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Canada - The Last Super Power

GR66

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We're worried for nothing...according to this Op Ed from the Divergent Options website Canada is poised to be the next Super Power.


Assessing that Canada will be the Last Superpower​

85857e489c8b6e731f0a9d512b2f7f99

Posted byDivergent Options
June 6, 2022
Sharon Burke is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense and is currently the President of Ecospherics, a Washington, DC-based research and advisory organization focusing on environmental security. She can be found on Twitter @burkese and occasionally writes for the website tipofthesphere.substack.com and The Boston Globe. Divergent Options’ content does not contain information of an official nature nor does the content represent the official position of any government, any organization, or any group.

Title: Assessing that Canada will be the Last Superpower
Date Originally Written: May 26, 2022.
Date Originally Published: June 6, 2022.
Author and / or Article Point of View: The author is a former U.S. defense official who believes that natural resource issues and industrial age legacy pollution will be shaping factors for the 21st century strategic landscape.
Summary: If the world’s industrial nations fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the near term, global environmental conditions will likely become increasingly inhospitable for human societies throughout the 21st and 22nd centuries. Canada, with its cold climate, vast territory, “green” mineral wealth, stable political culture, and its relative inaccessibility has the best prospects for adapting to a more extreme climate and becoming the next superpower, perhaps by default.
Text: Even as global consensus about climate change has strengthened, greenhouse gas emissions have steadily increased[1]. Absent an abrupt geopolitical about face toward a massive global economic transformation[2], climate change will continue unabated for centuries to come. And while the Earth has experienced significant climate variability throughout its 4.5-billion-year geological history[3], humanity has not[4]. Whether the changes unfurl slowly over the next 50-200 years or suddenly if certain tipping points occur[5], the effects and impacts will hit all parts of the globe, if unevenly within countries and across regions[6]. Populations in sub-tropical, tropical, and dry or desert regions, for example, are already struggling with high heat[7] and changes in precipitation[8], which result in everything from adverse human health impacts to prolonged droughts to an increase in wildfires. In disadvantaged communities or countries with weak underlying political, legal, social, and economic foundations, these conditions can be unaffordable and destabilizing[9].
The current “Great Powers,” the United States and China, are relatively well positioned to manage climate change, both in terms of adaptive capacity and the comparatively mild, mid-latitudes climate. Both countries, however, have vulnerable communities as well as dry and sub-tropical areas that are likely to be heavily impacted by high heat and volatile weather, with the possibility of significant internal displacement[10]. In addition, shifts in access to resources, including water, arable land, energy, and critical minerals, will likely challenge economic growth and social cohesion for both nations[11].
While countries in the most northern latitudes will also have to contend with access to resources and more volatile natural conditions, including sea level rise[12], shifts in precipitation, and extreme weather events, they have more potential to absorb shocks. Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland currently rank among the most stable countries in the world[13], the most resilient to climate change[14], and all have low population density, given the cold temperatures and harsh conditions in much of their territory. These Arctic and boreal regions are warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the world[15], and the land left behind by retreating ice and melting permafrost may eventually be suitable for agriculture, forestry, and habitation. While the rest of the world will be struggling with managed and chaotic retreat from increasingly uninhabitable areas, the northern countries may well be contending with a managed advance into new territory. Though to be sure, this advance would be highly disruptive, too, given the release of additional greenhouse gases and destruction of existing Arctic ecosystems and native cultures.
Based upon the above mentioned global environmental conditions, Canada has the potential to not only adapt but emerge a superpower. The world’s second largest country, Canada’s population is today almost entirely clustered along the southern border. The vast majority of the land mass is uninhabited or lightly populated by indigenous peoples uniquely adapted to current, disappearing conditions. With the world’s longest coastline, Canada will have entirely new sea lines of communication through the Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, Canada’s only contiguous neighbor is the United States, which will be dealing with climate displaced populations but is unlikely to have as much northward out migration as more heavily impacted areas with lower adaptive capacity, such as sub-Saharan Africa. Canada also has significant natural resources, including digital age minerals critical to modern military and energy technology and agricultural adaptation[16]. Again, no country will be immune to the negative effects of climate change, but with a stable, migrant-friendly political culture, Canada has the potential to manage this transition better than any other nation. As a high north country, Russia should enjoy these relative advantages, too, but the rigidity of their authoritarian form of government, the opportunity cost of their bellicosity, proximity to highly affected populations, lack of preparation for climate change, including the disruption to infrastructure built on permafrost, and unwelcoming culture for migrants all suggest a declining power.
The United States faces a range of options for how to deal with the geopolitics of climate change. First, it is always an option to do nothing, and either hope that the projections and models are incorrect, or that the current adaptive capacity in the United States is sufficient. Early experiences with extreme weather attributed to climate change suggest this would not be a prudent choice[17]. Fatalism is also an option – the scope and scale of the economic transformation required to change course is daunting and arguably infeasible, though such fatalism could prove devastating for an already fractious and restive polity. Another option is for the United States to place the highest domestic and foreign policy priority on expediting global cuts in greenhouse gasses. That would involve significantly larger outlays for research and development and climate-resilient economic development at home and around the world, but may present unacceptable opportunity costs for other priorities, such as strategic competition with China. Another option is to focus resources only on adaptation to changing conditions, which ultimately is another form of fatalism. The United States could also pursue a mixed option, making energy transition investments, including in the diversification of critical minerals supplies, and also building resilience and preparedness for shifting weather patterns. Across all options, the United States could consider deepening the bilateral relationship with its closest ally, Canada, given the country’s relative strength for a disrupted future.
Note that this is a highly speculative assessment, given that this level of environmental change is unprecedented for humanity, and a thawing cryosphere will have unpredictable consequences[18].
 

GK .Dundas

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We're worried for nothing...according to this Op Ed from the Divergent Options website Canada is poised to be the next Super Power.

Assessing that Canada will be the Last Superpower​

85857e489c8b6e731f0a9d512b2f7f99

Posted byDivergent Options
June 6, 2022
Sharon Burke is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense and is currently the President of Ecospherics, a Washington, DC-based research and advisory organization focusing on environmental security. She can be found on Twitter @burkese and occasionally writes for the website tipofthesphere.substack.com and The Boston Globe. Divergent Options’ content does not contain information of an official nature nor does the content represent the official position of any government, any organization, or any group.

Title: Assessing that Canada will be the Last Superpower
Date Originally Written: May 26, 2022.
Date Originally Published: June 6, 2022.
Author and / or Article Point of View: The author is a former U.S. defense official who believes that natural resource issues and industrial age legacy pollution will be shaping factors for the 21st century strategic landscape.
Summary: If the world’s industrial nations fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the near term, global environmental conditions will likely become increasingly inhospitable for human societies throughout the 21st and 22nd centuries. Canada, with its cold climate, vast territory, “green” mineral wealth, stable political culture, and its relative inaccessibility has the best prospects for adapting to a more extreme climate and becoming the next superpower, perhaps by default.
Text: Even as global consensus about climate change has strengthened, greenhouse gas emissions have steadily increased[1]. Absent an abrupt geopolitical about face toward a massive global economic transformation[2], climate change will continue unabated for centuries to come. And while the Earth has experienced significant climate variability throughout its 4.5-billion-year geological history[3], humanity has not[4]. Whether the changes unfurl slowly over the next 50-200 years or suddenly if certain tipping points occur[5], the effects and impacts will hit all parts of the globe, if unevenly within countries and across regions[6]. Populations in sub-tropical, tropical, and dry or desert regions, for example, are already struggling with high heat[7] and changes in precipitation[8], which result in everything from adverse human health impacts to prolonged droughts to an increase in wildfires. In disadvantaged communities or countries with weak underlying political, legal, social, and economic foundations, these conditions can be unaffordable and destabilizing[9].
The current “Great Powers,” the United States and China, are relatively well positioned to manage climate change, both in terms of adaptive capacity and the comparatively mild, mid-latitudes climate. Both countries, however, have vulnerable communities as well as dry and sub-tropical areas that are likely to be heavily impacted by high heat and volatile weather, with the possibility of significant internal displacement[10]. In addition, shifts in access to resources, including water, arable land, energy, and critical minerals, will likely challenge economic growth and social cohesion for both nations[11].
While countries in the most northern latitudes will also have to contend with access to resources and more volatile natural conditions, including sea level rise[12], shifts in precipitation, and extreme weather events, they have more potential to absorb shocks. Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland currently rank among the most stable countries in the world[13], the most resilient to climate change[14], and all have low population density, given the cold temperatures and harsh conditions in much of their territory. These Arctic and boreal regions are warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the world[15], and the land left behind by retreating ice and melting permafrost may eventually be suitable for agriculture, forestry, and habitation. While the rest of the world will be struggling with managed and chaotic retreat from increasingly uninhabitable areas, the northern countries may well be contending with a managed advance into new territory. Though to be sure, this advance would be highly disruptive, too, given the release of additional greenhouse gases and destruction of existing Arctic ecosystems and native cultures.
Based upon the above mentioned global environmental conditions, Canada has the potential to not only adapt but emerge a superpower. The world’s second largest country, Canada’s population is today almost entirely clustered along the southern border. The vast majority of the land mass is uninhabited or lightly populated by indigenous peoples uniquely adapted to current, disappearing conditions. With the world’s longest coastline, Canada will have entirely new sea lines of communication through the Arctic Ocean. Furthermore, Canada’s only contiguous neighbor is the United States, which will be dealing with climate displaced populations but is unlikely to have as much northward out migration as more heavily impacted areas with lower adaptive capacity, such as sub-Saharan Africa. Canada also has significant natural resources, including digital age minerals critical to modern military and energy technology and agricultural adaptation[16]. Again, no country will be immune to the negative effects of climate change, but with a stable, migrant-friendly political culture, Canada has the potential to manage this transition better than any other nation. As a high north country, Russia should enjoy these relative advantages, too, but the rigidity of their authoritarian form of government, the opportunity cost of their bellicosity, proximity to highly affected populations, lack of preparation for climate change, including the disruption to infrastructure built on permafrost, and unwelcoming culture for migrants all suggest a declining power.
The United States faces a range of options for how to deal with the geopolitics of climate change. First, it is always an option to do nothing, and either hope that the projections and models are incorrect, or that the current adaptive capacity in the United States is sufficient. Early experiences with extreme weather attributed to climate change suggest this would not be a prudent choice[17]. Fatalism is also an option – the scope and scale of the economic transformation required to change course is daunting and arguably infeasible, though such fatalism could prove devastating for an already fractious and restive polity. Another option is for the United States to place the highest domestic and foreign policy priority on expediting global cuts in greenhouse gasses. That would involve significantly larger outlays for research and development and climate-resilient economic development at home and around the world, but may present unacceptable opportunity costs for other priorities, such as strategic competition with China. Another option is to focus resources only on adaptation to changing conditions, which ultimately is another form of fatalism. The United States could also pursue a mixed option, making energy transition investments, including in the diversification of critical minerals supplies, and also building resilience and preparedness for shifting weather patterns. Across all options, the United States could consider deepening the bilateral relationship with its closest ally, Canada, given the country’s relative strength for a disrupted future.
Note that this is a highly speculative assessment, given that this level of environmental change is unprecedented for humanity, and a thawing cryosphere will have unpredictable consequences[18].
If this has any validity whatsoever I don't see us as the last superpower but perhaps rather the last battlefield .
 

rmc_wannabe

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If this has any validity whatsoever I don't see us as the last superpower but perhaps rather the last battlefield .
I have a lot of Mad Max: Fury Road vibes at the thought of us controlling the vast amounts of drinkable water in the world. its a scary thought.
 

Brad Sallows

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You could just skip to the end where the "epistemic status" is revealed, and bin the information accordingly without wasting time.

"Note that this is a highly speculative assessment"
 

GR66

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You could just skip to the end where the "epistemic status" is revealed, and bin the information accordingly without wasting time.

"Note that this is a highly speculative assessment"
But that takes all the fun out of it!
 

Brad Sallows

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Not if it's the kind of fun you like to read. I enjoy reading "origin" theories about the great mysteries of history (Atlantis myths, pyramid myths), for example, but there's a reason for the derogatory "pyramidiot" term. Unfortunately most authors are disinclined to put "this is largely stuff pulled out of my ass" at the top of their work to alert readers.
 

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Canada is missing about 63 million things to be a proper "superpower". People. We need to have a population of about a 100 million.

I have few worries about Canada in the future, we're relatively isolated from the vast majority of the ills of the world and have buffer resources to give us time to adjust should we need to. But superpower... that's a stretch.
 

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We'd also need a government/political party willing to commit to a grand strategy or vision for the country, instead of myopically focussing on "winning the next election" ...
Honestly, we are doing fine. Grand strategy is only needed when you are a superpower or have international responsibilities. I'm happy for Canada to not be a mover and shaker. Just sitting here doing fine and being smug about it. Dealing with the internal family squabbles and not having to worry the country next door wanting to build their fence over the property line.

My family is educated, fed, healthy, and has first-world problems. Great place to live.
 

rmc_wannabe

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Honestly, we are doing fine. Grand strategy is only needed when you are a superpower or have international responsibilities. I'm happy for Canada to not be a mover and shaker. Just sitting here doing fine and being smug about it. Dealing with the internal family squabbles and not having to worry the country next door wanting to build their fence over the property line.

My family is educated, fed, healthy, and has first-world problems. Great place to live.
Until.

And that's the huge problem with being internalized and isolationist. We can only tout how awesome we are and how everything is coming up Canada for so long before our allies wonder what's in it for them anymore, and our enemies wonder what's there for the taking.

We have seen Russia and China exert their hostage diplomacy in pursuit of resources and influence. It's only a matter of time before they start poking around our back 40.
 

Underway

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Until.

And that's the huge problem with being internalized and isolationist. We can only tout how awesome we are and how everything is coming up Canada for so long before our allies wonder what's in it for them anymore, and our enemies wonder what's there for the taking.

We have seen Russia and China exert their hostage diplomacy in pursuit of resources and influence. It's only a matter of time before they start poking around our back 40.

Give me a logical COA where Russia or China actually give so much of a crap about Canada that they are willing to risk US wrath from seriously poking their nose into the US sphere of influence. Russia and China can't touch us. They can't get here, they can't cripple our economy, they can't really hold us hostage, and can only nibble at the margins at best, lash out on trade a bit, arrest citizens and that's about it. Nothing really serious.

If China and Russia cared about Canada then they have made a grave strategic mistake by focusing on us instead of each other. We can afford to be "internalized and isolated" because we don't matter.

Canada's main strategic threats are internal, not external.
 

GK .Dundas

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I suspect that both the current and previous administration wouldn't know their sphere ofnt influence from a hole in the ground. At least the occupants of the oval office at any rate.
An isolationist US would be a disaster on more than a few levels for us.
And by the way before anyone brings up "We're too big they can't invade much less and occupy ."
They don't have to , they just have to fuck us up real bad.
 
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Canada and superpower are two words that don't belong together in the same sentence. We're fine as a middle power. Superpower means you have a military capable of defending and keeping it. We don't have that. We have lots of citizens with guns that will be looking to help. Our forlorn hope is our hunters and target shooters. At least for now, but those guns can't be counted on. Not with the grits coming around trying to steal them. Nor have we got any idea how many terrorists have illegally entered the country and this government isn't looking for them either.

If, we become a superpower, that means the rest of the world has imploded and we run the risk of someone just coming and taking it away from us.

Just my opinion, but I have zero trust in our current red and orange grit government to do any of the right thing for Canadians. I'm a native Canadian. I love my country.

I hate my government.

We are not doing fine and there is no reason to feel smug. Runaway inflation, uncontrolled immigration, too many people on social services, exceptionally poor mental health identification and treatment and an authoritarian government that only sees Canadians as a source of revenue and could care less about them. Let's not worry about being attacked, when we have a government set on destroying Canada and her resources themselves.
 

Good2Golf

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Quick! FINTRAC Sharon Burke’s bank account! I think WE Charity, or perhaps SNC Lavelin, has been paying for advertorials.
 

rmc_wannabe

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Give me a logical COA where Russia or China actually give so much of a crap about Canada that they are willing to risk US wrath from seriously poking their nose into the US sphere of influence.
They already have and already are. The Huawei debacle comes to mind. Same with the high amount of Troll Factory disinformation that was being pumped into the Freedom Convoy...

If China and Russia cared about Canada then they have made a grave strategic mistake by focusing on us instead of each other. We can afford to be "internalized and isolated" because we don't matter.
We like to assume we don't matter. Our geography and our geology say otherwise. We hold the majority of fresh water in the world, we have some of the largest deposits of uranium and cobalt, as well as lithium. There is still a lot of oil left in the tar sands that will be valuable in manufacturing, even if we aren't fueling cars with it. Even then, shipping routes to Europe are cheaper through the NW Passage than going around. China has already stated desire for route access to what they say is "International waters."

We're only as isolated as we like to assume we are. Others don't play by the same rules.

Canada's main strategic threats are internal, not external.
So we're Ukraine's for a little bit... until they were revealed to be external. China and Russia have learned how to conduct a kind of asymmetrical warfare we haven't: extortion, exploitation, and "make it look like someone else did it..."
 

Spencer100

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Canada's main strategic threat is too much attention on dividing pies, and too little on growing them. Short-term, voters think they are being well-served. Long-term, Canadians end up poor compared to growth-focused countries.
That's it in a nut shell.

Plus the water thing is the biggest red herring. There is lots of water in the world. Much of it in places people are not is the problem. It would be cheaper to grab ice from the poles than bother with Canadians. There will not be water wars ever.
 
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