Mark Collins – Fall 2016 Issue of CGAI’s “The Dispatch”

The table of contents:

Message from the Editor

Brexit, the Anglosphere and Canada 

The Obama Moment—Defence Spending Does Matter, eh!

Are Canada’s Digital Security Policies Being Decided in Washington?

Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy: Time for a Reset! 

Time for Canada to Shine in Space Diplomacy

For Today’s Peacekeeping, Prepare for War

NATO and Canada’s National Interests

Reviewing the Summer of the Defence Review

The Inevitable End of the Turkish-Western Alliance

New Canadian Government Talking the Talk on Climate Change

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – New(ish) Philippines President Takes On US

The fellow is really (foolishly?) feeling his oats–at Foreign Policy‘s “Situation Report”:

Manilla turning everything on its head. If Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte makes good on his threats to walk away from his country’s 65-year-old alliance with the United States, FP’s Dan De Luce writes in a great piece on the latest South China Sea headache for the Obama administration, “the first casualty would likely be the U.S. military mission there, which has become a model for successful counterterrorism operations worldwide.”

Duterte has already warned that the U.S. military contingent of several hundred troops has to go, and on Wednesday [Sept. 28] said an upcoming joint military exercise would be the last with the United States. But his threat to push out the team of up to 100 U.S. Special Operations Forces, along with an additional 300 to 500 American conventional troops, “comes as concerns mount in Washington and Southeast Asia about the Islamic State’s efforts to spread its tentacles in the region,” De Luce says…

Remember those two Canadian hostages beheaded by ISIS-affiliate  Abu Sayyaf rebels in the Philippines. The president, for his part, appears to have his own penchant for extrajudicial killing.


South China Sea Update: Scarborough Shoal, China and Philippines

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Canada Should Just Say “Yes” to Missile Defence, Cont’d (plus Russian cruise missile threat)

Further to these posts,

Canada Should Just Say “Yes” to Missile Defence, North Korea in Mind

A retired Canadian diplomat, most recently our government’s political adviser to NORAD’s (and US NORTHCOM’s) American commander, makes the case…

“Time to say ‘yes’ to a missile shield, Canada”
[note first comment on RCN and missile defence]

a House of Commons committee weighs in sensibly:

Canadian Debate Reprises Over Role in US Missile Shield
By: David Pugliese [good digging]…

A Canadian parliamentary committee has recommended the government reconsider its earlier rejection to contribute to US missile defense, moving participation in the ground-based system to protect North America one step closer to reality.

In 2005, then-Prime Minister Paul Martin of the Liberal Party declined to take part in the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system, despite being lobbied directly by US President George W. Bush. At the time Canada reaffirmed its support for the US as a military ally but noted it did not want to focus on missile defense.

But potential participation in the system is now back on the agenda, this time being pushed by the current Liberal Party government.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said a defense review, now underway, is examining whether Canada should play a role in the US system. Former Liberal Party defense minister Bill Graham, an advocate for Canadian participation in the system, is one of the advisors on the review.

That view also now has support from the House of Commons defense committee.

In a newly released report it has recommended that the defense review reconsider Canada’s previous position not to take part; it has also suggested the country’s research and development capabilities be considered in any new role in ballistic missile defense.

In the 100 page report, titled “Canada and the Defence of North America [NORAD and Aerial Readiness]” [see here],” the committee also recommended the Canadian government recognize the proliferation of cruise missiles [see end of the post], as well as related emerging technologies, and “take the necessary action to protect Canada from this threat.”

Canada could contribute sites for interceptors or radars for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system, according to Canadian military officers. Another potential contribution is a multi-purpose sensor system in Arctic which could not only track ballistic missiles but also ships and aircraft in the region. That capability could be one of Canada’s major future contributions to the joint US-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD [see from 2015: “The Bear’s Bears: New NORAD Radars for Canadian North…“]…

And, as noted at the top of the post, perhaps some of the RCN’s planned Canadian Surface Combatants could be given an ABM capability, at least radar tracking if not actual missile firing–NORAD would surely welcome that. As for cruise missiles:

NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”? Part 2
[note the links at the end]

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Oh, Oh! Indian Troops Raid Pakistani Kashmir

Further to this post,

The Asian Military Cockpit, Kashmir Section

matters are indeed getting pretty hairy:

India says hits Pakistan-based militants, escalating tension

Indian officials said elite troops crossed into Pakistan-ruled Kashmir on Thursday [Sept. 29] and killed suspected militants preparing to infiltrate and carry out attacks on major cities, in a surprise raid that raised tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan said two of its soldiers had been killed in exchanges of fire, but denied India had made any targeted strikes across the de facto frontier that runs through the disputed Himalayan territory.

Indian special forces crossed the heavily militarized border by foot just after midnight and hit about half a dozen “launching pads”, where the suspected militants were preparing to sneak across, an Indian military source and a government official said.

The official said troops killed militants numbering in the double digits, and that no Indian soldier was killed.

An army official based in Indian-controlled Kashmir said two Indian soldiers were wounded while returning from the raid – one stepped on a landmine and another was shot.

The strikes mark a rare public announcement by India that it had launched a military operation across its de factor border with Pakistan.

They followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s warning that those India held responsible “would not go unpunished” for a Sept. 18 attack on an army base in Uri, near the Line of Control, that killed 18 soldiers.

The strikes also raised the possibility of military escalation between the neighbors that could wreck a 2003 Kashmir ceasefire.

India evacuated people from villages within 10 km of the de facto border in the Jammu area as a precautionary measure…

Keep watching that space.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Forget Brexit, Western Economic Growth Sucks

Dismal, dismal, dismal (Neil Young in mind)–assuming the Rising Sun is Western–a tweet:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – B.C. LNG Heartbreak Averted, for Now–Will Petronas et al. Go Ahead?

Further to this post,

B.C. LNG Heartbreak, Petronas Section

will the consortium of government-owned Asian companies led by the Malaysians actually green light the project? Market conditions are not particularly propitious:

Federal Liberals approve Petronas LNG project in B.C. — with numerous conditions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has approved Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s $36 billion Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas project on British Columbia’s Pacific coast.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement near Vancouver late Tuesday [Sept. 27]. It was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first decision on a major energy project after a pro-environment campaign swept him to power last year.

The project is “an important opportunity to grow our economy and shows how we are rebuilding Canadians’ trust in our environmental assessment process,” McKenna said.

The approval comes just as developers are shelving multibillion-dollar gas export projects from Australia to the U.S. amid weakening demand in Asia and Europe. Shipping consultants Poten & Partners forecast in March that at least a quarter of global LNG production would be “homeless” by 2021 as supplies surge.

The federal government placed 190 conditions on the project approval, which Petronas will have to meet in order to proceed. The conditions include a cap on carbon gas emissions. Petronas has said it will review the project after the government decision, which Trudeau had given himself until Oct. 2 to make.

No Guarantee

Carr has said the government would make its decision without any guarantees from the Malaysian state-owned energy company that the project would actually be built.

Pacific NorthWest includes an LNG facility on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert and a related gas pipeline and upstream components. It would ultimately produce up to 19.2 million metric tons a year of LNG, or what the company describes as up to one LNG tanker’s capacity each day.

The project was strongly supported by British Columbia’s provincial government, but local indigenous groups were divided amid concerns about its impact on salmon habitat. Trudeau had campaigned on stronger indigenous consultation.
Earlier on Tuesday, opponents of the project said they expected it to be approved and pledged legal action.

‘Adamant Opposition’

The best of British Columbian luck to the province. More here, here, and here (“Petronas in no rush to start”). Now what about those  pesky pipelines to carry product from the Alberta oil sands?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – “White House to Pentagon: You will now use new, nicer talking points on China”

Further to these posts,

South China Sea: Why is USN Admiral Leading on US Policy vs China?

USN “Admiral Warns: Russian Subs Waging Cold War-Style ‘Battle of the Atlantic’”–and RCN?

USAF “Officers Give New Details for F-35 in War With China”

the president’s men lay down a bit of lame-duck law regarding the Dragon (though not apparently the Bear)–Defense One’s “D-Brief” notes the leaking:

…For starters, strike “great power competition” from your notes. Navy Times reports that “the National Security Council ordered Pentagon leaders to strike out that phrase and find something less inflammatory, according to four officials familiar with the classified document.” …

The purported reason: “Obama administration officials and some experts say ‘great power competition’ inaccurately frames the U.S. and China as on a collision course, but other experts warn that China’s ship building, man-made islands, and expansive claims in the South and East China seas are hostile to U.S. interests. This needlessly muddies leaders’ efforts to explain the tough measures needed to contain China’s rise.”

One senior admin official: “Nothing is preordained about this relationship… We don’t buy into the notion that an established and rising power are destined for conflict.”

The term has been used multiple times by Pentagon officials in recent months, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford; and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, who has perhaps the closest eye on developments in and around the South China Sea.

The Pentagon reax: “The US-China relationship is composed of competitive and cooperative elements,” said Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross in an email. “It is only natural that, as the deterrent arm of the United States government, the Defense Department is prepared for the possibility of conflict with any potential aggressor. At the same time, we have worked hard at reducing tensions and increasing transparency with China by implementing confidence building measures in both the maritime and air domains. We also have a long-standing military to military relationship. We will continue to engage with China as appropriate, while being open and clear about our differences.”

An alternate take: “What this means is we will spend at least the next 90 days with an administration that’s just trying to tread water,” said Bryan McGrath, a naval expert and retired destroyer skipper. Read the rest, here

Lots more here on the South China Sea. Plus:

RAND on War Between the Dragon and the Eagle

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Can Canada Reach a Real Cyber Deal With China?

Good reporting by Colin Freeze at the Globe and Mail:

Canada, China to discuss accord on cybersecurity

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has directed his top security officials to discuss a cyber accord with China to help protect Canadian corporations from hackers.

The Prime Minister’s national-security adviser, Daniel Jean, was sent to China earlier this month to co-chair the first in a series of meetings between the two countries’ public-safety officials. These talks have become the focus of controversy because they include a possible extradition treaty.

Now The Globe and Mail has learned the discussions will also be a forum for Canada and China to iron out their differences on cybersecurity.

– Related: What are Justin Trudeau’s end-game ambitions with China?
Analysis: Trudeau’s China visit is over. What did he accomplish?

“The U.S. and U.K. recently concluded agreements with China not to engage in, or support, the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets to gain economic advantage,” said Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. “A similar agreement is a possible outcome.”

Such a dialogue has profound implications for Canada’s business community, given that Chinese government hackers are frequently seen as adversaries with a voracious appetite for corporate intellectual property as well as state secrets. Past victims of Chinese hacking campaigns include the federal government’s National Research Council [see “Dragon Hack Attack on Canadian Government Research: Report“] and, allegedly, the former telecom giant Nortel Networks [see “Huawei, Nortel and Dirty Work at the Network“] …

In September, 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a cyberaccord. Former British prime minister David Cameron unveiled a similar agreement when he met Mr. Xi one month later.

In April, a U.S. private-sector cybersecurity expert noted “a material downtick in what can be considered cyberespionage” after the U.S.-China accord. But U.S. government security officials have said they are unsure China is complying [see from February: “US Director of National Intelligence Dubious about Dragon Ceasing Commercial Cyber Spookery“–would that Canadian officials could be so frank]…

“If there is a general feeling, an assessment on the part of some hackers, there are no rules, that this is the law of the jungle, then that is a very destabilizing thing,” Michael Walma, a senior Global Affairs Canada official [more here], said during a conference last week.

Billed as Ottawa’s “cyber foreign policy co-ordinator,” he was one of several high-level civil servants who spoke at the Canadian Association of Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS [website here]) symposium. Last Friday’s discussion focused on cybersecurity and took place at Ottawa’s War Museum.

Calling the discussion “timely,” Mr. Walma told the gathering that Canadian diplomats are joining their counterparts in trying to iron out cybersecurity issues in bilateral and multilateral forums.

He specifically mentioned the U.S.-China accord as an example of what dialogue can achieve. But, he added, diplomatic agreements need to be backed up with deterrents, and pointed out that the United States is targeting state-sponsored hackers with criminal prosecutions, travel bans and financial sanctions.

“They are starting to equip themselves with a toolbox that allows them to respond with something between a diplomatic note and a nuclear strike,” Mr. Walma quipped. “I think that kind of points to the way we should all be working.”

In the summer of 2014, the U.S. government charged five officers of China’s People’s Liberation Army with hacking U.S. solar, steel and manufacturing companies [see “Cyber Security: US Legal Hammer Trying to Nail Dragon“]. Shortly after, the United States launched a separate case against Vancouver-based Chinese national Su Bin, accusing him of helping PLA-affiliated hackers target aviation companies [latest: “Canadian-Based Cyber Chispy Sentenced in US“].

At that time, Canada’s Conservative government publicly called out China for hacking into the computer networks of the National Research Council, the federal government’s repository of secrets about emerging technology.

Whether “naming and shaming” foreign hackers accomplishes much was debated at the CASIS conference [a post on the symposium: “Quantum Computing Coming: Canadian SIGINT Chief Warns of Threat to Encryption“]…

Follow Colin Freeze on Twitter: @colinfreeze

What “deterrents” might the Canadian government have in its “toolbox” versus the Chicoms?


The Dragon and the Beaver: Ottawa in Cloud Cuckoo Land

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Let’s Not Be Beastly to an Afghan-Canadian Cabinet Minister

A retired senior Canadian diplomat makes a heart-felt case:

Monsef’s place of birth shouldn’t have ‘serious consequences’
Ferry de Kerckhove is a Former high commissioner of Canada to Pakistan [now a CGAI Fellow]

Many people have expressed sympathy for Maryam Monsef, the federal Minister for Democratic Institutions [official webpage here], since the disclosure that she was born in Iran, rather than in Afghanistan. But there have been criticisms – which I simply can’t fathom – from MPs such as Tony Clement and Michelle Rempel, who talked about “serious consequences” if the minister’s birthplace had not been accurately represented on her refugee and citizenship applications.

Do these people have any idea what region we are talking about? Does Ms. Rempel have any understanding of how volatile, porous and border-inconsequential the region was, where even dates of birth, when registered, between Muslim and Christian countries don’t match up? Does she, and those who chime in with her, realize that many Afghans sought refuge in Iran during both the Soviet occupation and the subsequent civil war culminating in the rise of the vicious Taliban regime?

The Afghan city of Herat (where Ms. Monsef’s parents married and where she believed she was born) and the Iranian city of Mashad (where she was actually born) are historically and geographically close. So Afghans would travel back and forth to Iran in times of duress; although they might have not been warmly welcomed, they were at least in a safer environment than in Afghanistan.

As a former Canadian high commissioner to Pakistan, from 1998 to 2001, I believe Ms. Monsef. Her family’s story is similar to the ones that my wife, who was an immigration officer responsible for refugees at the High Commission, heard many times. By the late 1990s, the city of Peshawar, where I had lived as a child, had mutated into a mini-Kabul, with millions of Afghan refugees, including a number of Taliban fellow travellers. People were travelling at great risk by bus, donkey and on foot for hundreds of kilometres from Afghanistan to Pakistan to try to persuade our immigration office to give them a visa while they waited in UN refugee camps.

My first diplomatic posting was to Iran, and I have a lot of sympathy for the decision of Ms. Monsef’s mother to seek refuge there…

Read on. And this would be ridiculous:

Maryam Monsef could be stripped of her citizenship without a hearing after revealing she was born in Iran

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds