Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Thursday, 24 January 2008

"Strategic Cousins"

We have become like cousins – “strategic cousins” in the words of your military historian John Blaxland. - Prime Minister Harper addressing Australia's Parliament, Sep 2007

So the Manley Report calls for Canada to team up with a strategic partner in Afghanistan. Good idea. I can think of no more strategic partner than our historical strategic cousin from Down Under.

If there is any country capable of stepping up to the plate to supply another battle group into the theatre of operations in south Afstan (the Manley panel has recommended that if NATO does not pony up another 1,000 soldiers to shore up operations in the south, Canada should pull out when its mission ends in Feb 2009), it would likely be the French. Given that the Europeans must be looking to create more synergies and interoperablility for EU defence purposes, France and the Netherlands should team up, allowing us to work closely with the Australians.

I know the Dutch will not like this suggestion. The Netherland's ambassador to Canada admitted a preference for working with Anglosphere partners, rather than European ones for language and cultural reasons. We must also take into account that it would probably be in France's linguistic and cultural interests to work with Canadians, particularly French Canadians, rather than the Dutch. But if France and the Netherlands are committed to continental union, it would be in their national interests to partner and develop their capabilities in joint operations at every opportunity.

Just as there are good reasons for Canada to cooperate with Australia in joint operations at every opportunity. The Australian military historian, Lieutenant Colonel John C. Blaxland, in a condensed version of his book "Strategic Cousins" writes:

Both Canada and Australia have similarly sized armed forces and spend virtually the same amount of their gross domestic product (1.9 per cent) on defence. Both countries also possess military cultures that have been shaped by the experience of the British Empire and by the experience of Anglo-American coalition warfare. Yet Australia and Canada are rarely compared in contemporary military literature.

The differences between Canada (with its North American location and its membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)) and Australia (with its Asia-Pacific position and its membership of ANZUS) seem to suggest that strategic differences far outweigh strategic similarities.

Despite these perceptions, this article argues that, in military terms, Australia and Canada continue to be ‘strategic cousins’. There are persistent similarities in military heritage, force development programs and operational methods between the Australian and Canadian militaries. When these similarities are combined, they provide a lasting basis for increased cooperation in the 21st century.
Neil James agrees in his review of Lt.Col. Blaxland's work:

Australia shares many similarities and indeed common cultural sources with Canada but also some intriguing differences in the practice of international relations and consequently military strategy. Based on his PhD thesis, John Blaxland’s Strategic Cousins is a masterful drawing out of the common experiences and nuanced differences faced by Canada and Australia in their strategic relations with the United Kingdom and the United States since the late nineteenth century.

One of Blaxland’s overall themes is that Australia and Canada could have achieved more together in influencing their senior strategic partners, both in the imperial defence and US alliance contexts (and in the UN), if they had effectively pooled their efforts more often. This argument is persuasive in itself but as he concedes, was often hamstrung by Canada’s traditional pre-occupation with Atlantic rather than Pacific issues, and by the neurotically-introverted, isolationist, Quebecois millstone perpetually limiting Canadian freedom of action in strategic affairs.

But, he observes, in the so-called ‘global war on terrorism’ Canada and Australia again have much in common in terms of strategic priorities and operational postures. Probably more so than at any time since the early days of the British Empire. As a result, Blaxland argues quite compellingly that the two defence forces have much to gain from working more closely together.
Hat tip: James Bennett.


Maurice said...

- First of all, we're brothers, not merely cousins. We have the same Mother, Mother England. The same holds true for Americans. Secondly, we don't appear to be as "strategic" as formerly thought...


Australia issues Travel Warning against Canada; says not as safe as South Korea

19 hours ago

TORONTO - As Canadian Tourism Officials prepare to launch a new campaign next week to promote Canada as a place for Australian tourists to "keep exploring," travellers from Down Under may have second thoughts if they take the advice of their own government's "Smart Traveller" website.

It has a warning posted about travel to The Great White North.

The website, which is run by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has Canada listed as a country where travellers should "exercise caution," which is the second-lowest rating out of five - the highest being "do not travel."

Australians are advised to be cautious because of "the risk of a terrorist attack" in Canada, heavy snow, windchill and ice in the winter, and forest fires that can erupt "at any time."

British Columbia, in particular, was singled out as being in an active earthquake zone and "subject to avalanches," along with Alberta.

Canada in the same company as some, but not all, members of the G7 - the U.S., Britain, Germany, France and Italy. But such countries as Serbia, Kazakhstan, Bosnia, Albania, Spain, Malaysia, Greece and Cambodia also have an "exercise caution" flag on the website alongside Canada.

The website says the United Kingdom remains a potential target for terrorist activity and lists the attacks in 2005 and 2007. It also says Australian travellers face the risk of terrorism in the U.S. and mentions a July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which concluded the U.S. is in a heightened threat environment.

But the site doesn't specifically mention why Canada is listed as a risk for terrorism.

Countries listed as safer than Canada include China, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Romania, South Korea, Ireland, Norway, Japan and Latvia. They get a "be alert to own security" rating, the lowest on the list.

Dozens of countries are deemed less safe than Canada and Australian travellers are warned to have a "high degree of caution" when going there. Other countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan have a "do not travel" warning.

William Davis, a spokesman at Australia's High Commission in Canada, told The Canadian Press from Ottawa the warning about Canada is not new, but a "couple of years old."

"This is quite an old warning and it's not really about Canada," Australian High Commissioner Bill Fisher said "The warning is a general one for all Western countries and it followed some quite nasty statements by al-Qaida two or three years ago about attacks on Western countries."

Fisher said Canada is low down on the list of warnings and added all governments put out warnings about countries.

While the commissioner said the warning is old, the website does list the advice as current for Saturday, January 26, 2008 - which is Australia Day, a national public holiday across the country.

"Every year we have a survey about the dream destination and every year in Australia, Canada is No. 1," Fisher added. "So I think people vote with their feet and their money, certainly with their ambitions, so we send about 200,000 Australians to Canada a year."

Canada's Foreign Affairs department declined to return calls seeking the government's reaction to the travel warning.

Foreign Affairs website, which offers advice to travellers, has no official travel warnings against Australia, and says most Canadian visitors to that country don't have any problems, and there are "no serious security or safety concerns."

However, it does say foreigners are targets for pickpockets and purse snatchers, especially at airports, and all travellers should exercise caution in the more popular tourist areas and avoid hitchhiking Down Under. It says women should not travel alone after dark in Australia and that flash floods and bushfires occur in many parts of the country.

The Canadian Tourism Commission, which promotes Canada to 10 regions including Australia, said 207,000 Australians visited Canada between January and November 2007, up 9.9 per cent from the previous year. The CTC is predicting a four-per-cent rise in the number of Aussie visitors to Canada in the first quarter of 2008 over the same period a year ago.

Sylvie Lafleur, Executive Director of overseas markets for the commission, told The Canadian Press in an interview from Vancouver that Canada is "very well known for being a friendly, safe and secure destination.

"We know that Australians are very attracted to the breadth of experiences that Canada has to offer."

She said the United Nations has ranked Canada as the second best Country to live in.

"I think that speaks volumes," Lafleur said.

She declined to say whether the travel warning would make the commission's job harder to sell Canada as a favourable tourism destination aboard. But she said she isn't worried, noting the high numbers of Australians who visit Canada.

"Canada, we know through our research . . . is really considered a friendly and welcoming destination for Australians."

Lafleur said the CTC promotes Canada through print advertising, billboards and the Internet. She said the commission will be launching a new campaign in Australia starting Monday.

According to the Canadian Embassy website in Australia, Australia provides the fifth largest number of overseas visitors to Canada each year.

Copyright © 2008 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.


Canadians bemused by DFAT Travel Warning

Posted Sat Jan 26, 2008 9:09am AEDT

Canadians are shaking their heads over an Australian Government travel advisory warning travellers to be cautious when visiting their country.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smart Traveller website warns of terrorism, dangerous winter driving, heavy snow, ice and wind chills, as well as tornadoes, earthquakes and forest fires.

It also lists Canada in its second safest category with places such as Chile, South Korea and Latvia as being safer.

There has been no response from the Canadian Government but plenty of public reaction, with many wondering where Australians are getting the information.

There is no warning for Australia on Canada's Foreign Affairs website, except for an advisory to be wary of pickpockets and avoid demonstrations because they could turn violent.

Splendor Sine Occasu said...

I've always said that Canada should be comparing itself more to Australia than to our cousins to the south...Canucks and Aussies have much in common.

And judging by the homage that PM Harper has paid to former PM Howard, I believe that he would agree.