If Canada is truly going to be a strong ‘pacific nation’ as the government claims, we must seize this opportunity to work with our democratic allies to dissuade aggression from China.
One of the most interesting aspects of history is how ruthless authoritarian states can be temporarily powerful, but quickly lose out due to ‘counterbalancing coalitions.’
For example, by 1940, Germany was the undisputed power in Europe, with a gigantic army and having won huge victories over many nations.
Yet, that dominance quickly faded away, as the United States, the UK, Canada, the Soviet Union, French Resistance, and more joined together to form a counterbalancing coalition that decimated fascist forces.
Following WW2, the Soviet Union was the dominant power in Europe, with a gargantuan land army and an almost endless supply of tanks, artillery, ground troops, and nuclear weapons.
The Soviets could have easily decimated any military in Europe without much of a challenge.
Yet, the Soviet Union’s military power and their ruthless ideology combined to create so much fear in much of the world that NATO, a counterbalancing coalition vs the Soviet Union, kept the Soviets at bay long enough for Communism to collapse on itself.
In both the case of Germany in 1940, and the Soviet Union following WW2, a ruthless, anti-democratic power was unable to win because of the opposition their actions and ideology generated.
And now, we see something similar with China.
China is the world’s second largest economy.
Their military is massive.
Their control over their population is disturbing, a combination of Communism and Fascism along with a dystopian surveillance state.
They have co-opted much of the media, corporations, and politicians in the Western world.
They have military pre-eminence over their neighbours.
Yet, as expected, as China’s ruthlessness, violations of human rights, threats to other nations, and aggression grows, a counterbalancing coalition is forming.
Firstly, China’s rising aggression has turned much of the United States against China, with opinion collapsing, and a relatively strong bipartisan consensus that China must be countered. US President Donald Trump has been the strongest President in confronting China, and much of what he is done has been tacitly supported by the Democrats – note how Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer rarely criticizes Trump on China.
Outside the US, opinion towards China has collapsed, with clear majorities in nearly every Western Nation having a negative view of China.
In Canada, an overwhelming majority oppose China, a swift turn from a few years ago.
In Australia, a country once-obsessed with closer ties with China, opinion has completely turned around.
In India, rising border tensions, including fighting and deaths, has generated strong resolve among India’s 1.3 billion people to counter China.
And that is starting to turn into something real.
The clearest manifestation is ‘the Quad.’
The Quad is short for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, and features the US, Australia, India, and Japan.
It seeks to preserve a ‘free and open indo-pacific’ region, a not-so subtle message to increasingly-aggressive China.
As reported by Nikkei Asia, the Quad will be holding joint naval exercises in November, featuring all four countries:
“India on Monday said Australia will participate in its annual naval exercise with the U.S. and Japan next month, a move expected to give a boost to defense cooperation among the four members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad,” while raising eyebrows in China.
“As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defense cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy,” the Indian defense ministry said in a statement.”
It’s no surprise that China is taking note of this.
China has regularly violated agreements with other nations and violated the law in expanding their military dominance in the South China Sea. They can get away with it because they have the dominant position in the near-area, being more powerful than neighbouring nations.
Yet, there is no way that China is more powerful than the combination of the US, India, Australia, and Japan.
Arguably, China couldn’t even beat the US Pacific fleet – despite the advantage China would have since the fighting would be near their borders.
But with all four countries to deal with, China would have no chance.
Of course, this isn’t about a war, it’s about ensuring a war never happens.
If China realizes that they can’t overpower their neighbours due to growing alliances confronting them, their aggression could be held in check.
And that’s why Canada must seek to join the Quad and make our presence felt.
Alongside increasing our military spending, it is the best thing we can do to ensure a secure future for our country.
China seeks to pick off weak and isolated countries, which is how they see Canada. Yet, if we work closely with allies who share our values like the US, India, Australia, and Japan, we will be perceived as much stronger, and it will show that China’s threats backfire by generating strong alliances to counter those threats.
Canada must abandon our weak and naïve foreign policy and recognize that we are in an era of great power competition in which we must show toughness, intelligence, and work closely with our allies.
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