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April 2002

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April 2002

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WE NEED A ROMANOW COMMISSION FOR DEFENCE AND FOREIGN POLICY
David L. King
Neither the change in U.S. administration in January, 2001, nor the terrorist attacks of September 11 are likely to change the fundamental fact of the Canada-U.S. defence relationship, which is that Canada free-rides on the U.S. military, a circumstance which frees up considerable economic resources for other uses in Canadian society and which, at bottom, the U.S. does not really mind, since it provides political cover and a free hand for U.S. initiatives. Even so, Canada could benefit from a combined review of her defence and foreign policies. For at least three decades defence policy has had little relation to foreign policy. A combined review might provide a better fit between the two. It might also increase public awareness of the importance of defence resources in carrying out foreign policy. The best vehicle for such a review would be a Romanow-style one-person commission.
Ni lÕarrivÈe au pouvoir de lÕadministration Bush en janvier 2001, ni les attentats terroristes du 11 septembre ne risquent de changer quoi que ce soit au fondement principal sur lequel reposent les relations canado-amÈricaines en matiËre de dÈfense, ‡ savoir que le Canada bÈnÈficie de la puissance militaire des …tats-Unis et quÕil peut ainsi consacrer dÕimportantes ressources Èconomiques ‡ dÕautres secteurs, et cela sans que son voisin du Sud ne sÕen formalise outre mesure puisque celui-ci obtient en Èchange une caution politique doublÈe dÕune carte blanche pour chacune de ses initiatives. MalgrÈ tout, le Canada gagnerait ‡ rÈexaminer sa politique de dÈfense ‡ la lumiËre de sa politique ÈtrangËre. Depuis une bonne trentaine dÕannÈes au moins, la politique de dÈfense canadienne a ÈtÈ ÈlaborÈe sans porter grande attention ‡ la politique ÈtrangËre. Une rÈvision commune permettrait de mieux coordonner notre action dans ces deux domaines, tout en sensibilisant la population ‡ lÕimportance des ressources militaires pour rÈaliser notre politique ÈtrangËre. Une commission dirigÈe par une seule et mÍme personne, ‡ lÕexemple de la Commission Romanow, constituerait le meilleur moyen de mener ‡ bien une rÈvision de ce genre.
he events of September 11, 2001 have caused many observers, Canadian and American alike, to re-exam-WhTat does the United States expect of Canadian defence ine fundamental assumptions about defence policy. policy in the new international environment and what should Canada expect of itself? How could Canada best undertake a re-examination of its defence policy and what conclusions would such a re-examination lead to? I want to argue that the new environment does not in fact change the fundamentals of CanadaÕs defence needs or its relationship with the United States. On the other hand, for some time now, CanadaÕs foreign policy and defence policy have not been very well aligned. A high-level review of the interaction of the two could serve to educate the public in both foreign and defence matters and might help raise public support for these important public enterprises. The best format for such a review is not
a White Paper, a Royal Commission or a Parliamentary Committee, but rather a one-person commission along the lines of Roy RomanowÕs commission on the future of health care.
t bottom, National Missile Defence aside, there is little A to be concerned about in the current state of Canada-U.S. defence relations. CanadaÕs military forces will remain as irrelevant to the U.S. Department of Defense as they have been for the past 30 years. Secretary Rumsfeld, like his pred-ecessors, is fully occupied with U.S. national and global security issues. He will have little time for relationships with a Canadian Minister of National Defence who can add little to U.S. defence capabilities. This is not to say the Canadian Forces do not maintain very effective operational level relationships within and across the U.S. military. Both their role in NORAD and the
POLICY OPTIONS APRIL 2002
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