Thursday, October 2, 2014

What the Canadian Military's Next Mission Should Be

Canada does not have the armed forces needed to make a difference in the Middle East.   It is too late to intervene in Ukraine.   But there is something our military could do.

Canada could open bases in Lativia, Lithuania and Estonia.    All three of these countries are small democracies neighbouring Russia.   They are very much under a potential threat from Russia.

The Russian government still does not seem to really respect them as being independent.  A good example of this is that Russia forced Estonia to surrender Ivangorod and Petseri even the two countries had an existing treaty recognizing both areas as being part of Estonia.   The Russian government treats the ethnic Russians in the three countries as their people to defend.  

Canada could permanently base 15 CF18s in the Baltics and a small army presence.  Maybe even a frigate.  These are not large enough numbers to stop a Russian invasion like in Crimea, Georgia or Ukraine but they serve different purpose, they are an effective shield for the countries.

Russia gets away with invading and occupying places like Ukranie and Georgia because the west sees the people in those countries as a bunch of poor foreigners.  If there are Canadian troops in the line of fire the Russians are going to think twice before trying to annex them.   One dead Canadian soldier would be a global PR disaster for the Russians.  Everyone in the world thinks Canadians are nice people, killing nice people is a media disaster.

Another important factor why this would work now and not have worked as well 20 years ago is because the reputation of the Canadian military had changed.   Back during the Bosnian civil war the Canadian military was seen as a body that would not intervene to save anyone ever.  After Afghanistan it is clear that the Canadian military knows how to defend civilians and will shoot and kill the bad guys.  

The Russians know Afghanistan and know how tough the territory the Canadian military was in.  They also know that the Canadians were popular with the population and suffered many times fewer causalities than the Soviets had because of that.

The Russians know the Canadian troops would shoot back and are the best snipers in the world.   With Canadians in the Baltics a Russian invasion would have to kill them to advance and this would destroy Putin's standing in all of the world.

The Canadian military can be an effective shield for the Baltics.  The mission is also one Canada could do without any other country.  Canada would not be a minor US partner in their latest adventure but setting our independent course in the defense of democracy and freedom.

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