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Canada's Geopolitical Strategy


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.

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 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. Canada's geopolitical options are constrained but not

"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."

There is another geostrategic fulcrum - one within its means and consistent with Canada's democratic values.

Canada's main geopolitical requirement then is that the US reform its electoral processes so gerrymandering by democrats and republicans is terminated with extreme prejudice and that over time constitutional reform enables the US to move upward into the broad sunlit uplands Churchill envisiged for the life of the world.

Simultaneously Canada needs to build its Pacific military capability.

Canada's need to define a new set of strategic objectives has become an imperative.

    
  Rusi: The UK’s Integrated Review Has Restarted: Are Key Questions and Assumptions Still Valid? (July 3, 2020)
  
  Matt Gurney: Stop pretending Canada cares about a meaningful role on the world stage (June 21, 2020)
  
  How a World Order Ends And What Comes in Its Wake - Richard Haass
  
  Important Voices on Twitter on Geopolitical Strategy - knowingly or unknowingly
  
  Japanese Maritime Thought: If Not Mahan, Who? - Toshi Yoshihara
  
  G&M: Canada�s new defence spending must come quickly, experts say (June 6, 2017)
  
  G&M OPINION Trudeau decides it�s just not worth appeasing Trump in foreign-policy shift (June 6, 2017)
  
  G&M: Canada can no longer rely on U.S. for global leadership, Freeland says (June 6, 207)
  
  NP: Andrew Coyne: How should Canada respond to Trump? By doing things we ought to be doing�anyway (April 26, 2017)
  
  The Economist: America�s president An insurgent in the White House (February 4, 2017)
  
  G&M: �National interest� to guide future troop deployments, Trudeau tells Freeland aka first you define geopolitical strategy then you deploy
  
  CP: Trump communication confusion causes historic policy paralysis in Ottawa (Operational Tempo has advantages and disadvantages) (January 29, 2017)
  
  What the World Might Look Like in 5 Years, According to US Intelligence (January 11, 2017)
  
  Edward Luttwak: "Why Canada Should Shift Its Military Focus To Asia" (January 2017)
  
  Erick Simoneau: From an International Strategy to Tactical Actions: How Canada Could Run Campaigns (Canada�s �grand strategy� is not explicitly defined in official government documents)(January 2017)
  
  Huffington Post: Zbigniew Brzezinski The ideal geopolitical response to the crisis of global power is a trilateral connection between the United States, China and Russia.(January 3, 2016)
  
  NYT: How Stable Are Democracies? �Warning Signs Are Flashing Red� (November 29, 2016)
  
  CDA Institute - STANDING ON GUARD? A Benchmark Comparison of Canada�s National Security Architecture (November 2016)
  
  The US-China Commission @USCC_GOV has released the 2016 Annual Report to Congress (November 16, 2016)
  
  PIIE Talk: The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization (November 16, 2016)
  
  Stratfor: A Simple Tool for Understanding the Trump Presidency Geopolitical Weekly (November 15, 2016)
  
  Assessing the Third Offset Strategy:Innovating Together The Role of Allies (October 28, 2016)
  
  NP: Andrew Coyne: Increased immigration is good for Canada � and the reasons aren�t only economic (October 28, 2016)
  
  Christopher Sands: The Canada�U.S. Bilateral Relationship (October 17, 2016)
  
  On the powers in the US President to cripple trade. The Canadian challenge (October 3, 2016)
  
  The Economist: Grand talk of a �defence union� risks exposing Europe�s weakness (September 24, 2016)
  
  Canada�s strategic plan and how we can become a major global player (August 2, 2016)
  
   EU Institute for Security Studies: The EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS) is quite candid about the challenges facing European defence (July, 2016)
  
  Andrew Coyne: A war that cannot necessarily be won, but must be fought all the same (July 15, 2016)
  
  The Great Rebellion: 3 Global Trends (July 14, 2016)
  
  Trudeau will face pointed questions on Canada�s NATO role at Poland summit (July 7, 2016)
  
  TPP as a security: Engagement and leadership on international trade are fundamental to U.S. national security (April 27, 2016)
  
  Where is Trudeau heading with China (April 5, 2016)
  
  The Obama Doctrine (March 2016) - Canada not really on the Agenda
  
  In 2020 Canadian foreign policy will be.... (February 19, 2016)
  
  CFR Task Force Report: North America Time for a New Focus (2014)
  
  Rand - Choices for America Report (2016)(Part of a planned series)
  
  IRPP: Canadian Options in North America (2005)
  
  WEF: World Economic Global Risks (2016)
  
  Policy Horizons Canada: MetaScan 4 - The Future of Asia: Implications for Canada (December 2015)
  
  CIGI: The Road to a Reinvigorated North American Partnership (January 2015)
  
  iAffairs Canada, in partnership with Canadian Foreign Policy Journal and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs releases its foreign policy review : A Global Review for Canada: Insights and Options (January 2015)
  
  Dion Shift: From �no longer go along just to get along,� to "figure out how to figure in.�(January 2015)
  
  Address by Minister Dion at Ottawa Forum 2016: Building a foreign policy for Canada's future(January 2015)
  
  D. H. Burney: �Advantage Canada: Recalibrating our Role in a Transforming World� (June 2, 2015)
  
  Chrystia Freeland: Finding a Place in a Rebalanced Global Economy: the New Foreign Policy Challenge (2011)
  
  Canada's Spending on research and development, 2015 (intentions) - (Pretty Pitiful)
  
  Paddy Ashdown: The global power shift
  
  CGAI: What�s Been Wrong with Canadian Security Policy and Diplomacy and What It May Take to Fix It (October 2015)
  
  Struggle in the Gray Zone and World Order (January 2016)
  
  CIC and RUSI Canada Foreign Policy and the Federal Election 2015 - Canada still faces East
  
  Hugh Segal: If �Canada�s back,� we�ll need a military (January 6, 2016)
  
  US Congressional Hearing - The Future Warfare (November 6, 2015)
  
  McKinsey: The four global forces breaking all the trends
  
  Technology and the global financial system
  
  Concerns regarding employment shifts and losses brought on by rapid advance of artificial intelligence
  
   Secret document details new Canadian foreign policy (November 2012)
  
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