Canada’s Allies Deserve Better

Aside from the practical implications of refusing to invest in our national defence, what does it say about how we view our allies when we expect them to be responsible for defending us while we are unable to reciprocate?

There are many reality-based, practical reasons why it’s dangerous to underinvest in our military.

In a world where countries like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are spending large sums of money to enhance their capability to achieve their political objectives through the imposition of violence & death (or the threat of violence and death), we put ourselves at risk by not developing the same capabilities.

Since we still live in a world where violence – particularly at the nation-state level – does often achieve results, nation-states without the capacity for violence risk losing everything.

Even for those nations – like Canada – lucky enough to be part of a large defensive alliance like NATO, there are practical reasons why letting our capabilities wither away is not a wise course of action. For example, our lack of capability in the Arctic has led countries like the United States and the United Kingdom to propose deploying more naval assets in the region. But of course, that takes away from assets they can deploy elsewhere. As a result, our weakness has a ripple effect and makes the entire NATO alliance somewhat weaker.

These practical concerns over our lack of military investment are well known and are starting to receive increased attention from our exasperated allies.

With that in mind, we must also consider the ethical considerations at play here.

What does it say about Canada as a nation and Canadians as a people when we continue to underinvest in our armed forces even as many of our allies ramp up spending to confront escalating threats from the New Axis of China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and their various proxy groups?

Well, it says both that we are an unserious nation, and that we are content to have others die on our behalf.

Fundamentally, that is what it means to underinvest in the military at a time when the threat of war is rapidly escalating.

Canada simultaneously demands the ongoing protection that comes with NATO membership, while refusing to meet our full responsibilities as a NATO member. In the event of a massive war, that would mean our allies would have to pick up the slack. More allied troops would lose their lives as a result.

Even worse, since countries like Russia and China are constantly assessing the weakness of their potential adversaries, underinvesting in our military makes war more likely, not less.

There’s a reason Russian and Chinese propagandists – and their useful idiots in the West – denounce pro-military Western voices as ‘warmongers’ and try to dissuade the West from building up our forces. The dictators of Russia and China are the ones planning further wars of expansion, and they know that a strong NATO/strong Western alliance stands in their way. If we are weak, they are more likely to believe they can win, and thus more likely to launch an offensive war. If we are strong, they are more likely to believe they will lose, and thus be less likely to launch an offensive war.

And so, if Canada really wants to help promote peace, really wants to live up to our rhetoric about the ‘rules based international order,’ and really wants to show respect and appreciation for our allies, we must significantly increase our military spending.

Spencer Fernando

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