Mark Collins – US, New Government and Canadian Forces: UN Peacekeeping (Colombia, Africa)? NATO in E. Europe? Both?

Further to this post,

Canada and Peacekeeping, Peace Operations, Whatever
[note first link on US and “killer peacekeeping”]

I’m pretty sure the Obama administration’s first priority for us would be NATO (see “Canadian Army in Strength for E. Europe With NATO?“); it might just be possible to do that and a Colombian UN mission as the latter would be pretty small–and largely risk-free. However the NATO mission would I think put paid to any significant Canadian Forces’ UN effort in Africa (see “Netherlands and UN Peacekeeping (sort of) in Mali–Canada?“). Our military simply does not have the resources what with the existing major commitment in the Middle East vs ISIS. Here’s what the CBC is reporting just before today’s (June 29) Three Amigos summit in Ottawa:

Peacekeeping replaces pipelines in Canada – U.S. dialogue
President Barack Obama addresses Parliament today as U.S. officials talk up ‘peacekeeping’

The diplomatic conversation between Ottawa and Washington has been focused on pipelines for years, but that topic appears to have been traded in for a discussion on peacekeeping and how both countries will meet the challenges of an increasingly turbulent world.

It is a subject that is expected to be on the agenda when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama spend time together today behind closed doors. The meeting comes after the conclusion of the Three Amigos Summit and before the U.S. president’s historic address to Parliament.

LIVE BLOG | Three Amigos in Ottawa: Trudeau, Obama, Pena Nieto meet…

The White House signalled Tuesday [June 28] — beyond the already well-telegraphed commitments on environment and trade — that it’s looking to demonstrate Western military unity internationally, something experts say is even more important in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union [see here and here for defence/NATO implications].

Specifically, the U.S. wants support “co-ordinating peacekeeping around the world,” Mark Feierstein, a senior director at the U.S. National Security Council, said Tuesday…

That may be music to the ears of the Liberal government, which campaigned on returning Canada to a prominent role in peacekeeping.

Although Trudeau has talked up the notion, there’s been little concrete indication where Canadian peacekeeping troops, equipment and know-how might be headed.

That might be about to change.

Colombian peacekeeping mission?

Colombia recently ended a brutal, decades-long war with rebels and is now looking for a United Nations ceasefire observer force — something Canada and Mexico are considering as a joint venture [emphasis added].

‘I’m filled with joy’: Colombians celebrate as dream of peace comes step closer to reality…

Federal sources told CBC News that defence planners have been examining various options for a peacekeeping mission in Colombia since the UN approved a request for an unarmed force last January [emphasis added]…

Awaiting NATO decision

‘Will Canada show up in Latvia or not?’
– Steve Saideman, Carleton University professor
[earlier: “Stephen Saideman – How Much Tripwire Is Enough?“]

Holding a slot open for a possible peacekeeping operation was one of the suggested reasons Canada did not automatically sign on to a NATO deterrence mission in eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

The clock is ticking towards the NATO leaders summit in Warsaw and wrestling a firm commitment out of Canada is likely going to be high on the closed door agenda, said two international relations experts…

Time for real defence choices to be made, well before the government’s Defence Policy Review is done. Events, dear boy, events.

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


6 thoughts on “Mark Collins – US, New Government and Canadian Forces: UN Peacekeeping (Colombia, Africa)? NATO in E. Europe? Both?”

  1. Looks like Canadian Army battalion for NATO in Latvia:

    “Canada expected to send troops to Latvia to deter Russia

    Canada is expected to announce within days it will deploy hundreds of Canadian Forces soldiers to Latvia as part of a new NATO force in Eastern Europe as a deterrent against Russian aggression.

    Sources say the federal cabinet has authorized Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan ‎to provide up to a battalion of Canadian troops, which is about 1,000 soldiers.

    Canada would be joining Britain, Germany and the United States, which have offered to build a rotating force of 4,000 troops on NATO’s eastern flank in Poland and the Baltics.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will travel next week to the NATO Summit in Warsaw, which will be President Barack Obama’s last. Mr. Obama had been leaning on Canada to help by contributing to the new rapid-response forces.

    The summit will formally agree on the plan for the four battalions.

    Canada is expected to deploy to Latvia with the U.S., while Britain is expected to send troops to Estonia, and Germany to Lithuania.

    The United States will also supply an armoured brigade to rove around the eastern flank.

    One of Canada’s nine infantry divisions [sic: battalions actually] is expected to rotate through Latvia, serving up to six months at a time [similar to the Afghan battle group rotations].

    Canada currently has about 220 Canadian troops at NATO’s training mission in Poland.. [see “Land Task Force” here: ].”

    Not much left for UN peacekeeping, eh? But Pres. Obama will be pleased:

    Mark Collins

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