Tuesday, July 10, 2007
American's Disturbed By Canadian Millitary Build-Up
Canada announced plans Monday to increase its Arctic military presence in an effort to assert sovereignty over the Northwest Passage - a potentially oil-rich region the United States claims is international territory.The Galloping Beaver points out that these new toy boats are neat but not what our military wants:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said six to eight patrol ships will guard what he says are Canadian waters. A deep water port will also be built in a region the U.S. Geological Survey estimates has as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.
"Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic. We either use it or lose it. And make no mistake, this government intends to use it," Harper said. "It is no exaggeration to say that the need to assert our sovereignty and protect our territorial integrity in the North on our terms have never been more urgent."
Steve Harper has done it again. Without a comprehensive defence review in place, without a white-paper and contradicting the methods laid out by the Canadian navy to secure the Arctic, he has decided to tell the navy what type of ships they will have to form a fleet.The federal government will fund the construction of six to eight new Arctic patrol ships to help reassert Canada's sovereignty over the North, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday.Based on the only existing defence policy the military has to use, the Canadian navy produced this strategic planning document entitled Leadmark: The Navy's Strategy for 2020. (Which has now disappeared from the navy's frontpage on the DND site.)
The ships will be custom-built, state of the art and made in Canada, Harper said during a ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt on Vancouver Island.
Nowhere in that document will you see a specific requirement identified by the navy for any ice-resistant ships. Which means that the Harper government has inverted the process and is now telling the navy, not what needs to be done, but exactly how to do it.
In truth, the Canadian navy would love to have Arctic patrol ships... after all other requirements and resource demands are met. They would also love to have the people to man them, or has it been lost on this government that there are really only nine crews to run twelve frigates?
Monday, July 09, 2007
My sense is that the Anbar tribes are both repelled by al Qaeda's excesses (ably chronicled here by Michael Yon) and see the US as a decent short-term ally in their eternal war with the Shia. So they're worth backing ... for a while. I've come to believe that the larger attempt to create a viable, normal state out of post-Saddam Iraq is a mug's game. Only a serious imperial power could do it - with sufficient troop levels (close to three times what we have available) and Saddam-levels of brutality. Our options are therefore now limited to the old enemy-of-my-enemy game. Mercifully, this is the Middle East, and so the supply of temporary, untrustworthy enemies of our enemies is close to endless. We should get out of Iraq central and try and play a smart game of picking the enemies-of-our-enemies-du-jour. Of course, a smart game requires another administration and another president. And you lose a war with the president you have, not the president you might like. Oh, and don't blame me. I endorsed the other guy.