Mark Collins – Canada and Peacekeeping, Peace Operations, Whatever

Further to these posts,

US-Backed UN “Killer Peacekeeping”, Part 2–and Canada?

Canada’s New Government and UN Peacekeeping in Africa

Former Liberal Defence Minister Wants Canada to Help Fight Jihadis in Africa

the new government is trying to figure out how to re-engage Canada in the noble cause–how long will it take them to make some decisions?  Two pieces at Embassy:

Foreign [Global, actually] Affairs, Defence, RCMP creating ‘peace operations strategy

Burundi, the peacekeeping test case: Simply putting Canadian troops in blue helmets into a conflict zone provides no guarantee of success [by CGAI Fellow Jack Granatstein].

More at

Disarmament think tank:  Canada Not Ready for Peacekeeping

But do our forces now have the wherewithal to do very much? and will the government be willing to accept anything risky?  Do the great majority of ministers with no military background understand how profoundly UN peacekeeping has changed?

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


7 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Canada and Peacekeeping, Peace Operations, Whatever”

  1. Good piece on UN peacekeeping at Globe and Mail:

    Trudeau’s vision of Canadian military mission unfocused

    Justin Trudeau is remaking Canada’s military in a Liberal image. But it remains an unfocused picture. If Canadians think he can bring back the past of Canadian peacekeeping, they have the wrong impression.

    On Wednesday [Feb. 17], Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals will open a debate in Parliament on the revamping of the military mission against Islamic State. And when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Ottawa Friday, Mr. Trudeau delivered a reminder that he has promised to revamp the overall mission of the military, and bring the Canadian Forces back to UN peacekeeping.

    Together, it presents an image of a military that will be less warrior and more peacekeeper, less bombing and more blue beret.

    But Mr. Trudeau’s disjointed reasoning for withdrawing CF-18s from air strikes in Iraq and Syria makes it hard to tell what his view of the military’s role really is. And reaching back to the iconic peacekeeping of the past presents an expectation that will clash with reality.

    “One of the problems is that peacekeeping is a lot more kinetic or violent than it used to be,” said Stephen Saideman, a Carleton University professor…’

    As I have been saying for some time–“killer peacekeeping”:

    Mark Collins

  2. Good piece:

    ‘Canada is ready for peacekeeping, and so are its soldiers
    George Petrolekas served with the military in Bosnia, Afghanistan and NATO and is a fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

    The mythology of peacekeeping distorts views on how Canada should prepare, train and conduct UN operations – an image supported by a recent analysis [boo hiss ]. The paper by the Rideau Institute makes two major arguments: One, that the Canadian experience in Afghanistan has rendered our country ill-prepared to participate in UN missions; and two, that Canada has forgotten the basic principles of peacekeeping.

    The study’s main thrust is exemplified by this statement: “War-fighting and COIN [counterinsurgency] are enemy-centric, usually non-consensual missions that primarily involve offensive tactics, whereas peacekeeping is based on a trinity of alternative principles: consent of main conflicting parties, impartiality and the defensive use of force.”

    The truth is that Canada’s military has never been more ready to undertake peace-related operations.

    Canadian Forces certainly fought battles against the Taliban in Afghanistan but, overall, the Canadian approach to counterinsurgency was population-centric; in other words to protect and engage the population – not only from a security standpoint but in rebuilding civic structures and institutions…’

    Mark Collins

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