Libmonster ID: SE-277
Author(s) of the publication: A. MOENS

A. MOENS (Canada)

In February, the Institute of the United States and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences hosted a Russian-Canadian scientific conference on "Problems of State and socio-economic development of Afghanistan".

Among all the donor countries that provide assistance to Afghanistan, Canada came in 2nd place after the United States. This gave Canada the opportunity to review the fundamentals of foreign policy, including defense, and to step up its foreign policy activities in the world. It is no coincidence that this conference was held in Moscow on the initiative of Ottawa. It was opened by Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Institute of the USA and Canada S. Rogov. Canadian Ambassador to Russia Ralph Lisishin and Afghan Ambassador to Russia Zalmay Aziz reviewed the situation and military-political situation in Afghanistan. The report "Afghanistan and the revolution in Canadian foreign Policy", which attracted particular interest of the conference participants, was delivered by Professor Alexander Moens of Simon Fraser University (Ottawa), an abbreviated version of which we offer to our readers.

The war on terrorism after September 11, 2001 was the starting point in Canada's foreign policy, and Afghanistan was the turning point. The war in Afghanistan has a gradual and consistent impact on many aspects of Canadian politics, including the transition of its foreign policy from the concept of global security to the fight against insurgency in southern Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan has resurrected Canada's military and led to an increase in the military budget. Canada's commitment to an effort-and energy-intensive operation in Afghanistan has also been an attempt to restore a frosty relationship with the United States, and efforts to contribute to the fight against terrorism are encouraged by Washington and help mitigate the consequences of Canada's withdrawal from the Iraq War.

The revolution in Canadian foreign policy is at an early stage, and it is irreversible. Canadian public opinion is divided about Canada's new role, but most do not believe in the success of the mission in Afghanistan. This circumstance has intensified political and public discussion in the country about the methods and goals of the mission. Traditionally, foreign policy is not a key topic in the election platform, but the operation in Afghanistan is among the main topics that will determine the outcome of the next election in Canada. If the Conservative Party, which formed the Harper-led government in 2006, wins a majority, it is likely to put a different emphasis on the country's foreign policy for years to come by the end of 2008.

* * *

After the end of the cold war, Canada continued to participate in UN peacekeeping missions and NATO operations, but it did not have a clear strategic line and scale of priorities.

With the arrival of L. Axworthy as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1996, Ottawa began to develop a new concept of foreign policy based on the use of "soft" power, which was called the "concept of personal security". This concept, which focuses on helping individuals and groups in conflict situations in failed States, has replaced the concept of national interest. The idea of personal security came from the field of social and economic development, and Exworthy applied it to the realities of international security.1 Canada has played a leading role in building a global network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and in persuading Governments to sign a new treaty banning the production, sale and use of anti-personnel mines. Canada played a key role in the negotiations that led to the establishment of the International Tribunal in 1998.

The concept of personal security has had an impact on Canada's defense policy, as it has in like-minded countries such as the Netherlands. The "3D" approach was developed (Diplomacy, Development, Defense. - Approx. trans.), i.e. consolidation of efforts in the field of diplomacy, development and defense to help the population in failed states, such as Bosnia, Haiti, Afghanistan. The Canadian Armed Forces, in turn, adopted the so-called "three-block operational approach" developed by the US Navy and involves a rapid transition from military participation in peace enforcement operations, to stabilization operations, to humanitarian assistance and reconstruction work.

The September 11, 2001 attacks triggered major changes in security policy. Axworthy's concept of personal security gradually faded into the background with his departure from the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs (at the end of 2000-Approx. ed.)2.

Canada's commitment to "light" UN peacekeeping operations has also gradually begun to fade. Only 60 Canadian troops participated in UN peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan.

* Alexander Moens, Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Foreign and Military Policy, Senior Researcher at the Fraser Institute, Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University (Ottawa).

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In 2006, they were replaced by commitments to ensure security in Afghanistan. The transition from personal security to more traditional military security began under the liberal government of Paul Martin (2003-February 2006-Approx. ed.).

Canada's foreign policy focused on the North Atlantic Alliance, which was not one of the top priorities of its foreign policy in the 1990s, despite the fact that Canadian military personnel took part in the NATO operation in the Balkans. Ottawa has proposed a number of schemes for reforming NATO, the reform of the Joint Armed Forces command and the NATO rapid reaction Force, which is consistent with the US desire to breathe life into NATO.

Canada was among the first to provide troops, civilian experts, and everything needed for reconstruction work in Afghanistan after the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban. Canadian forces became part of the International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan (ISAF). In 2003, Canada was instrumental in bringing ISAF forces under NATO command.

Canada, along with other countries, helped Afghanistan prepare a democratic constitution in 2004 and organize the presidential elections that led to the victory of Hamid Karzai. In August 2005 Ottawa deployed a provincial reconstruction team to Kandahar. In 2006, Canadian forces joined Operation Medusa with the United States and Britain against the Taliban and other insurgent groups. The Canadian government announced the deployment of a 2.5-thousandth contingent in southern Afghanistan until the beginning of 2009.

Canadians paid a heavy price for their involvement in the war in Afghanistan - by March 2008, 76 soldiers and one diplomat had been killed. The cost of the military component of the Canadian mission in southern Afghanistan has increased from $ 400 million in 2005-2006 fin. up to 1.5 billion rubles per year. in the next 3. Canada has pledged $ 4.3 billion. in the period from 2006 to 2009 for the operation in southern Afghanistan, including 1.2 billion rubles. for help and development 4. The amount of financial investment in the Afghan mission is enormous. This means that Afghanistan has a major impact on changes in Canadian foreign policy.


In the 1990s, described by the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Armed Forces, General Rick Hiller in 2006 ,as the" dark decade", the military budget fell from 2% of GDP in 1989 to 1.1% of GDP in 1999. Military spending declined from $ 12 billion in 1991 to $ 9.7 billion in 1999, and the number of troops decreased from 80,000 to 60,000, despite the fact that the Canadian military continued to be present in the Balkans, Africa, Asia, and Central America. According to military analyst Douglas Bland, the country's military complex has fallen into a spiral leading to collapse.5

It was only in 2000 that the cuts were suspended. Defense spending has increased. One of the first initiatives of the conservative government led by Harper, elected in 2006, was to increase the military budget from $ 13.6 billion. to 17.6 billion 6, and in 2007 it increased by another 1 billion 7. For 2006 and 2007. defense spending has increased significantly since the 1984 budget. 8

The operation of Canadian troops in Kandahar prompted the purchase of military equipment. Seven projects have been launched to upgrade it, and costs in 2007-2008 will grow by 58% and reach 3.6 billion rubles, which is 20% more than the budget allocations for these purposes.

Between 2006 and 2009, virtually the entire Canadian Army contingent will be deployed in Afghanistan. To achieve results in line with Canada's commitments, General Hiller set the following recruitment targets: an additional 5,000 military personnel and 3,000 reservists, "80% of whom will join combat units." 9 Recruitment volumes were even higher than planned - 6,426 new recruits.10

Given that the Canadian Armed Forces are limited, training and training resources are limited, and equipment is worn out, it is expected that Canada's participation in the operation will be suspended or temporarily reduced between now and 2009.

The current Prime Minister, Conservative leader S. Harper, has made improving relations with the United States one of his priorities. He used Canada's new commitments in Afghanistan and reinvestment in Canadian defense as a way to win back Washington's respect.

Harper's unequivocal support for the war on terror and the renewal of the Canadian Armed Forces on his initiative were regarded in Washington as a new turn in Canadian-American bilateral relations. Harper "put aside distancing and hostility as ways to shape relations with the United States." 11

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted in September 2006 that Canada's efforts "make a decisive contribution" to the fight against terrorism.12 Canada's business elite has sensed a change in bilateral relations. While in March 2005 only 7% of Canadians felt that relations had improved, in October 2006 61% held this view13.


Public opinion polls have shown that while Canadians are proud of the bravery, bravery, and professionalism of their soldiers, there is a public fear that the Taliban and drug lords will not be defeated. 14 Public support for the mission ranged from 47% to 57% in 2006, including late 2006 and early 2007, the period when the highest number of victims was recorded.15 A split in public opinion creates fertile ground for subjective policies.

Supporting anti-American sentiment, the New Democratic Party (NDP) (Social Democrats), led by Jack Layton, assessed Canada's role as dragging chestnuts out of the fire for Americans, despite the fact that 26,000 American soldiers had already fought in Afghanistan. Layton called Canadian troops "pawns" in the US operation and called on Canada to withdraw its contingent from Afghanistan.16

Quebec French-Canadians have traditionally been more vocal in their opposition to the military mission than Anglo-Canadians.-

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canadians 17. With the overall support of Harper by the federal wing of the Quebec Separatist Party and the Quebec Bloc, he cannot count on the same support for Afghanistan. Most members of the opposition Liberal Party are turning public opinion against Canada's participation in the Afghan mission. With Harper holding 126 of the 308 seats in parliament's House of Commons, the opposition's view on the Afghan issue makes Harper vulnerable.

Harper paid his first foreign visit as Prime Minister to Afghanistan, where he met with the Canadian military. The visit highlighted the mission's priority for Canadian politics and Harper's personal commitment to Afghanistan. Canadian columnist Andrew Coyan called it "a masterpiece of political theater," albeit an empty gesture in essence. Harper said that winning the war on terrorism is in Canada's national interest (although the Canadian military itself prefers the term "campaign against terrorism").18.

In a 2006 parliamentary vote, Harper narrowly won the extension of Canada's military presence in Afghanistan until 2009. The high level of combat losses temporarily reflected a drop in public support for the mission.19

In their attacks on the Conservatives in 2006 and early 2007, the Liberals focused on three points. First, the Government was accused of failing to explain to the public exactly why Canadian troops were deployed in Afghanistan. Secondly, the conservatives were accused of failing to combine the implementation of two tasks in a complex - military and development. They were accused of focusing too much on combat operations and not paying enough attention to reconstruction tasks.

The Harper Government defends its policies by agreeing that reconstruction projects are necessary, without which it is impossible to achieve stability and security in the long term. However, it adds that reconstruction is not possible until security is ensured; nevertheless, Canada does not renege on its obligations. In early 2007, Harper announced an additional $ 100 million for development and reconstruction projects for 2007 and 2008, in addition to the $ 100 million previously allocated. mine clearance, road reconstruction, counter-narcotics, training and training of Afghan police 20.

While the Canadian public rallied on the basis of support for Canadian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, survey results showed an uneasy mood for the future in Afghanistan. Canadians are concerned about whether NATO and the West can win. Iraq certainly affects the perception of the situation in Afghanistan. The opposition tried to present Afghanistan as a second Iraq. By May 2007, more people were considering Canada's withdrawal from Afghanistan.


Most analysts are of the view that in 2003 the United States devoted too much military attention to Iraq, which, as a result, led to a deterioration of security in Afghanistan. By 2006, it was clear that Kandahar and its environs might once again fall to the Taliban. In this important strategic region, the Harper Government has taken responsibility. Canada played a key role in Operation Medusa, which took place here in the fall of 2006, along with the United States and the United Kingdom.

An objective analysis of the situation in Afghanistan shows that reconstruction needs at least another 10 years to achieve stability and adequate governance. And even after that, Afghanistan will remain an unstable State. Ultimately ,the" final version " of the new state-building does not allow for the return of the Taliban, but does not exclude negotiations with representatives of its moderate factions, if any, with a view to integrating them into the new Government of Afghanistan.21

Canadian opposition parties are demanding a return to" light peacemaking " and humanitarian assistance as the only acceptable role for the Canadian armed forces. However, this is unrealistic in the situation with Afghanistan and will not bring any results for its development in the long term. Under pressure from the opposition, Secretary of Defense H. O'Conner stressed in April 2007 that when certain security, governance, and reconstruction goals were achieved, Canada's and NATO's commitments would be reduced, and withdrawal by 201022 would be possible.

Obviously, this date sounds too optimistic. Instead, the Canadian Government should continue to invest in the Canadian armed forces and leverage innovation in the theater of operations. With adequate resources, the Canadian forces could continue to contribute to resolving the situation in southern Afghanistan beyond 2009. Only by actively participating in reconstruction projects and training the Afghan army and police will the revival of civil society be possible. Canada's efforts give it the right to call on other NATO members-Germany, France, Italy, Spain, who have deployed their military contingents in relatively calm northern provinces-to join the fighting in southern Afghanistan. The North Atlantic Alliance should consider introducing the principle of rotation of countries in the south and north of Afghanistan.


Prime Minister Harper changed the tone and content of Canadian foreign policy and Canada's role in the world. He speaks of loyalty, sacrifice, courage, and national interest. These are words that Canada hasn't heard in decades.

The revolution in Canada's foreign policy means that the country is no longer shouting at the top of its voice without doing anything. Canada's "hard security" efforts are the foundation for successful peace-building in Afghanistan. The revolution in Canadian foreign policy means a long-awaited investment in one of the best military systems in the world and building a solid foundation for Canada-US relations.

After 2009, Canada will need some reduction in the rate of participation in military operations for the rest of its armed forces and their re-equipment. New Defense Secretary P. McKay tells NATO allies what to expect

page 49

reduction of the Canadian presence since the beginning of 2009

Whether the revolution in Canadian foreign policy would continue depended on whether Harper won a majority in parliament. On March 13, 2008, he succeeded: Parliament voted to extend Canada's military presence in Afghanistan until 2011, provided that other NATO members provide additional military assistance to Canadians.23

If the Canadian Government succeeds in turning recent changes into long-term commitments, it will lead to greater respect for Canadian national interests and values in the international community.

Translated from English by N. EVTIKHEVICH (Institute of the USA and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences)

Vincent Rigby. 1 The Canadian Forces and Human Security: A Redundant or Relevant Military? (Chapter 3 in Fen Osier Hampson et al., (eds.). The Axworthy Legacy (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Fen Osier Hampson 2 et al. The Return to Continentalism in Canadian Foreign Policy (Chapter 1 in Fen Osier Hampson et al. (eds.)...).

3 Report on Plans and Priorities: 2006 - 2007 Estimates for National Defence, Departmental Overview, Section 3, Table 8. Treasury Board of Canada -

Mary O'Grady. 4 Canada's Cut-and-Run Crowd. - The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2007, p. 16.

Douglas Bland. 5 Canada Without Armed Forces (Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2004).

Brian S. MacDonald. 6 Budget 2006: Some Light at the End of the Tunnel. The Conference of Defence Associations, May 2, 2006 -

Bob Bergen. 7 Defence Budget a Water Torture of Information Released Drop by Drop. CDFAI Column, March 22, 2007 - [email protected]

Brian S. MacDonald. 8 Waiting for Budget 2007: A Blinding Flash of Light at the End of the Tunnel. CDA Commentary 4 - 2007. The Conference of Defence Associations, March 2007.

Andrew Clark. 9 Mission Impossible. - Saturday Night Magazine, November 2005, p. 31.

Bob Bergen. 10 Behind Canadian Forces Recruiting Success Looms Training Dilemma. Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, April 4, 2007 -

Sheldon Alberts. 11 Softwood Lumber Deal will Survive, Harper Says. - Can West News Service, July 6, 2006.

12 AFP, September 13, 2006.

13 Compass Inc., 2006 -

14 "Most Canadians Support Troops in Light of Recent Investigation into Afghanistan Abuses, But Canadians Remain Split on the Continued Military Effort in Afghanistan," Ipsos Reid Poll, February 22, 2007 - См. также: Jack L. Granatstein. Whose War is It? Toronto: HarperCollins Publishers, Ltd., 2007, p. 18 - 19.

Richard Foot. 15 Mission Changes Canada's Modern Image of Itself. - National Post, April 9, 2007, p. 8; "Despite Recent Troop Fatalities, Majority of Canadians (52%) Support Role of Canada's Troops in Afghanistan," Ipsos Reid Polling, April 24, 2007 -

Jeff Heinrich. 16 Send in Observers, Layton Says. - National Post, March 13, 2007, p. 6.

Jean-Sebastian Rioux. 17 Two Solitudes: Quebecers' Attitudes Regarding Canadian Security and Defence Policy. Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute Research Paper, February 23, 2005, p. 23.

Andrew Coyne. 18 Harper's Mission Statement. - National Post, March 15, 2006, p. 12.

Douglas Belkin. 19 Canadians Grow War Weary. - The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2007, p. 10.

20 Prime Minister's Office. Canada's New Government Substantially Boosts Support to Development Efforts in Afghanistan. Ottawa, February 26, 2007.

Brian Flemming. 21 The Metrics of Victory in Afghanistan. - The Dispatch, Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, Spring 2007, 5, 1, p. 13.

John Ivison. 22 Exit Depends on Afghans. - National Post, April 11, 2007 p. 1, 4.

23 Canadian Votes to Extend Afghan Mission to 2011. - Daily Times (Pakistan), Saturday, March 15, 2008.


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