Friday Two Cents: Peacekeeping or Peacemaking


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This week I am finishing up my course on Canadian Issues and one section made me think and have strong emotions about this country.  It had to deal with Canada’s move from peacekeeping to peacemaking.  We where discussing if this is a necessary direction for Canada’s foreign policy.  I think that it is.

By the United Nation’s own definition “UN ‘peacemaking’ brings hostile parties to agreement through diplomatic means”, so by doing this Canada is helping to spread peace around the world. However many believe that it involves sending in the troops to make the peace.  Not like peacekeeping, where you send in troops after the ceasefire is in place.

Yet I think that Canada’s involvement in all forms of peacemaking is a necessary direction for foreign policy.   The reason being, that after the end of the Cold War, Canada is under greater pressure because of military reform and natural resources that other nations covet. 

After the end of the Cold War many nations reorganized their military.  Partly because of the Soviet threat was gone but also because of budgeting restraints.  Canada focused on bringing down the national debt and other nations curtailed spending.

These reductions in military funding forced the countries into reorganizing their military. Many nations moved from the traditional large lightly armed model force to a smaller, specialized and mobile force.

With these smaller more mobile forces Canada still has to defend our sovereignty against other aggressive nations.  Aggressive actions from such countries like Spain and the European Union (EU) during the 1994-96 “Turbot War”.  They would not recognize Canada’s claim as agreed to by international agreements involving the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).  Or other nations lying claim to the far north such as Russia, United Sates (US), Japan, Denmark and Norway.

Some would argue against being involved, that we should not be part of NATO.   However I would ague that being part of NATO not only has obligations for Canada, such as what happened with the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan, but if other nations threaten us we have allies to come and help us too.  The world is looking at Canada as a nice big pie that they want to carve up and devour.   

Perhaps we need to remind the world that Canada has a proud military tradition and we are not afraid to defend ourselves.  That we will not be pushed around by anyone.  I would remind people around the world what the Germans called Canadian troops in World War One.  At the time they were our enemies but they respected and feared Canadians.  They referred to Canadian troops as special soldiers or Sturmtruppen meaning “thrust troops”. Translated into English as, “stormtroopers”.

English: Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monu...

English: Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monument, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monument

Reconciliation: The Peacekeeping Monument (Photo credit: Jamie McCaffrey)

 

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