Time to start governing?

major_general_lewis_mackenzieMajor General (retired) Lewis MacKenzie, a Canadian officer with considerable experience in UN peacekeeping offers some unsolicited advice to Team Trudeau in an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail:  “If we really want to help make the world a better place,” he says “Canada should forget the obsession about obtaining an expensive temporary seat on the Security Council, where it would have little influence and, dare I say, little prestige in the face of the five veto-holding permanent members. Instead, Canada should focus on increasing support to UN agencies that have been saving and improving lives around the world.

I’m afraid Major General MacKenzie’s advice will be ignored by Team Trudeau

… because they are taking their advice from people like this …

… not from people like Lew MacKenzie and other folks, like these, who actually understand how ineffectual the UN is at keeping the peace …

… and who understand what Canada might and can and cannot do to actually be useful in the complex, dangerous, environment which is low level, but bitter, and mostly intranational conflict in the 21st century. Reports say that Defence Minister Sajjan is in Africa, today, on a “fact finding mission;” let’s hope he actually learns some facts and then shares them with the “daydream believers” on Team Trudeau.

But Team Trudeau’s objective is not to “keep the peace,” or to “make a difference in the world” by helping the least fortunate in that world. The aim is to keep a couple of campaign promises and to be seen to be different from Prime Minister Harper. It is a phoney aim by a government of cynics, interested only in their own re-election. They, and everyone who voted for them should be ashamed.

Major General MacKenzie suggests that “UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the UN refugee commission and at least a dozen other UN agencies are indispensable in helping to deal with the chaos resulting from conflict and natural disasters. While it is perhaps less glamorous, enhancing Canadian support to such organizations would be more beneficial to the world than expending significant investment to try to gain a seat at the Security Council.” I would add that Canada could “take over” one or two of those organization’s projects in dangerous and difficult places ~ replacing UN management with (mostly) Canadians and augmenting UN staff with Canadian military, civil service and non-governmental organization people as necessary to do the job better than the UN is able to do because its bureaucracy is cumbersome, often inept and frequently corrupt.

It’s not exactly this …

… but, to be clear, that doesn’t exist anymore .. if it ever did.

The reality of keeping the peace in Africa is that it needs to be done by either the likes of the French Foreign Legion and British Army paras who are working, fighting and killing in pursuit of their own country’s narrow interests, or, potentially, by serious international peacekeeping forces which must, most likely, be led by countries like China and India and must have “robust,” very long term (almost colonial) mandates. That’s not the sort of mission which the small, inadequately equipped, underfunded and misunderstood (by politicians) Canadian Armed Forces are prepared ~ it would, as MGen (ret’d) MacKenzie says, require “Canada is not even capable of deploying half that number [the 4,600 troops we had deployed in the 1990s], and would be challenged to sustain a contingent one-quarter that size.” He’s right, of course, the Canadian Armed Forces could barely sustain 2,500 people in Afghanistan when that was, almost, the only operation underway; what can we offer now, when we already have ships, army troops and jet fighters, scattered in penny packets around Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and we spend less than 1% of GDP on defence?

But, I repeat, it’s not about realities or helping or keeping the peace … it’s all about campaigning. Maybe it’s time to stop campaigning and to start governing …

3 thoughts on “Time to start governing?”

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