Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Time to put on your thinking cap

Babble on.

One of the token lefties on my blogroll, Treehugger, is soliciting informed opinions on the role of Canada's military going forward. One of the things I like about TH is that this isn't a rhetorical question to score cheap points, or an excuse to launch into a partisan tirade against some perceived position or other, or a traffic-generating blogospheric stunt - it's an honest question from an honest guy.

And while the question is almost unreasonably broad, this is a worthwhile discussion to have - especially since it's taking place outside the cloistered conservative quarters of the blogosphere. Canadians across the political spectrum should be able to take a justifiable position on this pressing issue, listen to differing viewpoints, and come away with a better understanding of both their own ground and the other guy's.

So go weigh in.

Babble off.


At 3:40 p.m., Blogger Timmy the G said...

Very true, Damian. The time has come for a wide-ranging discussion on the future of our military and the role we want it to play in the world. I wish it was the general public and not just us bloggers who are interested in it.

I've babbled (to borrow your phrase) on my blog lately about soft power, but it is long since time to see what role hard power will play in our future.

The first step is convincing the general public our military is worth spending several billion more on. Not easy in this country, I'm afraid.

At 4:04 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Timmy, I'm glad you see the need to discuss how the CF should fit into Canada's foreign and domestic policies.

After having read your post on 'soft power', I think you and I think of the term differently. When you think 'soft power', I'm guessing you think 'diplomacy' (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). Diplomacy is good. Diplomacy should always be the first and most-used tool in a nation's international affairs toolbox. That's why thoughtful observers have always taken the position that defence policy is subordinate to the necessarily-broader foreign policy of a nation.

Conservatives don't think of 'diplomacy' when we hear the phrase 'soft power' - we think of Lloyd Axworthy posturing while other diplomats' eyes glaze over with boredom. To us, 'soft power' means that's the only tool in your toolbox - like the British bobbies: "Stop!...or I'll yell 'Stop!' again!" We bemoan the fact that Canadian diplomacy is less effective than it might otherwise be, because we lack any capacity for action in support of our vaunted 'soft power'.

Maybe I shouldn't be speaking for anyone other than myself, though: I hate the phrase 'soft power' because it connotes a lack of any other option to me, and I find that position irresponsible.

At 7:27 p.m., Blogger Mike P said...

There are two experts, among others, in my opinion, whose expertise should be used to formulate a future strategy for our Armed Forces. They are former Gen Lewis MacKenzie and our new Chief of the defense Staff, Rick Hillier. For a change let military people decide what's best for the Armed Forces, not some bureaucrat. And who better than those two.


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