God keep our Land
[What follows was written before the comments last week. Similarly, next week’s post.]
The West describes Putin as former KGB (aka Chekist). Putin says: “there are no former Chekists.”
A recent publicly-released white paper titled, “Russian Strategic Intentions” takes the position that Putin is pursuing three goals: 1) rebuild the Soviet Union, 2) regain superpower status, and 3) defeat the West.
My summary: The Kremlin is making headway primarily through the use of paramilitary forces and proxies, interference in political processes, economic exploitation, espionage, media manipulation, and the threat of military intervention. Russian civilian institutions and military formations are integrated elements in these operations. Russia has the advantage in espionage and propaganda. The West has the advantage in military strength through NATO – for now. Changing the NATO-Russia military balance is therefore another prong of the Russian attack. Turkey is in NATO. Russia and Turkey are buddies. Putin will support Trump, in part, because Trump is anti-NATO but mostly because he wants an end to the US sanctions on Russia. Many former USSR countries are now NATO members though the Ukraine is not. Russia has not forgotten. The Russian military is rebuilding and avoiding outright military engagement – for now. Cold War 2.0 has already begun, it will continue for the foreseeable future, and the Chekists have a running start. Like Putin said, they never really left the field.
We are already at war and this is what that means for Canada:
Overt Russian proposals to Canada for Arctic cooperation are very likely. A Liberal or NDP government would nurture cooperation – according to their platforms – but a Conservative government would resist – they have said so. Covert Russian efforts in support of Liberal and NDP election success are probable not only to decrease Canada-Russia resistance but also to exacerbate Canada-US differences.
More Russian surface, sub-surface, and airborne incursions in our three oceans are likely. We either respond or we give up the Arctic. Will the US respond? It is a tough decision for them. Treaty versus policy. NORAD versus an open Arctic. Ally versus ally. All to the benefit of Russia – at her minimal cost.
A need for an increased Canadian capability in counterespionage and counterpropaganda. The new Defence Policy enhances our intelligence capability, but I am concerned about the oversight structure, the division of responsibilities, and that our counterespionage capability is both underdeveloped and hampered by legislation. Parliamentary indecision and inaction are probable. Too little, too late.
Significant Russian private sector investment in Canadian manufacturing will be offered.
I predict that Canadians will be slow to recognize, acknowledge, and accept the reality, that there will be bitter political arguments playing upon a peace/war divide, that Parliament will be handicapped, and that the Canadian response will be ineffective. Distractions will include an emphasis on defeating climate change, a false tradition of being peacekeepers not warfighters, and an increased reliance on our unique tri-lateral domestic governance.
All will consume words, time, and money, and none will address the threat. The consequences of global warming are more important than global warming itself. Better warfighters are better peacekeepers. Global geopolitics require a united domestic front.
The new battlespace is Canada, but we will be alone as the only active NATO member on this side of the Atlantic at a time when Europe is facing East. Geographically, we stand between Russia and the USA and we are in their way. They may approach us as friends, but their goal comes only from their self-interest. Meanwhile, China is also in our Arctic and within our borders – making headway without making waves.
An antelope alone on the savannah: “I was just grazing, like normal, and then, when I looked up, the herd was gone … and I got this feeling … you know … like something was looking at me … and, not having any other option, I placed my fate in the hands of my god.”