Nato - Does he have a point?

(...) Canada will follow what the US does as they have in effect, a joint defence strategy.(...)
Really? I think this may come as somewhat of a surprise to both Canada and the US. I'm struggling to see where Canada and the US share any defence strategy outside of regional air defence cooperation (NORAD) and NATO.

Leaving aside the cold war, Canada's interest in NATO was that Europe (especially the UK and France) provide a counter-balance to the US, dilute their influence in defence matters, and helped discourage them from acting unilaterally (with US unilateral action being viewed as potentially destabilising and erratic).

Canadian foreign policy is centred around tying the larger powers into multilateral institutions and discouraging unilateral actions. This is the strategy of a lesser power attempting to keep from being crushed between the major powers. US policy towards Canada is that occasionally they remember that we exist.

This is a political and diplomatic benefit, not something on the defence level. The average Canadian sees little if any direct defensive benefits today from NATO. Rather, making useful contributions to the defence of others is viewed as being the price of having a seat at the table when decisions are made which may indirectly affect us.

Hence, Canada has a vested interest in seeing that NATO remains viable and that the core nations of NATO (the ones capable of wielding influence) remain members.
 
Really? I think this may come as somewhat of a surprise to both Canada and the US. I'm struggling to see where Canada and the US share any defence strategy outside of regional air defence cooperation (NORAD) and NATO.

Leaving aside the cold war, Canada's interest in NATO was that Europe (especially the UK and France) provide a counter-balance to the US, dilute their influence in defence matters, and helped discourage them from acting unilaterally (with US unilateral action being viewed as potentially destabilising and erratic).

Canadian foreign policy is centred around tying the larger powers into multilateral institutions and discouraging unilateral actions. This is the strategy of a lesser power attempting to keep from being crushed between the major powers. US policy towards Canada is that occasionally they remember that we exist.

This is a political and diplomatic benefit, not something on the defence level. The average Canadian sees little if any direct defensive benefits today from NATO. Rather, making useful contributions to the defence of others is viewed as being the price of having a seat at the table when decisions are made which may indirectly affect us.

Hence, Canada has a vested interest in seeing that NATO remains viable and that the core nations of NATO (the ones capable of wielding influence) remain members.
OK, I confess to having simplified a complex point, but I did say military strategy rather than political, although they are almost always seen together. I found your comments on political/diplomatic influence very interesting and had never viewed it that way before.

You already pointed out the co-operation in NORAD, but there is a remarkable overlap in terms of maritime and land co-operation. Both navies share the aim of homeland defence and coastal patrolling in support of each other's missions. Wherever I see US units (Maritime, air and land) abroad on missions they are mostly accompanied by Canucks somewhere. A lot of the external CIS connectivity for Canadian forces is carried out on their behalf by DISA and they use many similar (Albeit separately owned) systems.

Not that I am disagreeing with you, but can you give me an example where the Canadians didn't accompany the US on missions in Europe or the ME?
 
Just to provoke a few of the "Holier than thou" brigade, here's a little table of MBTs [what you use to keep the Russians out] against GDP. Column 5 is how many tanks you buy for unit GDP and is used for the ranking, Column 6 is how many you would have if you matched the UKs standard. Now I know not every tank is a CR2 but lets just consider if we are pulling our weight before pitching into everyone else.
upload_2017-1-20_20-11-12.png
 
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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Interesting table...presumably the equivalence is based on how much WE pay for ours,set against what you pay Rheinmetall if you're eg The Netherlands?
Seems the current and upcoming Eastern Europe deployment is being used to test a few concepts .....

Is there a maritime Component similar to "Ocean Safari " underway at the same time?

British Army Exercise Sees Tanks Moved Through Channel Tunnel | Forces TV
 
Last edited:

Zhopa

War Hero
You missed that bit - Article 5 is article 5, no wriggle room no matter what putin's puppet says
Belatedly... not often I disagree with you, but you must be talking about a different Article 5 from the one I saw.

According to Article 5 you take such action as you consider necessary, and stop when peace and security are restored. That leaves it wide open for saying "the Russians stopped moving before we started doing anything, so peace is restored, so we'll leave it at that shall we in order not to make things any worse?"

Compare that with how it was tweaked when the CSTO copied it for Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty - removing the wriggle room and making it plain that you WILL help the alliance member when they ask for it.
 
Interesting table...presumably the equivalence is based on how much WE pay for ours,set against what you pay Rheinmetall if you're eg The Netherlands?
Seems the current and upcoming Eastern Europe deployment is being used to test a few concepts .....

Is there a maritime Component similar to "Ocean Safari " underway at the same time?

British Army Exercise Sees Tanks Moved Through Channel Tunnel | Forces TV
There's a few things going on in the maritime bit but air and land appear to grab the headlines:
http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7276/CBP-7276.pdf
Warships patrolling Baltic Sea including in 2016: two deployments to NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 for the first time since 2010, involving a frigate and a destroyer
 
Not sure I understand your point. Are you saying Slovenia and Albania only think they're invited to the party to show that it's not 'a fig-leaf against the charge of unilateralism'? ie they're only invited as 'fellow flag wavers' and know they're only that?
A point I was also tempted to make about Turkey a few pages back. Their membership has a strategic value, you need a battleground, not just the forces to fight on it. Why does Putin give a monkey's about Syria, boot on other foot but same goal.
 
This is a political and diplomatic benefit, not something on the defence level. The average Canadian sees little if any direct defensive benefits today from NATO. Rather, making useful contributions to the defence of others is viewed as being the price of having a seat at the table when decisions are made which may indirectly affect us.

Hence, Canada has a vested interest in seeing that NATO remains viable and that the core nations of NATO (the ones capable of wielding influence) remain members.
Not a knock, but is there a single Canadian ground forces unit still in Europe? or was it just the Tanks that were pulled out?
 
I don't believe that would work. There are quite a few NATO members who are (or have become) very sceptical about the organisation and its aims. They might just use your clause as an excuse to ditch the whole project. On the other hand, they could well use it to exert pressure on the US to change the clearly imperialistic course of NATO.

MsG
Who would leave again?

Germany?
Greece?
 
Not a knock, but is there a single Canadian ground forces unit still in Europe? or was it just the Tanks that were pulled out?
We pulled out entirely after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The decision was made at the beginning of the 1990s, and the pull out was completed by the early to mid 1990s.
 
Not a knock, but is there a single Canadian ground forces unit still in Europe? or was it just the Tanks that were pulled out?
I should add that the above comment refers to permanent bases. We have a number of minor ongoing operational deployments in Europe. The list is here: Current operations list

Currently the largest one involves several hundred troops doing a training mission in Ukraine.
 
Both navies share the aim of homeland defence and coastal patrolling in support of each other's missions.
The RCN is basically an anti-submarine force built around defending the sea lines of communication across the North Atlantic to Europe. This raison d'être is descended from WWI and WWII needs, and that capability was then carried on into the cold war and remains the same today. The new frigate program will replace these with more of the same.

If we were to dedicate the RCN to purely Canadian home defence, it would focus more on ice breaking and ice reinforced ships and submarines. We would also base more of the ships on the west coast, since that is where the majority of our overseas trade is. This occasionally comes up in discussions about defence policy, but gets quietly dropped. A Canadian navy that was built to directly serve Canadian needs would probably look a lot different from what it does today.

The US navy is built to project US power around the globe and to protect their nuclear deterrent. It exists to pursue American interests through military means.

I can't honestly see much of a parallel there.

Wherever I see US units (Maritime, air and land) abroad on missions they are mostly accompanied by Canucks somewhere.
I'm pretty sure that the US does plenty of things in the world without us helping them.

As for Canadian operations abroad, if it's a NATO mission, then the US is usually around somewhere since not much happens in NATO without them. If it's a UN mission, then Canadian forces have been plenty of places with no Americans around anywhere.

Not that I am disagreeing with you, but can you give me an example where the Canadians didn't accompany the US on missions in Europe or the ME?
Your question is a bit ambiguous. I'll interpret it though as "did we turn down any American invitations to a war"? Yes, we turned down the second Gulf War as being without reasonable justification.

If your question is "have we done anything within NATO or with NATO allies outside of NATO without the US being involved", then yes we regularly do things such as Baltic air patrols, or assisting France with logistics support for operations in Africa, and things like that.

It may be difficult for you to understand the Canadian viewpoint unless you remember that Canada has never acted abroad militarily outside of the British Empire, or later NATO (formally or informally), or as part of a UN peacekeeping mission (although the Korean War is a bit difficult to categorise).

We don't have any nearby security threats, as our immediate neighbours (the US, Denmark, France) are friendly (at least in recent years they are). Russia is a bit of a problem, but the Arctic climate and the RCAF (and NORAD) can handle them. Geography and distance handle everyone else without a lot of effort on our part. We don't have any former colonial interests to tend to, as we're a former colony, not a colonialist. We don't have to secure our supplies of food, energy, or minerals, as we export those.

So we don't go about the world invading small countries and overthrowing dictators on our own. We have no interest in doing so. We will get involved in NATO operations or in UN approved missions, with the intention of helping to ensure that NATO and the UN remain viable channels for use to exercise influence.

If your question is "why does Canada get more involved with operations than many other NATO members", then the answer is that we can't use NATO as a channel for influence if we have a reputation as being a difficult or unreliable ally. That means getting involved in things in which we have no direct interest.

There is a political train of thought in Canada that says we should pull out of NATO and NORAD, pursue a neutral foreign policy, and don't get involved in wars except possibly as UN peace keepers. However, it is very much a fringe view, and mainstream political thought is to work to remain in NATO and work to gain influence within it. NORAD rarely impinges upon the public consciousness, as it has a very narrow and limited function with no real political or diplomatic side to it.

I could go on with more detail, but I think the above is long enough at this point.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
There's a thread elsewhere discussing the current status of the US CVNs. Looking back, Clinton is quoted as saying that his first response to a crisis was 'Where are the carriers?'. I suspect Trump will not be happy until somebody with a sore bottom has got a few CVNs deployed again.
 
The RCN is basically an anti-submarine force built around defending the sea lines of communication across the North Atlantic to Europe. This raison d'être is descended from WWI and WWII needs, and that capability was then carried on into the cold war and remains the same today. The new frigate program will replace these with more of the same.

If we were to dedicate the RCN to purely Canadian home defence, it would focus more on ice breaking and ice reinforced ships and submarines. We would also base more of the ships on the west coast, since that is where the majority of our overseas trade is. This occasionally comes up in discussions about defence policy, but gets quietly dropped. A Canadian navy that was built to directly serve Canadian needs would probably look a lot different from what it does today.

The US navy is built to project US power around the globe and to protect their nuclear deterrent. It exists to pursue American interests through military means.

I can't honestly see much of a parallel there.


I'm pretty sure that the US does plenty of things in the world without us helping them.

As for Canadian operations abroad, if it's a NATO mission, then the US is usually around somewhere since not much happens in NATO without them. If it's a UN mission, then Canadian forces have been plenty of places with no Americans around anywhere.


Your question is a bit ambiguous. I'll interpret it though as "did we turn down any American invitations to a war"? Yes, we turned down the second Gulf War as being without reasonable justification.

If your question is "have we done anything within NATO or with NATO allies outside of NATO without the US being involved", then yes we regularly do things such as Baltic air patrols, or assisting France with logistics support for operations in Africa, and things like that.

It may be difficult for you to understand the Canadian viewpoint unless you remember that Canada has never acted abroad militarily outside of the British Empire, or later NATO (formally or informally), or as part of a UN peacekeeping mission (although the Korean War is a bit difficult to categorise).

We don't have any nearby security threats, as our immediate neighbours (the US, Denmark, France) are friendly (at least in recent years they are). Russia is a bit of a problem, but the Arctic climate and the RCAF (and NORAD) can handle them. Geography and distance handle everyone else without a lot of effort on our part. We don't have any former colonial interests to tend to, as we're a former colony, not a colonialist. We don't have to secure our supplies of food, energy, or minerals, as we export those.

So we don't go about the world invading small countries and overthrowing dictators on our own. We have no interest in doing so. We will get involved in NATO operations or in UN approved missions, with the intention of helping to ensure that NATO and the UN remain viable channels for use to exercise influence.

If your question is "why does Canada get more involved with operations than many other NATO members", then the answer is that we can't use NATO as a channel for influence if we have a reputation as being a difficult or unreliable ally. That means getting involved in things in which we have no direct interest.

There is a political train of thought in Canada that says we should pull out of NATO and NORAD, pursue a neutral foreign policy, and don't get involved in wars except possibly as UN peace keepers. However, it is very much a fringe view, and mainstream political thought is to work to remain in NATO and work to gain influence within it. NORAD rarely impinges upon the public consciousness, as it has a very narrow and limited function with no real political or diplomatic side to it.

I could go on with more detail, but I think the above is long enough at this point.
A very informative post, thanks for taking the time to add colour to the picture I hold in my mind.
 
Interesting table...presumably the equivalence is based on how much WE pay for ours,set against what you pay Rheinmetall if you're eg The Netherlands?
No I don't have the time to get that detailed its just using the tanks/GDP figure i.e multiply your GDP by 0..08. If we pay over the odds for a tank that's hardly something the Greeks need to factor into their defence spending.

This table also suggests a hidden value of NATO, keeping the Greeks and Turks from starting a war with each other; since I presume article 5 would still apply for the non aggressive party.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
There's a thread elsewhere discussing the current status of the US CVNs. Looking back, Clinton is quoted as saying that his first response to a crisis was 'Where are the carriers?'. I suspect Trump will not be happy until somebody with a sore bottom has got a few CVNs deployed again.
cvn-diplomacy.jpg


Just recently there was a MoD press release about how marvellous it was that we had taken over in the Gulf and how our clapped out merchant-ship-with-knobs-on, HMS Ocean with two whole Merlin helicopters was replacing a CVN with a 60+ fighting Air group.


Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!!
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
MoD press release about how marvellous it was that we had taken over in the Gulf and how our clapped out merchant-ship-with-knobs-on, HMS Ocean with two whole Merlin helicopters was replacing a CVN with a 60+ fighting Air group.
FFS

It's people like you who make being an MOD spin doctor such hard work. As you should realise, all MOD PR product is for:
1. Itself
2. The rest of the CS
3. Defence correspondents (sometimes with wine to stop them fact checking).
4. MPs

Anyone outside the Whitehall bubble who reads one needs to accept that reality is a concept that, for budgetary reasons and electoral necessity, the MOD abandoned some time ago. In this it leads other departments, and is therefore a ground breaking example of the modern CS.

You should be grateful.
 
Now it's 'bullying' to be asked to do what you agreed to do.

Juncker: EU must resist US bullying on NATO spending

Thank Christ we are putting these idiots behind us.
It's rather interesting that he considers the whole issue as being simply a matter of "politics" rather than about whether or not EU members are adequately defended.
“If you look at what Europe is doing in defense, plus development aid, plus humanitarian aid, the comparison with the United States looks rather different,” he said. “Modern politics cannot just be about raising defense spending.”
 

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