Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Demilitarizing Canada

Six pillars of a progressive Canadian foreign policy
Yves Engler, Briarpatch:

1. Immediately withdraw Canada from NATO. If there was ever any justification for this alliance 'to combat the Soviet menace,' two decades after the Cold War it no longer exists.

2. Re-evaluate the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Ottawa should begin to evaluate whether its numerous military arrangements with Washington, including NORAD, are necessary. As much as possible, Canada should de-link itself from a U.S. military apparatus responsible for untold human suffering.

3. Drastically reduce the size of the Canadian Armed Forces. Let's start with a 10 per cent reduction in the military budget each year for the next five years. A Rideau Institute study released in 2008 found that 52 per cent of Canadians want a reduction in military expenditures... The truth, unpalatable as it may be to some, is that there is only one nation on earth that could realistically invade Canada and that is the United States...

4. Proclaim that the Canadian Armed Forces will only be used abroad under a UN mandate supported by two-thirds of the 192-member General Assembly, not the Security Council. Numerous surveys show the vast majority of Canadians support real peacekeeping as the primary goal of our military.

5. Support elected governments and truly democratic movements. Support for democratic structures and movements must be real, not a cover for advancing Canada's financial and strategic interests abroad. This means strengthening the capacity of other governments to provide the same sorts of things we expect from our own: education, health care and other public services...

6. Funnel foreign aid to where it's needed most, not where Canadian investments are thickest. Aid should not be tied to buying Canadian commodities or be used as a subsidy to Canadian companies and investors...

Before we send aid to another country we should ask ourselves: is what we are paying for, and the manner in which we are doing it, something that we would want to see in Canada? We cannot allow ourselves to do things in the international arena that would draw a penalty on our home ice.

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Image source here.