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Is NATO still relevant?


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#1 LJ

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 07:26 PM

Interesting read...

 

https://www.cgai.ca/...sary_for_canada


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#2 lanforod

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 07:43 AM

Certainly interesting. What's the downside to keeping NATO going though?

#3 RFS

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 07:45 AM

NATO is fine as long as everyone pays their fair share.  UN on the other hand is totally defunct



#4 Wayne

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 07:52 AM

If NATO is required or called upon, they become relevant.

 

Much like that fire extinguisher under your sink/in the garage.



#5 AllseeingEye

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:32 AM

Jack Granatstein is a giant in Canadian military and political/strategic history so one always has to listen to and consider his perspective. He was required reading back when I was studying the subject at UVic and UBC thirty years ago.

 

That said from a Canadian standpoint NATO participation especially since 1968 when the Liberals infamously integrated the CAF, was always as much about having a (meaningful) seat at the political table with the Big Boys - capitalizing on the political optics that accrued as a result - as well as solidifying economic ties with allied states as it was about the military angle. Militarily within NATO we really haven't been a significant participant in nearly 50 years, when we maintained both a powerful ground and air presence in Central Europe, both of which were severely scaled back beginning with Trudeau senior.....

 

Fact is we've been at or near the top of the list of (military) 'non-contributors' in the latter sense since at least the 1970's, often ranking only above Luxembourg in terms of percentage of GDP devoted to Defence spending. The oft-quoted situation where Canada proudly boasted of having the fourth largest military post WWII was only because traditional powers like France, Japan, Germany and Italy were in a diminished state for obvious reasons. Their armies were shattered, air forces destroyed, and their naval fleets mostly sitting on the bottom of the seven seas. 

 

Optics are largely why for example Canada, even under that well known pacifist Msr Trudeau, has always spent whatever limited funds it chose to devote to DND specifically on the navy: destroyers and frigates being physically more impressive and far more visible and making for much better visual film/news clips than did solitary fighters or the odd tank. The image of a Canadian fleet unit - regardless of how old and outdated it might actually be compared to those ships of our allies - proudly leading the STANAVFORLANT ("Standing Naval Force Atlantic", before 2005, since known as Standing NATO Maritime Group One) - was always calculated to portray Canada as a much more important and relevant 'player' militarily than we've actually been since the mid-1960's.

 

As a former CFB base commander said to me a few years ago, referencing our "newest" ships the Halifax-class frigates - now mostly over 30 years old - the best option for them in a major shooting conflict involving the USN and presumably China or Russia, would be "to get the hell out of the way...in order to preserve as many Canadian lives as possible...." Granatstein's comments therefore are both valid and relevant.


Edited by AllseeingEye, 04 July 2018 - 08:46 AM.


#6 Cassidy

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:44 AM

It's time to dump the Americans from NATO, and leave the remaining member countries to move onto a war footing whereupon they can take care of themselves (including Canada).

 

I find this "tight" defense relationship Canada has with the Americans to be troubling, and have long felt that we need to disassociate ourselves from their blatantly different view of the world than the one held by most Canadians.

 

The Americans need to be booted out of NATO, and it's NORAD that needs to be disbanded completely. 



#7 Rob Randall

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:58 AM

Having dodgy nations like Turkey and Poland under the NATO wing is a good way to keep them in check.


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#8 RFS

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:08 AM

Having dodgy nations like Turkey and Poland under the NATO wing is a good way to keep them in check.

lmfao at Poland.  I guess declining millions of unvetted refugees and standing up to the EU makes you dodgy now



#9 Mike K.

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:09 AM

Dodgy nations like Poland?

Really?

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#10 Rob Randall

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:24 AM

Yeah, things are getting increasingly worrying with the government's meddling in the Supreme Court. They say it's to purge corrupt Commies but the side effect is they end up with a compliant court that has less independence. The EU has more influence here but I suppose NATO has a little bargaining power.

 

My point is NATO membership can be a handy carrot/stick if a country starts going off the rails.


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#11 RFS

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 09:28 AM

Yeah, things are getting increasingly worrying with the government's meddling in the Supreme Court. They say it's to purge corrupt Commies but the side effect is they end up with a compliant court that has less independence. The EU has more influence here but I suppose NATO has a little bargaining power.

 

My point is NATO membership can be a handy carrot/stick if a country starts going off the rails.

"Egad, this country doesn't abide by my post-modern, egalitarian, social justice moralizing!  Totally off the rails!"



#12 Mike K.

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 10:13 AM

Oh the horror of rooting out corruption and the lasting remnants of a Communist regime with tentacles in every facet of the country’s post-Communist era.

The only thing that’s dodgy is the EU’s attempt at meddling in the affairs of a sovereign nation, which, by the way, is one of only five NATO nations to fully fund its commitment.

The same can’t be said for the less dodgy France, Italy, Canada, Germany...

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#13 Rob Randall

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 10:43 AM

No matter where you are on the political spectrum the idea of a government rewriting the constitution to take away the independence of the Supreme Court is cause for concern. It doesn't necessarily mean the country is on the road to ruin and surely there are courts that suffer from corruption but still it's a trend you want to keep your eye on because it's a direction that history tells us usually doesn't end well.


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#14 Mike K.

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 11:37 AM

That's exactly what this is about, it's about corruption in the Supreme Court. Furthermore, this issue is none of the EU's business. But all you're reading in our "press" is how people are protesting the changes. Yes, they are, but the protesters are the minority.

 

Referring to a nation as "dodgy" because it doesn't conform to your ideals on a serious matter isn't helpful, especially when that country has a history of corrupt officials and is working hard to undo decades of wrong at the hands of corrupt loyalists to a ousted destructive regime.


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#15 jonny

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 12:31 PM

The only thing that’s dodgy is the EU’s attempt at meddling in the affairs of a sovereign nation, which, by the way, is one of only five NATO nations to fully fund its commitment. [because they have a pathetic GDP)

The same can’t be said for the less dodgy France, Italy, Canada, Germany...

 

I assume you're referring to the silly % of GDP spend on defense metric?

 

Canada spends almost double what Poland spends on defense, despite having roughly the same population.

 

Italy spends 4x what Poland spends. France spends over 4x what Poland spends on defense. Germany spends almost 5 times what Poland spends.

 

Look, I think Canada should spend more on defense. I also think spending a certain percent of GDP on defense is perhaps an interesting target, but also a ridiculous metric to draw the line at.

 

As to the question? Should NATO continue to exists? **** yeah, because: Russia. Because the western way of life and our shared values are worth defending.


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#16 Mike K.

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 02:04 PM

Yeah, a World War followed by a Communist takeover tends to meddle with a country's GDP, that's for sure, and I'm glad you noticed. It also doesn't help when a country is overrun by corrupt officials, but working to deal with that makes that country dodgy.


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#17 AllseeingEye

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 02:56 PM

I assume you're referring to the silly % of GDP spend on defense metric?

 

Canada spends almost double what Poland spends on defense, despite having roughly the same population.

 

Italy spends 4x what Poland spends. France spends over 4x what Poland spends on defense. Germany spends almost 5 times what Poland spends.

 

Look, I think Canada should spend more on defense. I also think spending a certain percent of GDP on defense is perhaps an interesting target, but also a ridiculous metric to draw the line at.

 

As to the question? Should NATO continue to exists? **** yeah, because: Russia. Because the western way of life and our shared values are worth defending.

I agree mostly with this Jonny but to clarify its actually the opposite; Poland currently spends about 1.9% of its GDP on its military whereas Canada spends a paltry 1.2% (figures based on 2016-17 World Bank calculations on global military spending).

 

As to the NATO '2%' defence spend caveat, that target was informally agreed to by the alliance in 2004, based on NATO’s own calculations of the median level of spending for its member-states since the end of the cold war. NATO reaffirmed the 2 per cent goal in 2014 in the light of regular cuts to the military budgets of many European states since 2004, conflicts in the Middle East, and Russian military activity in Ukraine.

 

NATO members are currently expected, although are not required, to maintain a level of military spending equivalent to 2 per cent of their GDP. Canada not surprisingly has a very long row to hoe in order to meet even that modest expectation.

 

Our current military is woefully underfunded and under-equipped in virtually all facets of its operations, save perhaps artillery, armored fighting vehicles and maybe helicopters.

 

The navy especially is in a very poor state, and we have somewhere south of 60 attack-fighter aircraft in the entire country. Last time I checked the whole Canadian army - by which I mean actual combatants/fighting boots on the ground and not including clerks, cooks or admin staff - couldn't even fill Rogers Arena, which seats 18,xxx people. Put another way the entire CAF manpower for active duty personnel in uniform is currently about 60,000 men and women,  plus another 24,000 warm bodies in various reserve units spread out across this vast nation. By contrast Washington State - all by itself - has almost 50,0000 active duty US military and reserve personnel including 27,000 army troops (not including US marines or national guard reservists BTW), and almost as many naval personnel (11,000+) as are in the entire RCN.



#18 Casual Kev

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 06:56 PM

Poland is poorer so obviously it shouldn't be expected to pitch in as much per capita than us. They could be a bit iffy though, what their ruling party is doing would be analogous to Horgan wanting to purge the provincial courts from Liberal era judges because of the party's generalized corruption, strongly implying he'd replace them with SJWs and granola extremists. But then again, Turkey is still in NATO so I'm sure the Poles have a long rope.

#19 Rob Randall

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 08:03 PM

 They could be a bit iffy though, what their ruling party is doing would be analogous to Horgan wanting to purge the provincial courts from Liberal era judges because of the party's generalized corruption, strongly implying he'd replace them with SJWs and granola extremists.

 

Exactly. I don't know why some find it necessary to reduce this complex issue to simplistic partisanship.

 

Anyway, Poland would love it if the US opened an army base on Polish land. Poles know Russia wants nothing more than to go back to the good old days of the Warsaw Pact and if Poland is part of that, voluntarily or otherwise Putin would be a happy man. So having a locked and loaded US base gives security to a country that has seen more or less a thousand years of oppression. 

 

Regardless, no matter how wonky a country's judicial system it's always better if they are an arm's length away from the executive branch.


Edited by Rob Randall, 04 July 2018 - 08:12 PM.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

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#20 Mike K.

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 07:34 AM

A thousand years of oppression? Not quite.

What’s with this half-baked Polish history and political debate? The sudden media onslaught over the Supreme Court issue has made everyone an overnight expert on a decade-long agenda and Polish geopolitical issues. The recent media articles that all come and go with the tide read like the Swiss cheese version of a Coles Notes retelling of recent political events. It’s eye opening seeing the difference between our own country’s media’s dumbed down retelling of what’s happening in Poland and what’s actually happening in Poland.

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