Over the years I’ve found discussions of Canadas military to be very interesting. Some people have strange opinions about what the military should look like based on some bad reasoning.
First of all I’ll say I think Canada should have a well equipped and effective military. The sizing and purpose are where it gets fuzzy.
Why does Canada need a military? Let’s look at it from a practical standpoint. The possible uses are to:
1. Participate in foreign wars
2. Aid in foreign peacekeeping
3. Internal security
4. Defend against attack
Throughout it’s history, Canada doesn’t seem to desire frequent participation in foreigh wars. On the occaisions where it has, it has built the military as required for the situation. I don’t think this is a very good reason to maintain a huge military permenantly.
Canada is currently aiding in several foreign peacekeeping missions. The military may require better resources, as this seems to be a typical complaint, but that is a much smaller task than equipping a much larger military.
Internal security is another possible use of a military. Also, some situations like the military helping in emergency situations are valid. This purpose seems either already satisfied or could be with very little extra funding.
Defending against attack is the sticky one. I’ve heard some Canadians and Americans say that Canada should have a large enough armed forces to defend against an attack. This is where we need to apply a little common sense and practicality.
In terms of global politics there are two possible threats to Canadas borders: invasion by a force not friendly to the US or invasion by the US itself. In the first case the US would have no option but to defend Canada. The relative isolation of North America is what affords the US a large portion of its dominance. It doesn’t have to worry too much about being invaded and can focus more on offensive weapons. The US, therefore, would not allow a powerful and unfriendly competitor onto its continent. Further, in this situation the invader would have to be powerful enough to face-off against the US, in which case Canada would not be able to build a military large enough to defend against. So, in this case it really doesn’t provide any added benefit if Canada were to double the size of it’s military, for example. It would either still be wiped out or prove unnecessary.
In the situation where the invader happened to be the US, we reach the same position where Canada couldn’t possibly build a military powerful enough to defend against it. The fact that foreign aid would take so long to get there, given how far away other large countries are, is another negative.
Overall I’d say Canada doesn’t need a large military based on the analysis here. Am I missing a part of the argument? Why do some people keep complaining? What do they want the Canadian military to do?