Science for Peace welcomes the opportunity to join in the national discussion of the Defence Policy Review. Science for Peace members come from the sciences, engineering, the social sciences, and the humanities. The organization is an NGO and has Canadian charitable status. Members first came together over 30 years ago to oppose nuclear weapons. Our educational and research work now covers many topics related to peace and security.
In previous submissions to the Canadian government we emphasized that defence policy needed to be guided by Canadian foreign policy and by a comprehensive understanding of security. This broad approach is consistent with The Defence Policy Review Consultation Paper which articulates “a strong link between defence policy, foreign policy, and national security” involving “diplomatic engagement, humanitarian and development assistance, and other measures”.
Hovering in the background of Canadian defence policy is the NATO Warsaw Summit in early July in which the Canadian government will have made a decision about stationing Canadian troops before completion of this public consultation. Russia is represented as the immediate threat, but neglected here is the U.S. multi-nation involvement in regime change and significant expansion of NATO and of its nuclear weapons program. There are now dangerous threats of nuclear and cyber war, climate change, terrorism, the consequences of Brexit, grossly pathological leadership (the Chilcot and similar investigative reports), economic collapse, resurgent aggressive nationalism and significant political instability such as the attempted coup in Turkey. How does the Department of National Defence best protect and serve the Canadian people? And are the investments in weapons systems and troop deployments iatrogenic? Does the cure worsen the threats of Canadian and international insecurity and violence? This submission proposes recommendations for action at the national and international levels and then summarizes our understanding of threats to peace and security.
Our Recommendations for the Department of National Defence and Related Departments:
- PEACE DEPARTMENT: It is timely to establish a department of peace. There are complex, unprecedented threats to human life that require interdisciplinary collaboration and a great deal of knowledge. The transformations required by the impacts of climate change will be extensive, requiring fundamental changes to the economy, to international relations, re-location of people, admission of large numbers of refugees, etc. A new office is possible: the current Trudeau government established a cabinet position on climate change. A law- and public health-based security system is closer to the UN Charter and is already practised inside nations.
- NATO: The Prime Minister has agreed to deploy troops to join NATO forces in Latvia before completion of Department of National Defence country-wide public discussions. Upgrading Canada’s fleet begs the question about whether Canada is actually threatened to the degree that it needs to attack other countries (in violation of international law). It begs the question about the rationality, legality, and moral justification for NATO. Military interventions and foreign interference in the Middle East and North Africa have left recently functioning states in total collapse, fomenting new sectarian conflicts and terrorism where there had been relative stability and inter-ethnic coexistence. The Department of National Defence can participate in the discussion about the function of NATO. A motion in the Bundestag advocates dismantling NATO and establishing a Europe-wide security region including Russia. It is possible that Scotland will leave the U.K. and remain part of the EU, leaving questions about NATO’s nuclear submarines docked along the Scottish coast. Turkey, with NATO nuclear weapons stationed in its territory, is dangerously unstable. NATO requires contributions of 2%GDP and there is pressure on Canada to increase its contributions from the current 0.98% GDP, money needed to repair and not to destroy. The public needs to be fully informed about Canada’s arms trade and weapons spending: Canadian warplanes CF-18, F-35, Super Hornet, the $20b discretionary fund for the military, and the Canadian Pension Plan $305m investment in nuclear weapons makers. Further, the public needs to be fully informed and engaged in a decision about the viability of an aggressive military alliance in a world facing threats of human extinction.
- NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Abolition of nuclear weapons: Earlier this month, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament, Kim Won-Soo, said Canada is uniquely placed to play a catalytic role between the nuclear weapons states and the non-nuclear states in promoting nuclear disarmament.1 We underline that in the current increasingly unstable global political and economic situation, there is a new urgency to abolish – not just limit proliferation of – nuclear weapons. We concur with all the recommendations of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: Canada must
- Sponsor a resolution in the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly that seeks a mandate to negotiate a comprehensive, legally binding Convention that prohibits nuclear weapons and requires their verifiable elimination;
- Seek to undertake negotiations as a matter of urgency, as recommended by Mayors for Peace representing more than 7,000 cities worldwide, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki;
- Ensure that treaty negotiations are conducted in a forum that is open to all UN member states, using democratic rules of procedure modelledmodeled upon those of the General Assembly; and
- Ensure that participating states welcome and encourage the input and engagement of civil society.
Further Steps Regarding Nuclear Weapons:
In view of the urgent threat of intentional or accidental nuclear war, Canada must also
- pressure the U.S. to participate in the Open Ended Working Group on nuclear weapons this August;
- oppose nuclear weapons modernization by nuclear weapons states, particularly US $1tn allocation for nuclear weapons;
- demand that nuclear weapons be taken off high alert status;
- demand that the U.S. ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,
- hold nuclear states accountable to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and establish an enforceable timetable to eliminate all nuclear weapons and secure all nuclear material;
- Oppose all threats to use nuclear weapons and oppose NATO’s first-strike option;
- Reduce tensions by withdrawing troops and halting military exercises near the borders of Russia and China.
With international tensions again so high, recall that George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2000 and opened the door to nuclear weapons modernization and proliferation, to the development of missile defense, and to the strategy of a nuclear first strike. That same year, the NPT Review Conference outlined 13 steps under Article VI to eliminate nuclear weapons. Murray Thomson points out NATO’s violations of these 13 Steps under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Thomson is former executive director of CUSO, and a recipient of the Pearson Medal of Peace and the Order of Canada. NATO violates Articles I and II by locating nuclear weapons in non-nuclear states and by targeting non-nuclear states. NATO violates Article VI by maintaining nuclear weapons indefinitely and by not taking the necessary and prescribed steps to eliminate nuclear weapons. Improving their use and modernizing nuclear weapons violates Steps 2, 6, and 9 of Article VI, a first strike violates Steps 6 and 9, and the presumption that nuclear weapons are essential for peace violates all “13 Practical Steps on Nonproliferation and Disarmament” Agreed to at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. www.armscontrol.org/aca/npt13steps, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/nuclear-disarmament-murray-thomson-1.3586743.
- WOMEN: Most victims of war and structural violence are civilians, not soldiers. Worldwide, women are the caretakers of children, the elderly, and are the primary farmers and homemakers. Women who represent victims and who know the devastation of violence, women who see their children’s lives derailed as they become soldiers, women who know that human relationships are more important than technology in preventing violence, should be part of decision-making processes involving peace, war, and security. Women in positions of power do not necessarily represent victims or the human dimensions. The human perspective is central. The NATO website carries a similar statement about women as victims of conflict and a commitment to inclusion of women. In practice, military decisions are made by men in power.2 UNSCR 1325 [UN Resolution on women, peace, and security] does not designate a role of women, specifically as an essential voice about the catastrophes of war, in the actual decision to declare war. The ratio of civilian to military casualties has steadily increased.
- PEACEKEEPING: prioritize ceasefire support and monitoring, medical supplies, and rapid provision of humanitarian relief.
- WEAPONS SALES: Stop weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and to other regimes perpetrating gross human rights violations. Saudi Arabia is directly involved in wars in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and in supporting Islamic terrorist groups. The Department of National Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs can press for a determination of child fatalities in Yemen due to the Saudi-led coalition.
- AFGHANISTAN: Probe Canadian war crimes in Afghanistan.
- PREVENT CAUSES OF VIOLENCE: There is much historical precedent showing that war is avoidable by addressing the causes, by negotiation/diplomacy/compromise/conflict resolution. Careful research challenges assumptions that Islam or various sectarian differences, environmental catastrophe, or destitution in themselves cause violence. These must not become a rationale for military intervention or for the resurgence of xenophobic nationalism. Military violence produces its own cycle of escalating violence and lawlessness.
- ILLEGALIZE cyber warfare and prohibit weapons in space.
- IMPLEMENTING INTERNATIONAL LAW: Work towards establishing an effective global institution that will enforce the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statute Article 5.1, Principles of the UN Charter, and the Charter of the Nuremburg Tribunal regarding the “supreme crime” of war.
- REPARATIONS FOR HAITI: Together with the Department of Foreign Affairs, demand UN apology and reparations for the Haiti cholera epidemic caused by UN peacekeepers in which over 10,000 people have died.3 Previously, Canada played an aggressive role in UN peacekeeping missions in Haiti by helping to depose elected leader Bertrand Aristide and in its political interference with free elections and suppression of protest involving lethal attacks on Haitian citizens. The UN has consistently refused to accept responsibility and make reparations for the cholera victims. At present, a bipartisan statement by 158 members of the US House Representatives is demanding prompt UN accountability for the Haitian cholera epidemic.
- CLIMATE CHANGE: The security needs of the human population in the face of climate change must be addressed as a public health issue, not a military responsibility. The military is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions yet it still has a blanket exemption under the Kyoto Protocol. Notwithstanding, NATO and the Pentagon are positioning to provide climate security to the world’s people as climate becomes the new “threat multiplier.” In a presentation by former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, fifteen of the seventeen non-military issues that NATO is prepared to address are climate-related. The U.S. Navy also claims to have strategic interests in the Arctic. A 36-page document released by the Department of the Navy outlined penetration of the Arctic Circle by the Navy’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles, a third of the American nuclear triad. The military is not just a prolific user of oil; it is one of the central pillars of the global fossil-fuel economy, controlling oil-rich regions and defending key shipping supply routes. Defoliation and destruction of energy infrastructure is a major battle strategy.
- MILITARISM AND AUTHORITARIANISM: Oppose the constellation of militarism and authoritarianism, the Manichean and paranoid representations of society, the cultural idealization of violence and power.
Historical Background And The Current Global Crisis
The global humanitarian situation is extremely precarious. Securing a safe human world will require utmost cooperation, collaboration, knowledge, empathy.
In hindsight, the early 1990s were a tragic turning point as the two threats to human existence, namely nuclear weapons and climate catastrophe, could have been averted. How can Canada further national and international security in a world of such political and economic flux?
- According to the U.N., 244 million people are displaced, and there are an unprecedented 65.3 million refugees due to violence. UNICEF recently reported that 60 million children will die needlessly. 50 million people in Africa face starvation, and 330 million people in India are now displaced due to drought. Most of these people are not protected by institutions or by laws dating from the 1950s.
- Also unprecedented is extreme economic inequity: according to figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD], 60% of the global population lives in extreme poverty. Oxfam reported this year that as of 2015, the richest 1% own more than all the rest of the world. One in nine people go to bed hungry every night and one in ten people do not have safe drinking water (650 million people). Even in wealthy countries, youth are faced with a great deal of uncertainty stemming from precarious work opportunities and high unemployment and from their knowing about the fragility of the planet’s life systems.
- Greenhouse gas concentration is now permanently at least 400 ppm, meaning that sea levels will rise 3 to 5 meters this century and cause massive migrations from coastal cities and loss of essential agricultural areas. There need to be concerted strategies to protect displaced people, to reduce xenophobia. The Global Humanitarian Forum (Kofi Annan) and Oxfam reported that already by 2009, 300,000 people per year were dying of causes related to climate change. The rich, culpable countries have not lived up to their Cancun COP obligation to contribute to climate adaptation funds. In fact, foreign aid contributions can now count as adaptation funds, and there are moves to even allow military spending to qualify as climate adaptation funding.
- Institutions set up to address international crime and justice are flawed and often dysfunctional. Laws and treaties are disregarded by states and by non-state actors such as in targeted extrajudicial assassinations, in attacks on medical facilities, in the use of torture, the use of unconventional weapons, and assaults on civilian populations. The effectiveness of life-saving humanitarian measures is often limited or aborted by political interests. Armed conflicts are fought by interstate organizations like NATO and UN peacekeepers, by state militaries, paramilitaries, mercenaries, militarized police, and by armed militias. Conflicts are inter-state, intrastate, regional, proxy, and often do not fall within international laws. The International Financial Institutions and Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanisms for the most part function outside national and international laws protecting human rights and human security.
Addendum re NATO
The July NATO summit agenda includes increasing the U.S. and NATO presence across Eastern Europe, the Baltics and the Black Sea, Ukraine, and is involved in Syria where eight NATO nations are at war. The raison d’etre is Russian expansion into Georgia, Ukraine, and Crimea. There is much evidence that the opposite is true, that NATO and not Russia is expanding in Eastern Europe, that the US instigated regime change in Ukraine, and that the US is starting a new nuclear weapons arms race.
NATO military exercises close to the Russian border are not new.4
From the end of the Cold War, experts warned about NATO expansion and provocation of Russia. Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State under Clinton, strongly criticized NATO expansion. “Russia’s resentment toward the United States and the crisis that erupted in March 2014 with Russia’s occupation of Crimea were not unrelated to the Clinton administration’s insistence in the 1990s that NATO be expanded to Russia’s borders. It seemed like virtually everyone I knew from the world of academe, journalism, and foreign policy think-tanks was against enlargement.”5 George Kennan, former ambassador to the Soviet Union, later termed enlargement a ‘strategic blunder of potentially epic proportions.’ ‘[E]xpanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold war era,’ he wrote. ‘Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”
In 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined NATO in 2004. At the April 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest, the United States supported inviting Georgia and Ukraine to join the alliance. The April 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest aimed to set in motion the inclusion of Ukraine and Georgia in NATO and the EU. France and Germany opposed the move for fear that it would unduly antagonize Russia. In the end, NATO’s members reached a compromise. The alliance did not begin the formal process leading to membership, but it issued a statement endorsing the aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine: “These countries will become members of NATO.” Russia made it clear that this was unacceptable. In May 2008, the E.U. announced there would be an eastern partnership and by August, there was war between Georgia and Russia. Afterwards, Obama failed to re-set relations with Russia. The US continued to pursue its policy of pulling Ukraine from the Russian orbit.
Philip M. Breedlove announced, while Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, “that 40,000 Russian troops were ‘massing’ on the border…but in the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none. German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn’t understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn’t the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander. The pattern has become a familiar one. For months, Breedlove has been commenting on Russian activities in eastern Ukraine, speaking of troop advances on the border, the amassing of munitions and alleged columns of Russian tanks. Over and over again Breedlove’s numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America’s NATO allies in Europe.”6
We conclude with Eisenhower: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed,” that we “must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate”, that “together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.” And this requires and “alert and knowledgeable citizenry.”
2 See Michael Glennon.
3 Guardian, London: The United Nations uncovered serious sanitation failures in its Haiti peacekeeping mission just a month after a deadly cholera outbreak erupted in the country, killing thousands, a leaked report has revealed.
4 March 2015 war games in Eastern Europe and naval exercises in the Black Sea warships from US Turkey Italy Canada and Romania. NATO military parade on Feb 24 held just 300 meters from Russia border.
• March 30, 2015. Twelve U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt IIs deployed as a 90-day theater security package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. Europe: Pentagon Spends $1 Billion In Anti-Russian Build-Up$, Deployments on the Black Sea
• NATO To Test Rapid Strike Force Aimed At Russia, March 31, 2015
• Stars and Stripes, March 31, 2015 Exercise will test NATO’s new quick-reaction teamNATO will begin testing the capabilities of a new spearhead unit that has been carved out of the NATO Response Force. The unit, formally known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, was formed in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.By John Vandiver
• U.S. Department of Defense, April 20, 2015 Military Exercises Begin in Ukraine, Philippines. By Cheryl Pellerin, WASHINGTON: Military training exercises begin today in Ukraine for Fearless Guardian, and in the Philippines for the 31st iteration of Exercise Balikatan, a Pentagon spokesman said today. Fearless Guardian is the name for the training of Ukraine’s newly-formed National Guard under the Congress-approved Global Contingency Security Fund. Under the program, the United States will begin training three battalions of Ukrainian troops over a six-month period beginning later this month. U.S. To Lead Three Military Exercises In Ukraine This Year, Interfax-Ukraine March 19, 2015 Rada speaker signs bill allowing foreign military drills in Ukraine in 2015. Under the bill, the drills Ukraine is planning to host in 2015 include three U.S.-Ukrainian exercises, Fearless Guardian, Sea Breeze, and Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident, and two Polish-Ukrainian ones, Safe Skies and the Law and Order.
5 P. 143n. Strobe Talbott, The Russia Hand: A memoir of Presidential Diplomacy 224, 2003, quoted in Glennon, Michael J. (2015). National Security and Double Government. Oxford. Glennon, p. 144n., quoting from “A Fateful Error”, The New York Times Feb 5, 1997