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Canada: a nuisance neighbour

sgt_mandal

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on guard for thee said:
Joe soldier knows wooden nickels - and our elected offiials spit them out of their butt$.
but they are not the ones that feel the splinters....
 

Monsoon

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paracowboy said:
the fact that we have adopted a culture of being "Not American". Canadian Intelligentsia have become so obsessed with 'not being American' that they have no identity. When all you do is compare yourself to another, whether favourably or not, then your identity is simply part of whomever you compare yourself to.
The average Canadian is far too busy to concern themselves with this sort of intellectual inferiority complex, this mental flagellation. But our press, and our fearful leaders have very little else to do when there isn't an election to rig.

Ah, "the intelligentsia", those long-suffering strawmen who are carted out everytime a "real person" needs to pillory someone.  Fact is, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in this country who is actually and wholly anti-American, and if you were able to find one odds are it would come from among those rough-and-tumble farmers, firemen and other real people who don't have much time to give thought to the subject.  However, if you define anti-American as meaning someone who is critical of the current U.S. administration's foreign policy, or who would like to see Canadian books and productions promoted within Canada and abroad, or who is more or less happy with a publicly-funded health care system, or who suspects that post-colonial involvement in third world countries may seed the resentment that leads to terrorism, or who is reasonably proud to be Canadian and would like to see Canada get ahead, then by all means the country is rife with the devils.

Just remember, the first thing every communist revolution in history has done is to kill off the intelligentsia - that's why those countries are all in such great shape today!
 

S McKee

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hamiltongs said:
Ah, "the intelligentsia", those long-suffering strawmen who are carted out everytime a "real person" needs to pillory someone.   Fact is, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in this country who is actually and wholly anti-American, and if you were able to find one odds are it would come from among those rough-and-tumble farmers, firemen and other real people who don't have much time to give thought to the subject.  
Nah, probably the latte- mocha sipping, black beret, goatee wearin' types that frequent the cafes in the centre of the Canadian Universe. Don't forget Carolyn! "Those Bastards"
However, if you define anti-American as meaning someone who is critical of the current U.S. administration's foreign policy, or who would like to see Canadian books and productions promoted within Canada and abroad,
It's great to be critical of another countrie's foreign policy, maybe we should develop our own first.  Canadian programing and entertainment is tax payer supported pablum, that is forced fed down our throats, in the name of preserving "Canadian Culture". Honestly, I heard the're playing re-runs of "Danger Bay" to the inmates down in Gitmo to soften up them up before interrogation...."make it stop.... make it stop"
or who suspects that post-colonial involvement in third world countries may seed the resentment that leads to terrorism
Forget about the corrupt governments and dictators that run those third world countries "it's our fault" always has been, always will be, forever and ever amen.
 

Monsoon

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Jumper said:
Nah, probably the latte- mocha sipping, black beret, goatee wearin' types that frequent the cafes in the centre of the Canadian Universe. Don't forget Carolyn! "Those Bastards"
I think maybe you're mistaking talking heads for intelligentsia - Carolyn Parrish is posturing for the benefit of the voters in her (predominately blue-collar, as it turns out) riding.  Ignatieff/Trudeauites/etc = intelligentsia.  Parrish/David Frum/newspaper columnists = talking heads.  It's important to recognize the difference.

Jumper said:
It's great to be critical of another countrie's foreign policy, maybe we should develop our own first.
Isn't that sort of the point?  As long as the criticism is intended to serve the goal of developing our own distinct policy, then it is constructive and not anti-American.  There are those who believe that any effort on the part of Canada to develop an independent foreign policy is inherently "anti-American", and that's just nonsense.

Jumper said:
Forget about the corrupt governments and dictators that run those third world countries "it's our fault" always has been, always will be, forever and ever amen.
Who built those countries' infrastructures and then cleared out leaving the strong men in charge?  Who backs the corrupt dictators that serve their foreign policy?  The problem isn't one that can be solved by more democracy - the cultures involved simply aren't well served by any sort of central government, but it serves our purposes for there to be one in place in those countries.
 

S McKee

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hamiltongs said:
I think maybe you're mistaking talking heads for intelligentsia - Carolyn Parrish is posturing for the benefit of the voters in her (predominately blue-collar, as it turns out) riding.  Ignatieff/Trudeauites/etc = intelligentsia.  Parrish/David Frum/newspaper columnists = talking heads.  It's important to recognize the difference.

And what do you think the "Ignatieff/Trudeauites intelligentsia" would say about US foreign policy today?

Isn't that sort of the point?  As long as the criticism is intended to serve the goal of developing our own distinct policy, then it is constructive and not anti-American.  There are those who believe that any effort on the part of Canada to develop an independent foreign policy is inherently "anti-American", and that's just nonsense.

The point is we have no discernable foreign policy of our own (apart from harping about the US ). Canada contributes little on the world stage, and our government is purely reactionary to world events , making the odd condemning statement about this and that. Given these factors I don't believe that we have the moral authority to criticize the Americans who are dying in droves to secure the western world from the threat of Islamic Terrorism. Agree or disagree with US foreign policy, you cannot deny the fact that they shoulder more than their fair share.


Who built those countries' infrastructures and then cleared out leaving the strong men in charge?  Who backs the corrupt dictators that serve their foreign policy?  The problem isn't one that can be solved by more democracy - the cultures involved simply aren't well served by any sort of central government, but it serves our purposes for there to be one in place in those countries.

Maybe we should have ingrained the ideals of democracy alittle more forcibly before we "cleared out". What would you suggest?
 

Monsoon

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Jumper said:
And what do you think the "Ignatieff/Trudeauites intelligentsia" would say about US foreign policy today?
Nothing especially inflammatory, as it turns out.  They certainly seem to agree that it's not the right foreign policy for Canada, but we're a country with very different circumstances.  Ignatieff's stuff is widely available on the Internet, if you're interested.

Jumper said:
The point is we have no discernable foreign policy of our own (apart from harping about the US ). Canada contributes little on the world stage, and our government is purely reactionary to world events , making the odd condemning statement about this and that. Given these factors I don't believe that we have the moral authority to criticize the Americans who are dying in droves to secure the western world from the threat of Islamic Terrorism. Agree or disagree with US foreign policy, you cannot deny the fact that they shoulder more than their fair share.
I don't know that using the U.S. as a basis of comparison for how a country of 30 million with an export-based economy should act is really a good idea.  Canada certainly continues to "punch above its weight", despite claims to the contrary - we have far more influnece on the world stage than (say) Australia.  Our foreign policy is reactionary because it wouldn't serve us well to be interventionary.  Canada's greatest foreign policy threats are threats to our sovereignty - mimicing US foreign policy to please the likes of Prof. Sapolsky doesn't seem like a sensible exercise of that sovereignty.

Jumper said:
Maybe we should have ingrained the ideals of democracy alittle more forcibly before we "cleared out". What would you suggest?
Clearly.  In any case, I think recognizing the fact that securing an oil supply from the Middle East means disenfranchizing a huge number of people is hardly earth-shattering news.  You can argue about whether or not it's the best long-term solution for the U.S, but the argument that one hasn't lead directly to the other simply doesn't exist.  The question is whether or not it's profitable to continue doing things as before, or to change directions.
 

54/102 CEF

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hamiltongs said:
  You can argue about whether or not it's the best long-term solution for the U.S, but the argument that one hasn't lead directly to the other simply doesn't exist.   The question is whether or not it's profitable to continue doing things as before, or to change directions.


The bit about dis-enfranchising is off the mark - it may have been OK when the camel caravan rolled into town very other week....... who knew any better? Now - with even basic education and Internet or CNN or whatever the local flavour young people see the world - want something better than the same old noz about know your place and then the great pull between unmet needs to set your own course vs some 1 party rep in the local mudhutville or the local priest starts grating on your nerves --------------> potential recruit for violent changes.

It is in the wests best interest to show the local governments that having a say is more important than telling them to have a nice cup of shut the F--K up, and that process takes a very long time.

Did I mention all should read Max Boot`s Savage Wars of Peace? :)
 

Edward Campbell

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hamiltongs said:
...

1. Canada certainly continues to "punch above its weight", despite claims to the contrary - we have far more influnece on the world stage than (say) Australia.

2. Our foreign policy is reactionary because it wouldn't serve us well to be interventionary. 

3. Canada's greatest foreign policy threats are threats to our sovereignty - mimicing US foreign policy to please the likes of Prof. Sapolsky doesn't seem like a sensible exercise of that sovereignty. ...

(Reformatted by me.)

The first point is highly debatable.  We remain, to be sure, one of the world's top ten nations by most fair measures of power but we are, and we have been, in a steady, sometimes precipitous decline since the fall of 1968.  We remain in e.g. the G8 because, and only because, it suits the US to have a lapdog.  We have not, in my view, punched at our weight, much less above it, since 1967; for most of the past 38 years we have, as John Manly put it, acted like the fellow who always retires to the wash room when the bill is presented.

The second point is valid, most of the time, so long as you accept that Pierre Trudeau and Ivan Head actually understood something, anything at all, about foreign policy. They did not.  Trudeau was a fool, a petty, pumped up, provincial, pseudo-intellectual, driven by sophomoric anti-capitalism; Head was a one-note, North/South, wonder.  Our 1969 foreign policy was a piece of monumental stupidity which failed, miserably, but which drove foreign affairs for a decade â “ doing serious damage day-after-day, month-after-month and year-after-year.

Despite what such luminaries as Allan Gotlieb and Jennifer Walsh contend, I think St. Laurent was right in the 1940s and is still right today.  Perhaps the leading middle power role is out of our current reach, but, there are middle powers, still, and we are one of them â “ and we will remain so, even after China and India take their rightful places amongst the great and super powers.  The remaining, generally Western, middle powers are willing to be led, can be led and are being led, today, by e.g. Australia, Netherlands and Norway.  There ought to be room for Canada on that list.

Regarding the third point: There are real threats to our sovereignty and they do, mainly â “ for now, stem from the US.  They will not go away unless and until we take strong, active measures to assert and maintain our positive control over all of out territory and the contiguous waters â “ out to 200 nautical miles â “ including the sea bed, and the airspace over both.  This is a hugely expensive proposition  - one which is repugnant to policy planners and taxpayers alike; it is, also, an absolutely necessary proposition if, big IF, we want to maintain sovereignty over all that which we claim.  It is not only sovereignty which ought to concern us.  The other big aim of our foreign and defence policies ought to be to protect and promote our vital interests around the world.

There is some room for discussion about vital interests but I will repeat myself (see: http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/17947/post-182791.html#msg182791 ) and contend that we can use shorthand and summarize Canada's vital interest as: peace and prosperity.  Protecting and promoting both may require a bit of unilateralism, especially if we want to lead.  Given that we have only 30 million people and a finite budget it stands to reason that we do need help which we are unlikely to get unless we take the lead.  We do not need to mimic American policies but we may wish to [mimic some of the ways they go about things: making a proposition, forming a team and leading it.
 

mdh

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The second point is valid, most of the time, so long as you accept that Pierre Trudeau and Ivan Head actually understood something, anything at all, about foreign policy. They did not.   Trudeau was a fool, a petty, pumped up, provincial, pseudo-intellectual, driven by sophomoric anti-capitalism; Head was a one-note, North/South, wonder.   Our 1969 foreign policy was a piece of monumental stupidity which failed, miserably, but which drove foreign affairs for a decade â “ doing serious damage day-after-day, month-after-month and year-after-year.

Edward C. you may have heard of this story.

According to Peter Brimelow's book on Canadian nationalism called The Patriot Game, when Trudeau came to power several drafts of the new foreign policy were repeatedly rejected because it was not considered "scientific enough" - until one foreign policy mandarin - in frustrated desperation no doubt - found some pseudo-scientific management jargon in various publications, sat down with a bottle of scotch, and redrafted the whole thing with charts and graphs and larded it with abstruse and abstract language - and presto! a new foreign policy - needless to say Trudeau loved it and released it in a box set - when reporters asked why the new policy said nothing about Canada's relationship with the US - Trudeau said that was coming in the next installment.
 

Monsoon

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Edward Campbell said:
The first point is highly debatable.  We remain, to be sure, one of the world's top ten nations by most fair measures of power but we are, and we have been, in a steady, sometimes precipitous decline since the fall of 1968.  We remain in e.g. the G8 because, and only because, it suits the US to have a lapdog.  We have not, in my view, punched at our weight, much less above it, since 1967; for most of the past 38 years we have, as John Manly put it, acted like the fellow who always retires to the wash room when the bill is presented.
I guess it's a matter of deciding what you think our weight is - I categorize us with countries of comparable population that are not the largest power in their region.  By that standard, just being in the top ten is a feat that shows we're punching above our weight: we're certainly not the tenth-largest country in the world.  In a category that includes Spain, South Africa, Australia, Italy, Austria, Argentina and others, we have performed the best in just about every measurable sense.  If you consider them to be "our weight" then we're certainly above it.

Edward Campbell said:
The second point is valid, most of the time, so long as you accept that Pierre Trudeau and Ivan Head actually understood something, anything at all, about foreign policy. They did not.  Trudeau was a fool, a petty, pumped up, provincial, pseudo-intellectual, driven by sophomoric anti-capitalism; Head was a one-note, North/South, wonder.  Our 1969 foreign policy was a piece of monumental stupidity which failed, miserably, but which drove foreign affairs for a decade â “ doing serious damage day-after-day, month-after-month and year-after-year.
I'm no great fan of Trudeau, but I think you'll agree with my point that he and his more literate adherents belong to a different category than the media chaff that fills the newspapers.  One is intelligentsia, the other is not.

Edward Campbell said:
Despite what such luminaries as Allan Gotlieb and Jennifer Walsh contend, I think St. Laurent was right in the 1940s and is still right today.  Perhaps the leading middle power role is out of our current reach, but, there are middle powers, still, and we are one of them â “ and we will remain so, even after China and India take their rightful places amongst the great and super powers.  The remaining, generally Western, middle powers are willing to be led, can be led and are being led, today, by e.g. Australia, Netherlands and Norway.  There ought to be room for Canada on that list.
I think if anyone occupies the position of "leading middle power" it is still certainly us. I also think that that role just doesn't mean very much in a modern context.  In 1967 Great Britain was well into its decline and the US hadn't yet taken its place as the uncontested Western power as it did in the early eighties: there was still a place for someone to corral the middle powers.  Today the middle powers take their cue from either the US or the EU - to try to assume a place of leadership among them is to contest the existing leaders.  Wouldn't that make us even more of a "nuisance neighbour"?  Or should we just lead them to do what the US wants?

Edward Campbell said:
Regarding the third point: There are real threats to our sovereignty and they do, mainly â “ for now, stem from the US.  They will not go away unless and until we take strong, active measures to assert and maintain our positive control over all of out territory and the contiguous waters â “ out to 200 nautical miles â “ including the sea bed, and the airspace over both.  This is a hugely expensive proposition  - one which is repugnant to policy planners and taxpayers alike; it is, also, an absolutely necessary proposition if, big IF, we want to maintain sovereignty over all that which we claim.  It is not only sovereignty which ought to concern us.  The other big aim of our foreign and defence policies ought to be to protect and promote our vital interests around the world.
You'll get no argument from me.  I'm not sure either of these points were raised in the orginating newspaper article, though.

Edward Campbell said:
There is some room for discussion about vital interests but I will repeat myself (see: http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/17947/post-182791.html#msg182791 ) and contend that we can use shorthand and summarize Canada's vital interest as: peace and prosperity.  Protecting and promoting both may require a bit of unilateralism, especially if we want to lead.  Given that we have only 30 million people and a finite budget it stands to reason that we do need help which we are unlikely to get unless we take the lead.  We do not need to mimic American policies but we may wish to [mimic some of the ways they go about things: making a proposition, forming a team and leading it.
Again, no argument.  We need to formulate a foreign policy that serves our interests first and foremost, while recognizing that it can't aggravate our neighbours, even if it ultimately works against them.  And that's not anti-American.
 

S McKee

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[author=hamiltongs link=topic=32954/post-247056#msg247056 date=1122949133]
I guess it's a matter of deciding what you think our weight is - I categorize us with countries of comparable population that are not the largest power in their region.  By that standard, just being in the top ten is a feat that shows we're punching above our weight: we're certainly not the tenth-largest country in the world.  In a category that includes Spain, South Africa, Australia, Italy, Austria, Argentina and others, we have performed the best in just about every measurable sense.  If you consider them to be "our weight" then we're certainly above it.

I don't know who first started using the term "punching above our weight", but it's one of those catchy little phrases that lefty media pundits and politicians throw around whenever the Canadian Government is criticized by one of our allies about the lack fiscal commitment to the Armed Forces. If you want to put us in a category be realistic: Fly Weight. If you think we "punch above" Australia your dreaming in technicolor. Granted our soldiers are second to none, however when we talk about "punching above our weight" we are not talking about the quality of our personnel we are talking about our actual military capabilities. Maybe the phrases we should be using are "Buddy can you spare a dime?" or "How about a lift?" 
 

Monsoon

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Jumper said:
I don't know who first started using the term "punching above our weight", but it's one of those catchy little phrases that lefty media pundits and politicians throw around whenever the Canadian Government is criticized by one of our allies about the lack fiscal commitment to the Armed Forces. If you want to put us in a category be realistic: Fly Weight. If you think we "punch above" Australia your dreaming in technicolor. Granted our soldiers are second to none, however when we talk about "punching above our weight" we are not talking about the quality of our personnel we are talking about our actual military capabilities. Maybe the phrases we should be using are "Buddy can you spare a dime?" or "How about a lift?"
Lloyd Axworthy seems to have set off the most recent flurry of uses of the term back when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, but it's been around for a long while.  It's almost always used to describe our influence in foreign affairs despite our limitations (as in, "we have a small military but punch above our weight internationally").  These days it's usually used by righties trying to make us feel ashamed for not being a world superpower (as in, "we are no longer punching above our weight because our military isn't as large as the US'"). As far as "how about a lift?" goes, if you can name four countries in the world with a strategic airlift capability I'll give you a cookie (hint: there are only two).
 

S McKee

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author=hamiltongs link=topic=32954/post-247312#msg247312 date=1123005857]
Lloyd Axworthy seems to have set off the most recent flurry of uses of the term back when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, but it's been around for a long while.  It's almost always used to describe our influence in foreign affairs despite our limitations (as in, "we have a small military but punch above our weight internationally").  These days it's usually used by righties trying to make us feel ashamed for not being a world superpower (as in, "we are no longer punching above our weight because our military isn't as large as the US'"). As far as "how about a lift?" goes, if you can name four countries in the world with a strategic airlift capability I'll give you a cookie (hint: there are only two).

Lloyd (Soft Power) Axworthy isn't much of a "rightie" and I don't need a cookie because I'm on a diet. However if your talking/ comparing strategic airlift and, (I'll use that term again) "punching above our weight", some of the countries that you consider in our league such as Spain and South Africa are set to purchase significant numbers of the A400M which I believe has twice the cargo capacity of the C-130. Moreover, Australia has signed a deal for five A330-200 Multi Role Tanker Transports. Canada is still "debating" the strategic airlift issue especially after the Tsunami fiasco and our inability to deploy DART in a timely manner. I won't even start on naval sealift or fleet sustainability. The Presever can't even make out of Halifax harbour.
 

Monsoon

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Jumper said:
Lloyd (Soft Power) Axworthy isn't much of a "rightie"
Think you may have missed my point...

Jumper said:
However if your talking/ comparing strategic airlift and, (I'll use that term again) "punching above our weight", some of the countries that you consider in our league such as Spain and South Africa are set to purchase significant numbers of the A400M which I believe has twice the cargo capacity of the C-130. Moreover, Australia has signed a deal for five A330-200 Multi Role Tanker Transports. Canada is still "debating" the strategic airlift issue especially after the Tsunami fiasco and our inability to deploy DART in a timely manner.
No, I'm pretty sure you were the one who suggested that not having strategic airlift meant that we had ask "how about a lift?" so we couldn't "punch above our weight" (I'm getting as tired of that phrase as you, I promise). I don't argue with the need to upgrade our tactical airlift, as long as you're not suggesting we need to blow a colossal pile of cash on strategic airlift so we can compete directly with Russia and the US.  Anyway, this is getting a bit off the original topic.  If you want to talk airlift (and lord knows I don't) I'd recommend starting a separate thread.

Jumper said:
I won't even start on naval sealift or fleet sustainability. The Presever can't even make out of Halifax harbour.
I don't know what your source on that is, but I assume you're tallking about the problems it had with its Power Generation and Distribution system during sea trials after an extensive refit.  That's what trials are for - it's far from uncommon for problems to crop up after replacing lots of equipment.  In any case, as the JSS project to replace the AORs is well underway there doesn't seem to be much reason to belabour the point about the need for more sealift.
 

Ex-Dragoon

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In any case, as the JSS project to replace the AORs is well underway there doesn't seem to be much reason to belabour the point about the need for more sealift

So they have made a selection and actually ordered them?
 

S McKee

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[author=hamiltongs link=topic=32954/post-247385#msg247385 date=1123015190]
Think you may have missed my point...

Yes I know just kidding....

No, I'm pretty sure you were the one who suggested that not having strategic airlift meant that we had ask "how about a lift?" so we couldn't "punch above our weight" (I'm getting as tired of that phrase as you, I promise). I don't argue with the need to upgrade our tactical airlift, as long as you're not suggesting we need to blow a colossal pile of cash on strategic airlift so we can compete directly with Russia and the US.   Anyway, this is getting a bit off the original topic.   If you want to talk airlift (and lord knows I don't) I'd recommend starting a separate thread.

Your right however when we talk about the phrase that I won't mention, getting there is half the battle, unfortunately we're going to have to spend a lot of money to have reasonable capability; our geography dictates it. That's if we want to consider ourselves player on the world scene.

I don't know what your source on that is, but I assume you're tallking about the problems it had with its Power Generation and Distribution system during sea trials after an extensive refit.   That's what trials are for - it's far from uncommon for problems to crop up after replacing lots of equipment.   In any case, as the JSS project to replace the AORs is well underway there doesn't seem to be much reason to belabour the point about the need for more sealift.

Actually I have a pretty good source; my brother sails on her. He told me she has the same problems now as she did when he sailed on her during the Gulf War. Anyway it's always calm seas for you guys in the "stone frigates". Good discussion.
 

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Ex-Dragoon said:
So they have made a selection and actually ordered them?
No, but the interested consortiums have submitted Letters of Interest.  A formal specification will be issued in September and the winning bidder will be selected and the ships ordered in December (notwithstanding any possible change-of-government delays).  I wasn't suggesting that the ships were going to be delivered any time soon (that's why the AORs are being refitted), but once things have gotten this far the byzantine NDHQ acquisition process has been gone through and the project is more or less a fait accomplis.  I just wrote a preliminary proposal for the JSS control systems for my civilian employer, so things are far enough along that I could tell you what the MCR consoles will probably look like.
 

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The strategic mobility problem for Canada is that, unlike the many, many other countries which do not have anything resembling strategic lift, Canada actually aspires to deploy forces globally - quickly.

This is solely a political aspiration; the Government of Canada wants to play in the big leagues, to be seen to punch above its weight whenever the government-of-the-day decides that its political fortunes might benefit from such a rapid, long-distance deployment - see East Timor and the recent Tsunami.  The government is, routinely, surprised when there is no way to get what few troops we have to wherever they are wanted.  The reason is: the cupboard is bare - this too is solely a political matter: the governments, of all stripes, decide to relegate the military and ballet companies to about the same level of support.

We are not a big league country - not by any stretch; we never were - not even at the end of World War II when we ranked third or fourth or fifth in absolute combat power.  We are, however, not in the little leagues either - certainly not in our national aspirations (which seem to be shared by the population at large) and not by any sensible measure of power (which, many believe, ought to be accompanied by a responsibility to protect).  We are, I guess, a Triple A country and we ought to have a Triple A military:

Appropriate for one of the world's top dozen or so nations - a leading middle power;

Available for operations (up to and including high intensity operations) on short notice, anywhere in the world; and

Adaptable - because neither governments nor strategic planners (like MGen Andy Leslie) nor even armchair analysts like me will be able to get the next war right.

We might add one more: Affordable.  In my view we can afford 2% of GDP, year-after-year and decade-after-decade, that $20 Billion, right now, which is nearly 150% of the current budget.

Strategic lift is necessary so long as the Government of Canada wants to deploy the CF here, there and everywhere that a fickle, publicity (now celebrity) driven public demands.  Therefore, it must be affordable, too, now.
 

tomahawk6

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Tactical airlift [helicopters] is a more pressing need. Strategic airlift can be leased on an as needed basis. An air mobile brigade could self deploy within Canada or be a valuable asset in theater.
 
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