Much of the introduction below was written before Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Canada's immediate goal will be to minimize the damage this Presidency will do to North America and the World while positioning Canada for the ability to weather the singularity.
Canada's geopolitical strategy will necessarily be rooted in a number of unalterable facts starting with its commitment to democratic principles, its location on the North American Continent and the size of its
population and GDP relative to billion+ state actors. Simply put if you cannot as a nation state in future muster that kind of power then you need to be a member of a tight alliance that does. Yes, the US will need its allies
more in future than they have need it in the past. This geopolitical reality has not sunk into Mainsteet in any of the OECD countries. Nor is Europe big enough to go it alone. Yet the forces of isolationism and ossification
appear to be gathering strength.
Power is shifting east across the Pacific to Asia.
Canada's geopolitical strategy will also be rooted in a growing multipolarity in the world both of nation states and non-nation states actors. The nation state's increasing porosity will result in a world
of increasingly networked rather than hierarchical power. Global contractual relations will multiply and the complexity and strength of global economic and political structures will grow.
To this will be added heightened technological change founded primarily on artificial intelligence that will alter what it means to be human before the end of the century.
Canada's "Canada First Defence Strategy" is not a geopolitical strategy and it has moss on it - which is why we are having a Defence Review.
The Global Affairs Canada statement of priorities does not constitute a geopolitical strategy.
Notice that it mentions China only in passing. China is and will be for the decades to come Canada's and the world's primary geopolitical challenge. It is the proverbial elephant in the room.
Unlike the U.S., Canada has not committed resources to a strategic rebalance to Asia. It remains largely Atlantic facing in its mindset. It does comprehend the multipolar world but it has not institutionalized that understanding or
reflected that in policy to any great degree. Nor has it apprehended in the main the implications of the imminent technological changes and shifts in power relations.
What is perhaps most important to reframing Canadian geopolitical strategy is the recognition that artificial intelligence and cyberspace will define global winners and losers and introduce economic and employment changes that will deeply
stress the social fabric and relations with our principal trading partners. Meeting this challenge will require both intellectual focus and significant budgetary shifts.
Satya Nadella, chief executive of Microsoft at the 21016 WEF in Davos has noted "There is an economic surplus that is going to be created as a result of this fourth industrial revolution"
"The question is how evenly will it be spread between countries, between people in different economic strata and also different parts of the economy."
The same can be said of the adjustment costs associated with climate change initiatives and the how and the where changes occur.
A key success driver will be R&D levels and R&D targets. Canada's "DARPA" is Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC).
It should be noted that China's R&D expenditures are forecast to exceed those of the US in 2022. Canada's principal ally the U.S. is increasingly pressed in terms of GDP and technology
relative to potential adversaries. Canada's R&D spending remains inadequate.
Canada's "splendid isolation" on the North American continent means little in military terms when the cyberworld is borderless and intelligent continent spanning airborne weapons can pop up from stealth unmanned
intelligent undersea platforms on our shores and those of key allies.
Canada is at a geostrategic point of inflection. Somnolence is not a viable geopolitical option.
A techtonic shift is occurring.
"A new democratic, rules-based order fashioned and led by medium powers in Europe and Asia, as well as Canada, however attractive a concept, would simply lack the military capacity
and domestic political will to get very far - Richard Haass."