen's University):
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Chair and members, for the invitation to be here. I hope I can make a positive contribution to your deliberations.
I have just a few comments to make, and then I'll be at your disposal. I always liked the question period better than the presentation period.
I've been asked and have participated in numerous public debates about our operations in Afghanistan. One of the questions, a key question, people ask is whether the Canadian deployment to Afghanistan is the right policy for Canada. Let me give you reasons why I think it is.
First, the mission supports four inseparable long-standing objectives of Canadian foreign policy, and these are: first, to keep the defence of Canada and Canadians as far away from our shores as possible; second, to support the United Nations and especially support the authority of the Security Council; third, to maintain NATO and the NATO alliance with like-minded nations, which means, to me, strengthening the alliance of liberal democracies, which is key to our security interests; and, most critically of all, to support the reasonable security interests of the United States in our own interests, by which I mean that America is the source of our economic well-being and our national security.
Let me address one other question that's often raised directly or indirectly at these public meetings, and that is whether we should be doing something other than fighting the Taliban, or--and it's a second or third question, I guess--whether we should be doing something else somewhere else. My answer is this: Canada's diplomatic foreign assistance and military operations today in Afghanistan are fully consistent with Canada's policies and actions in these policy areas over most of Canada's history. Those who believe or choose to believe otherwise ought to heed I think the considered opinion of two prominent Canadians who were there at the birth of the United Nations and of NATO and who set out the fundamental parameters for Canada's foreign policy in the early period, 1947 to 1950.
Paul Martin Sr., then Minister of External Affairs, in remarks in 1964 criticizing the continued decline of Canada's military capabilities and the resulting loss of influence in international affairs generally and in the United Nations in particular, recalled that in the 1950s:
|...many nations had an appetite for power without teeth, but Canada had developed both the appetite and the teeth for a new international role.
Martin's cabinet colleague, Brooke Claxton, Minister of National Defence from 1947 to 1956, in an address to Parliament shortly after the end of the Second World War, characterized Canada's participation in that great war as “the war of liberation” fought together with people who had the “will to be free”. Later in that address he provided the principle that guided Canada's international commitments, or that he hoped would guide Canada's international commitments, in the post-Second World War era. We will maintain, he said, a willingness “to carry out any undertakings which by our own voluntary act we may assume in cooperation with friendly nations or under any effective”--and he emphasized “effective”--“plan of collective action under the united nations.” What that principle meant, to paraphrase Mackenzie King, was commitments, if necessary, but not necessary commitments.
Dr. Walter Dorn (Professor and Co-Chair, Department of Security Studies, Canadian Forces College, As an Individual):
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for having invited me to present my ideas to the committee.
My friend and colleague, Douglas Bland, and myself have great respect for each other, but our approaches are different.
I will offer you a constructively critical perspective. When I teach officers at the Canadian Forces College, I take this approach, believing that our soldiers should learn to view their work from differing and critical perspectives, weighing the pros and cons of different strategies.
During training, soldiers should learn to think alike. During education, they should learn how to think differently. Unity and diversity--or diversity and unity--is a key principle of our participatory democracy, as you well know here in Parliament.
My research and experience is focused on UN peacekeeping and peace operations, so I will compare our actions in Kandahar and Kabul and our peacekeeping missions, some of which I have experienced first-hand.
The first consequence of our deployment in Afghanistan is that Canada is currently at the historic low in its UN peacekeeping contribution. Ironically, this comes at a time when UN peacekeeping is at a historic high. We currently deploy merely 55 soldiers under the UN blue flag, at a time when the UN has over 70,000 soldiers in the field. The police forces of Canada contribute 50% more than the Canadian Forces. I have drawn this out in graph 1, showing the rank of Canada over the years from 1991, when we were the number one peacekeeper, through the 1990s, when we were in the top 10, to the fall to our low of 59th place in the world today in peacekeeping.
We have often ranked number one since Pearson proposed the first peacekeeping force 60 years ago, a concept that has thrived and evolved internationally as he hoped it would. We have begun a large slide. One of the largest drops--to one-quarter strength--occurred one year ago almost to this day, when we closed our mission in the Golan Heights: 190 logistic specialists left the UN mission, largely because of the need in Kandahar, and we have provided the UN with nothing remotely comparable.
I will point out graph 4, which shows our contributions of troops, observers, and police over the last few years. That large decline in March of last year is the decline I'm currently speaking about.
It is clear that one of the casualties of our large Afghanistan deployment is our contribution to UN peacekeeping, something that Brooke Claxton and Lester Pearson and Paul Martin Sr., whom we've heard reference to, were very much supporting, trying to get Canada to do more. Our contribution is falling not only in the field but also at UN headquarters, which has to supervise over 100,000 military and civilian personnel in the field.
There is not a single Canadian officer serving in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, where I did my sabbatical last year. The department has 70 officers in its military division and not a single Canadian.
The UN is currently experiencing a surge in demand for its peacekeeping services. This I've illustrated in graph 5, which shows you the number of uniformed personnel in the field since 1991. You'll see the surge now reaching a record high of around 80,000 military police in the field.
The UN has stopped coming to Canada for contributions, knowing that the answer will undoubtedly be no, with a finger pointing to Afghanistan. This is doubly tragic because robust peacekeeping, which the UN has evolved over many decades, points the way to a long-term solution in Afghanistan. The time-honoured and tested principles of peacekeeping have led to the resolution of many seemingly intractable conflicts, including intrastate conflicts in Cambodia, Mozambique, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the former Yugoslavia, and East Timor. Former combatants finally relinquished the simplistic labels of “my enemy” or “the terrorist” to adopt a peace agreement, the only thing a lasting peace can be based upon, especially in internal conflicts.
When peacekeeping has deviated from its three central principles, as it did in Somalia in 1993, it has resulted in disaster. The three central principles of peacekeeping are impartiality, consent, and minimum use of force as a last resort.
Now let's see how these principles apply to Kandahar today.
First is impartiality. Impartiality doesn't exist in Kandahar. We have a declared enemy given to us by President George Bush, when he said in September 2001 that the U.S. would make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harboured them. At the time, I recognized this as a recipe for an expanding and endless war. Instead of isolating al-Qaeda, President Bush widened the war to the country's regime, giving us the first regime change in the global war on terror.
The U.S. has not sought and did not receive UN authorization for its war on terror or the operation designed to carry out this war, Operation Enduring Freedom.
Unlike ISAF, OEF has no UN sanction. Canada entered Kandahar under the banner of OEF. From that moment on, we could not be labelled as impartial, objective, or having the population's interest foremost in mind. We have become increasingly identified with the global perception of the U.S. around the world, as seeking to find and defeat enemies in its national interest. We have become one of the conflicting parties, and we remain so today even though we are currently deployed under NATO.
The second item is consent. There is no peace agreement. We do not have consent of the main parties to the conflict for our deployment in Kandahar. Even the consent of the local population is in doubt. We do have the consent of the Government of Afghanistan, though many inhabitants see President Karzai as a leader hand-picked by the United States and legitimized by an election in which they did not vote.
Without winning the hearts and minds of the locals, you can never win the war or the peace, nor obtain their consent to your presence. Canada has for decades urged parties in vicious conflicts around the world the come to the peace table, but we can't seem to do it ourselves.
Third is minimum use of force as a last resort. We are clearly on the offensive in Kandahar. The posture is not one of self-defence or protection of civilians. Rather, it is characterized by search-and-destroy missions and large-scale offensives in which civilians are all too often unfortunate casualties. We seem to be producing as many enemies as we are killing, as angry brothers, sons, clan members, and other displaced people fill the ranks of the fallen. We, too, are losing our young and courageous, namely 45 soldiers and one diplomat dead in the fields of Afghanistan.
We have lost more soldiers in Afghanistan during our deployment there than in any UN operation over a period of 60 years. This was not because Canada was risk-averse in peacekeeping. As you can see from the last page of the table, we still rank as number two in the level of fatalities in the history of UN peacekeeping. But the stance the Canadian Forces chose in Kandahar—and this was a conscious choice of its leadership, to choose this region and the current posture and to work under Operation Enduring Freedom and then NATO—has meant that to many we appear as aggressors, not defenders.
We deviate from these three principles of peacekeeping—impartiality, consent, and minimum use of force—at our peril. What is the alternative? There is no use criticizing unless we have a better way. Robust peacekeeping of the type the UN has practised so successfully in recent years is the better way. In the eastern Congo, where I recently was during my sabbatical, and in Sierra Leone and Liberia, this approach has given us useful lessons: one, serve the local population first and foremost, not only to win hearts and minds to our cause, but to make sure their interests become our common cause; two, narrow the list of spoilers of the peace process, rather than broadening it; three, negotiate for peace and always give a way out to those committing violence, except for those who have committed the most egregious crimes, which should be referred to the International Criminal Court or to a special tribunal under due process; and four, do not lump together all those who oppose the international presence.
In Afghanistan, this means recognizing that not all those who oppose the Canadian presence are Taliban terrorists. There are many former mujahedeen from various clans that the west once supported during the war against the Soviet invaders. They are motivated by the defence of their country, not love of the Taliban. They long to live and die like the heroes of their folklore, whether it be heroes from the time of the British colonizers or Soviet occupiers. They are willing to sacrifice themselves for their tribe or country.
Of course, to use another Mackenzian turn of phrase, it's combat if necessary, but not necessarily combat.
The current model of the Canadian Forces, originating from U.S. Marine Corps General Charles Krulak, is a three-block war concept. In the first block, Canada will engage in a high-intensity fight against the armies of failing states, to use the words from a recent army poster. The three-block war, let me be clear, is unworkable and fatally flawed, because you cannot simultaneously fight offensive high-intensity combat and carry out effective humanitarian and reconstruction tasks. This is the case in Kandahar. In Kabul, we did have a working peacekeeping model.
The UN uses force as a last resort when all negotiations and warnings have failed. I saw this in the eastern Congo in November 2006 when the renegade 81st and 83rd Congolese brigades tried to capture the city of Goma. The UN gave a firm order to these forces to halt in Saké. When this warning was not heeded, the UN and Congolese government forces stopped the advance using advanced helicopter gunships flown by India.
NATO has not even started talking or negotiating with its opponents in Kandahar, or anywhere in Afghanistan, to my knowledge.
The UN has tried to create a working model for a broad-based central government of national unity. This is an approach that is sometimes called the ink-blot approach: you get a model that's working and spread out according to the consent of local people, rather than impose yourself on their lives. This alternative model suggests that you spread out only when you can succeed. As hearts and minds are won, people will flock to the safety and security of protected areas, to places where their voices are heard, where their rights are respected--especially the right to peace--and where their votes are permitted. We have to build a capacity for dependency and unity, not animosity. This is what is working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it seems to me to be the only model that can work in the long term in Afghanistan.
Some may dismiss the UN's 60 years of peacekeeping as outdated and outmoded, and my colleague has certainly done that in the past. But today's operations are in fact the result of a steady evolution of learning from past lessons on the underuse and overuse of force. A balance has finally been achieved in many UN operations, but in the mountains of Afghanistan and on the plains, we seem to be re-learning these lessons the hard way.
I've looked at it as hawk, dove, and owl approaches. The first two are flawed. The hawk approach is, in my mind, too aggressive and will not establish long-term stability or peace. The dove approach--calling for an immediate withdrawal--is not strong enough to deal with the messy problems in harsh war zones. The owl approach is the only one that can show the wisdom to know when and where to engage. We should move to this owl approach, or the ink-blot model, where we spread out only when the time is right.
Furthermore, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Peter MacKay, said to you two days ago, we seek to restore Canada's leadership in the world. Then we should start where we are able and universally recognized to provide solid leadership. Of course, we should still make substantial contributions to NATO and NORAD, but if there is an activity where we stand out in the eyes of the world, it is in peacekeeping. We need not compete with South Asian nations for boots on the ground. We should be innovative, using our specialized expertise and equipment to make UN peacekeeping more effective and the world safer. We have the technology and skilled personnel that are so badly needed in UN peacekeeping today. With UN peacekeeping booming, it is the place to be. It is the model to use.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Dr. Douglas Bland:
They are hardly the people to hold up to the Afghan people. It's why the Afghan government invited Canadians to make war on these criminal elements in their society.
Finally, when we talk about peacekeeping as not being warfare, the Congo exercise was a very good example of the fact that peacekeeping is another form of warfare or a different type of tactic. When the blue flag didn't work in the Congo, the United Nations employed combat forces, as Walter said, with gunships, explosives, and ammunition, killing lots of people, including civilians, as they're doing in the other states.
But let's go back, if I may, to the questions.
I think the role of the Canadian Forces, the Canadian government, and other agencies in Afghanistan have been evolving for two reasons. It's entirely reasonable that the mission will evolve over time, as our missions in Korea, NATO, and Cyprus in the Middle East, and all over the place evolved over time, because circumstances have changed. As the circumstances change in Afghanistan, for better or worse, I expect our operations in all aspects will evolve differently.
On our commitment to NATO, I think it's a very good question. I delivered a presentation a few days ago in this city in which I said that I think it's time for us to rethink our NATO alliance, not the alliance itself or the treaty but our support to Europeans. The European Union has not been helpful to us, and it's not helpful to the situation of NATO commitments in places like Afghanistan and perhaps Darfur. I've been predicting for many years that our next big mission is Mozambique, or I should say Zimbabwe. We need to think about that.
On the poppy problem, over the last 10 years or more, I've been involved on the sidelines with Plan Colombia, which is the drug strategy designed by Latin Americans and supported by the United States to eradicate cocoa drugs, and so on, in that region. They've tried a number of interesting strategies. One is to substitute another crop. Two is to eradicate the crop. Three is to buy it out. There are more drugs flowing from that region to Europe and the United States than ever before or than there were 10 years ago. These strategies don't work because they're at the wrong end of the spectrum. By that I mean the poppy problem isn't a supply problem; it's a demand problem.
The crudest Afghan farmer understands basic economics. He knows if there is a demand for his crop, he'll grow the crop and make money. The demand for the crop comes from the United States, Russia, India, Canada, and all over Europe. If you want to stop the growing of the poppies, stop the use of heroin in the communities.
We could go through all the details, but if you ask an Afghan farmer to grow carrots and tell him you'll support the growing of carrots, he'll grow carrots, especially if you give him money. I don't want to compare it to Canadian supply agricultural policies, but he'll grow carrots and he'll grow poppies too. Why wouldn't he? He has a market for the crop.
Let's solve the demand problem.
Dr. Walter Dorn:
First of all, I find myself alarmed that my colleague to the left put words in my mouth. I certainly didn't describe the Taliban in the words he used. I made the point that not all fighters are Taliban and that it's simplistic to view this war as just a fight against the Taliban, the enemy. It's overly simplistic. We adopt that model to our peril.
Secondly, I challenge him when he says that NATO has statistically liberated more people than anybody else. I can count in my head over half a billion people in which UN operations, over 62 of them in the history of the world, have brought people to peace. You have to ask where NATO was actually deployed in areas that were subsequently liberated. I just don't believe, on either of those cases, they have a factual basis.
On the issues of contributing substantially to NATO, yes, absolutely, we have to contribute substantially to NATO, and we have to do so for the long term. I believe the answer is not that the NATO strategy is completely flawed, but the overly offensive approach used in southern Afghanistan is flawed. That is tied in with the global war on terror, as you say, because this is a strategy brought in. When we moved into Kandahar, the campaign plan was designed in the United States and authorized by Donald Rumsfeld. This was part of the GWOT, the global war on terrorism, Operation Enduring Freedom. So I think we came in on the wrong foot. We should have come in on a much more impartial, objective, consensual, and minimum use of force basis rather than on an offensive basis in which our motives are questioned.
General Hillier did bring the three-block war concept. He brought it from the United States, where, as you mentioned, he spent so many years, but he transformed it from something that was never meant to be, as many U.S. officers will tell me. The three-block war was meant to describe the dilemma in which the United States found themselves during their operation in Somalia, in which they were primarily there to help the people and they might find themselves in combat. So you had to deal with the dilemma where you were forced to do combat. That's necessarily combat, and in responding to the attack against you, all of a sudden, you are alienating some people. That's a completely different problem. We're going in and saying, “Your strategic goal is to commit combat”, and that's the combat if necessary but not necessarily combat approach. You only engage in combat as a last resort, with a minimum use of force.
Dr. Douglas Bland:
One of the points that Walter makes that's important is that there are some—it depends on whose stats you look at—70,000 or 80,000 so-called peacekeepers around the world. And that's great. More power to them. It makes a lot of money for a lot of nations. That's how they pay their soldiers.
The thing is, if there are that many soldiers available, why do we need to be there? Lots of people seem to be doing this job. The other side of that coin is, of course, if Canadians want to be involved everywhere and have an appetite for international affairs, as Paul Martin Sr. said, then pony up the resources.
There's no reason in this country, where we have 32 million people, that we only have 60,000 people in the armed forces. It's ridiculous. We can make a much bigger contribution if we actually believe in things like responsibility to protect.
Why aren't we doing something in Darfur? Well, because the United Nations won't let anybody do anything in Darfur. The Security Council has voted against it. The mission in Afghanistan, on the other hand, was sanctioned twice by unanimous vote of the United Nations Security Council and as a United Nations peacekeeping mission, employing appropriate operational means—three D and the CDS.
The Liberal government that appointed General Hillier as the CDS did so, in my conversations with all the defence ministers of the time and with the Prime Minister of the time before he was Prime Minister, with their eyes wide open. They believed not in three D as a three-block war—and we shouldn't get confused about that—but they believed, as Canadians have always exercised, whether it was in the Second World War or the First World War or Korea or anywhere else, and in UN peacekeeping, that you need military operations, humanitarian operations, and diplomacy. We've always done that. It's nothing new.
The point is—and the story hasn't been written yet—how did we get to Kandahar? I'd just say this. We got there because we were late. You can make that argument. There were ample opportunities for the government of the day to deploy a provincial reconstruction team in the northern, peaceful parts of the country. The government dithered around, did nothing, then realized they couldn't pull out of Afghanistan. So they deployed a provincial reconstruction team into a dangerous area, and then we had to protect it, and we've been protecting that kind of operation ever since.
So there's a long story here. It's complicated, it's not simple, and it's not a choice between this abstract idea of collective security under the UN or some three-D thing from the United States war college. It's much more complicated than that.
Dr. Douglas Bland:
I think that's a fairly accurate description of what's been going on.
If we have time, Mr. Chair, I'll just reminisce for a minute. My father served in World War II in combat units in Italy, Normandy, and the Netherlands. He liked to tell stories, along with his chums at the Legion and so on in his older age, about air strike three-D operations. He didn't know that that's what he was talking about, but now we know that that's what he was talking about.
His combat unit, when it was in the Netherlands, for instance, and it was an artillery unit, would be at one moment firing their weapons at German emplacements far away and then they would be stopping and cooking up dinner and giving it to the local people. And in their spare time they were building schools, handing out candy, and doing all sorts of humanitarian operations. Soldiers do those kinds of things, and our soldiers do it particularly well all over the world. It is natural that they would be doing this kind of thing.
If you read the report from the Somalia inquiry, you will see that the soldiers there from the Airborne Regiment were particularly proud of the operations they conducted building schools and helping people. The three-D notion is ingrained in our traditions of foreign policy and military operations.
I would like to come back to a question someone asked about exit strategies, and it's on everybody's mind. There is a real and theoretical change in warfare in our societies these days. In the old days, we used to think of war as having an immediate cause. There would then be some sort of a conflict, there would be a victory or a peaceful negotiation of the causes, people would stand down, and governments would agree—because these things were run by governments—and then there would be some sort of peace and a demobilization of sorts. That's the kind of model of warfare we have understood since at least 1914, and probably before that.
We're in an era now of what I call continuous warfare. There is no exit strategy, because, by definition, in continuous warfare you can't get out of it. Look at Palestine: people fighting people, people fighting our soldiers and our non-combatants. They are targets, they are shields, they are willing victims, and they are perpetrators.
A British general who had lots of peacekeeping experience all over the world wrote recently in a wonderful book, called The Utility of Force, that these are wars amongst the people. It's not the old model in which somebody starts it and governments negotiate and end belligerence. There is nobody to negotiate an end. We are more and more, as in Bosnia and throughout the Balkans, as in the Middle East, Africa, and other countries, becoming involved in continuous wars for which there is no exit. Wars among the people, where you can't even decide--if you are the most dedicated, true believer in UN peacekeeping--who you're peacekeeping with, we don't know how to handle yet.
Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm very sorry for being late.
I apologize to our guests. I'm especially sorry not to have heard the presentations.
I have to say, though, just listening to you, Mr. Bland, and without having heard your earlier presentation, it seems to me that you've added strength to the argument about Kandahar and the folly of what we're embroiled in.
I want to thank Dr. Dorn for the work he has been doing to try to dispel the myth, which keeps being thrown in the faces of those who ask for the facts to be known and analysed, that peacekeeping is now for wimps, that peacekeeping has now gone the way of the dinosaurs and the dodo birds. Of course, the facts show otherwise. What is clear is that Canada is a dropout in terms of any robust involvement in UN peacekeeping.
I want to revert, very briefly, to a conversation I had last night with an Afghani Canadian friend who has lived in Canada for 17 years, who goes back to Afghanistan almost every year, and who has just come back from Kandahar and Kabul.
I had an opportunity to ask him what he would ask here this morning. The essence of what he said is, how can Canada continue to characterize the Taliban as the devil incarnate, say we are there to protect the people, and then be completely oblivious to the numbers of citizens being killed? He made the point that had he been killed in Kandahar when he was there a couple of months ago, he would have been counted as a Taliban devil because he had a beard and because he was Muslim and because he was Pashtun.
His point was that it is desperately, desperately important to engage with the Taliban and to recognize that the exclusion of 10 million Pashtuns from any decision-making, any really effective representation, is a recipe for Kandahar and Afghanistan to turn into Canada's Iraq. I want to ask for your reaction to that.
I wish he was here this morning. If he wasn't out working his guts out to earn a living and help support his family in Kandahar, it would have been a very good idea for him to try to enlighten us from a perspective that we don't hear enough from.
I'd like to ask for your reaction to his comments.
Dr. Walter Dorn:
Very quickly, since I'm a professor I love to correct factual points. Palestine was 1948. The UN did not vote against Sudan; it actually authorized the force for Sudan. It's the Sudanese government that's the problem.
I don't think my colleague's cynical views of the motives of the developed world for contributing to peacekeeping are accurate. I think many of them are doing so for the high-minded ideals that we've contributed to peacekeeping in the past.
If you look at my fatalities list you'll see that half the nations in the top 10 fatality countries in UN peacekeeping are developing and the other half are developed world. Canada, of course, is the first in the developed world and India is the first in the developing world.
There is an exit strategy in Afghanistan. It's the same one that has been applied so successfully in lots of conflicts we had in the 1990s. It's only in Somalia where we gave up. And we decided to go on fighting this endless war, which is maybe another Iraq. Maybe what we have in Kandahar is another Somalia. It's just not a workable strategy.
NATO does have a model of its own. It has peace support operations. It's actually a very well-developed, doctrinally founded model of peace support. They've done successful peace support operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. It's not that we have to go only to the UN for the model of peacekeeping; NATO has the model.
I appreciate the words on protecting the dam. That's exactly the sort of project we have to do more of, in a protection mandate, rather than one on search and destroy.
I agree that our soldiers do public outreach extremely well. We do it better than the Americans. I think we are probably the best in the world in terms of relating to local populations. We have that because of our bilingual and multi-ethnic culture in Canada.
In terms of the views on the Taliban, absolutely, our view is too simplistic now. If we start looking at the Pashtuns, the Daris, and the different tribes and weave into that web of interests and motives...then we'd be getting close to the truth. It's only in that way that we can begin to get back to the question of local government, of how you devolve power to the people, especially in those regions where the central government has proven to be corrupt, and that you actually look regionally at ways in which people can start helping themselves.
It means giving them more power, which means power sharing. It means sharing with a lot of people we now mistakenly classify as Taliban. It means sharing power with people, many of whom don't agree with our current policy, who have an interest in their families and lives in that area.
Dr. Douglas Bland:
I don't know whether I'd want to be Rick Hillier, Prime Minister, or either. They are dreadful jobs, actually.
For those who had difficulty hearing me when I made my introductory remarks because we had problems with the microphones, the answer to your first question is something like this. When people ask if the Canadian deployment to Afghanistan is the right policy for Canada, the mission supports four inseparable and longstanding objectives of Canadian foreign policy. They are: the defence of Canada as far from our shores as possible; the support of the United Nations, especially the authority of the Security Council; the maintenance of NATO and the alliance of like-minded states; and most critical of all, support to the reasonable security interests of the United States in our own interest, because the United States provides the source for our economic well-being and our national defence.
If I had my hands on the lever, Canadians might not like it, but then who knows.
Seriously, Canadians at the political and bureaucratic levels need to understand that we're in the situation we haven't been in for a very long time of having to find out how to manage a war. The bureaucrats in this town don't understand that, and they're learning very slowly. We can have slogans like three Ds, and that's all they are--slogans. We need the other slogan, “whole of government approach”, which some of us have talked about for a long time, to bring the efforts of the foreign ministry, the defence ministry, the Department of Transport, Corrections Canada--maybe not the Department of Fisheries and Oceans--and all the parts of the government together so they work in a coherent way under a strategy. The Canadian political community, with respect, hasn't got around to understanding how to manage a war that is being waged in Canada's interests broadly defined. We need to do that.
We also need to mobilize a great deal of our resources in financing police, military capabilities, diplomatic capabilities, and humanitarian capabilities. That takes a lot of money and effort. On that conversation for the most part over the years--and Walter might agree with me--going back to the intervention in the Balkans in the early 1990s, we still haven't got it. We still don't understand that those are the wars of the present and the wars of the future. We haven't adjusted the Canadian bureaucracy to the steady piece of the commitments to NATO and UN peacekeeping.
UN peacekeeping has a lot of merits, but one of its faults is that it's still kind of stuck in the idea of state-directed warfare, intervention between states, and so on. Many countries, especially in the west, haven't got used to the idea that continuous warfare is not abnormal. It's not asymmetric warfare or irregular warfare; it's the real thing. It's the new regular warfare. So we need to think about how we are going to handle that politically, bureaucratically, and with all the instruments of government.
If I had my hands on the levers, I'd just go and do that.