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Looks like Canada is going get 65 new F-35 fighters


nec209
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On July 16, Defence Minister Peter MacKay stood in front a life-size model of a fighter plane and announced the biggest military purchase in Canada's history.

 

 

"The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the best aircraft we can provide our men and women in uniform to face and defeat the challenges of the 21st century," he said. Canada had signed a multi-billion-dollar deal for 65 planes.

 

 

The announcement unfolded as planned.

 

 

Inside National Defence headquarters, analysts compiled a report on the 263 articles and 94 editorials produced on the subject. Initial coverage was considered positive.

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Selling+Canada+need+fighter+jets/3965471/story.html#ixzz18EAVZjM2

Edited by nec209
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Fortunately there has been some objection from the usually politically inert population and from some commentators lately. Canada's leading military expert, Gwyn Dyer, once commented that Canada really doesn't need to have an army, given that the U.S. would block any attempted attack since it values a quiescent northern border and could not tolerate a foreign occupier there. And who is going to attack Canada anyway? Denmark as a result over the ownership of an island which has a cash value of about $1.98? Greenland? The Cold War is long over, so there is nothing to fear from that ancient threat. Terrorists may say that Canada is on their hit list, but no respectable terrorist is going to waste his energies on a country with such a benign and low international profile when there are so many better targets around. And in any case, combatting terrorists with armed forces is like trying to keep mosquitos out of your tent with a cannon, since the scale of the attacker and defender are so incommensurable, the one never interacts with the other.

 

All Canada really needs is what military experts call 'a domestic constabulary,' which is just a tiny force for responding to natural disasters, Quebec unrest, large-scale riots, Native demonstrations, and illegal immigrants trying to land on the coast. In a country that kills a certain number of its citizens by its long waiting lists for medical care, wasting money on an unnecessary military is preposterous and murderous.

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So you think the days of nation-versus-nation war are behind us, Marat?

 

i really think that you need to substantiate this question with some form of reasoning and plausibility...

 

Otherwise it might be misconstrued as a personal attack.

Edited by divagreen
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So you think the days of nation-versus-nation war are behind us, Marat?

 

Nah, he's just thinking logically from the Canadian POV.

 

There are no nearby nations that can threaten Canada. The only nation they share a border with is the USA so they won't be attacked by land. The only possible assault is over the pole and anybody who can mount such an attack is too big for Canada to fight alone, they will need the help of the USA. Any conventional forces that Canada could put into the fight would be a drop in the bucket compared to the US forces and wouldn't make much if any difference to the end result. So what is the point of having Canadian forces?

 

And the US would fight. The USA gets too much water and power from Canada to allow a hostile, conquered Canada to exist. For your own strategic safety, America would have to come to the aid of Canada.

 

New Zealand is thinking much the same way. Stuck down at the bottom of the Pacific who can attack them? Who's going to sail an invasion fleet 6,000 miles to conquer the arse end of nowhere? Besides, for all their posturing the Kiwis know bloody well that Australia wouldn't allow it to happen and we'd drag you yanks in as well. And if the big ones are flying then tanks, ships and planes won't matter much in the aftermath anyway. But in a conventional war, even a World War, NZ can't really be threatened unless and until Australia falls.

 

Due to their geographic positions, some nations really don't need any "Armed Forces" except as needed for patrolling territorial waters. For them, the only reason to have a military is to project their force into another part of the world. So, if they don't wish to project their force, why have a military?

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i really think that you need to substantiate this question with some form of reasoning and plausibility...

 

Otherwise it might be misconstrued as a personal attack.

 

i really think that you need to substantiate this statement with some form of reasoning and plausibility...

 

Otherwise it might be misconstrued as a personal attack.

 

from the OP's link:

 

"Embarrassingly for him, Russian bomber flights over the Arctic — just two days ago — underscore why our men and women in uniform need modern equipment to do their jobs," the memo noted.

 

Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Selling+Canada+need+fighter+jets/3965471/story.html#ixzz18HrjhMlb

 

Interesting, sounds very cold war. I'm surprised NATO hasn't been more sensitive about Russia's militarization of the Arctic.

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Why need an army

Countries (esp. Western countries) have armies so that they can:

1. Bully other countries into submission.

2. Help each other to do that.

Canada has an army and an airforce mostly for point #2. To help friends... especially their neighbors, the USA.

 

Of course, everybody still calls their war ministeries "ministry of defense". All kinds of words are being used... but ultimately, Western countries are fighting wars in other people's countries since 1945.

 

Why need (specifically) the JSF

Now, I think a more interesting story is the Joint Strike Fighter in itself.

 

It's a typical defense project: it's delayed and over budget, has many technical problems, and there are concerns about performance.

The Netherlands isn't so sure it wants to buy it anymore. The large majority of the population doesn't want it. The only reason we are still considering to buy it will probably be revealed by Wikileaks any day now: Some secret promises to the USA's pentagon and weapons industries.

 

So, all-in-all, Canada is really (really!) doing the American defense industry a favour by signing that contract. The industry needs it, because they spend money like water, and they might lose customers. This is some money in their pocket... Money, by the way, that may well evaporate if the Americans and British pull the plug on the project altogether.

 

[edit] Adding another reply:

How to influence the people and media

"Embarrassingly for him, Russian bomber flights over the Arctic — just two days ago — underscore why our men and women in uniform need modern equipment to do their jobs," the memo noted.
Interesting, sounds very cold war. I'm surprised NATO hasn't been more sensitive about Russia's militarization of the Arctic.

 

From the article:

What MacKay didn't say was that the Canadian and Russian militaries were on relatively good terms . In fact, they'd planned a training exercise together. Just weeks after MacKay voiced his concerns about the Russian flight, Canada, Russia and the U.S. launched that exercise. Dubbed Vigilant Eagle, it involved military personnel operating from command centres in Russia and the U.S. used fighter jets to follow and intercept a "hijacked" plane. (same source as OP)

 

Emphasis mine.

In short: The whole Russian story was just a little trick to convince a few more people to buy those expensive fighter planes.

Edited by CaptainPanic
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I think this thread is odd in the context of the constant pressure from the left for the US to reduce its defense spending. "Please reduce your awful defense spending, Americans, and by the way, we're going to rely on you to defend us and we're not going to spend any money on defense ourselves." A "domestic constabulary"? Seriously?

 

 

 

Why need an army

Countries (esp. Western countries) have armies so that they can:

1. Bully other countries into submission.

2. Help each other to do that.

Canada has an army and an airforce mostly for point #2. To help friends... especially their neighbors, the USA.

 

Given that there are countries like Iran and North Korea out there, and not too long ago Iraq, not to mention Somalia, Darfur, recent events in Bosnia, etc, is there anything actually wrong with point #2?

 

In fact, there's another example of contrary reasoning right there. You're saying that America should do all the international heavy lifting, but of course only at the direction of international agreement -- goodness, we wouldn't want Americans do decide for themselves how their military hardware is used! But more to the point, you're absolutely not going to help Americans do this heavy lifting because that would just be "bullying!"

 

Apparently Canada disagrees with you, and still sees value in international military participation. Good for them.

 

 

Of course, everybody still calls their war ministeries "ministry of defense". All kinds of words are being used... but ultimately, Western countries are fighting wars in other people's countries since 1945.

 

Why need (specifically) the JSF

Now, I think a more interesting story is the Joint Strike Fighter in itself.

 

Okay, setting aside for a moment the obvious conundrum of an anti-war post including a detailed analysis of the merits of a defense program, let's take a look at this criticism.

 

It's a typical defense project:

 

Actually the US purchase of the F-35 is the most expensive military procurement contract in history. It is the ONLY airplane even under development anywhere in the world that meets all of these stunning criteria:

 

- (Real) Stealth

- Supersonic

- V/STOL

- Carrier-capable

- Air superiority role

- Ground attack role

 

All that for only $96 million. Quite a bargain, actually. In comparison, the F-22 Raptor costs something like $340 million a pop. Factoring development cost into the Lightning raises that unit cost to something like $200 million, but that cost has been shared by some of the international partners. So impressive is the technology that China keeps trying to steal it.

 

In comparison, the F-16 Falcon unit cost was about $17 million. But that plane is already outmatched by a number of aircraft already deployed and many more under development. And it had no stealth, no V/STOL capability, and no carrier capability. The F-35 will also partially replace roles currently held by the F-15 (since the F-22 was too expensive to buy in bulk). The F-15 had a unit cost double that of the F-16, and more recent models ranged as high as $100 million a pop.

 

Aircraft built or under development in Europe, Russia and China meet some of those criteria, but not all of them. Now personally I don't agree with this approach, I think those other countries went a smarter direction, splitting those roles amongst various types. It's added cost and complexity to the design. But I don't know that we would have spent less money overall had we split those roles amongst an F-36, an F-37 and an F-38. There are many variables at work here.

 

But the reason the procurement is so large isn't only because the plane is expensive, it's also because it's A HUGE CONTRACT. The US is purchasing only a couple hundred F-22 Raptors, but it is buying more than 2,400 F-35 Lightning IIs.

 

 

it's delayed and over budget, has many technical problems, and there are concerns about performance.

The Netherlands isn't so sure it wants to buy it anymore. The large majority of the population doesn't want it. The only reason we are still considering to buy it will probably be revealed by Wikileaks any day now: Some secret promises to the USA's pentagon and weapons industries.

 

The Netherlands may not want it, and that's certainly their right. But the United Kingdom wants it. They plan to deploy them as the main air component of the two new super-carriers they're building.

 

And they're not alone. International sales of the F-35 are quite large. Including the US purchase, something like 3,100 units are on order, and aside from Canada and the Netherlands, other purchasers include Italy, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark.

 

If you're looking for sources, by the way, all of this information is available in the well-sourced Wikipedia article on the F-35. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-35_Lightning_II

 

 

So, all-in-all, Canada is really (really!) doing the American defense industry a favour by signing that contract. The industry needs it, because they spend money like water, and they might lose customers. This is some money in their pocket... Money, by the way, that may well evaporate if the Americans and British pull the plug on the project altogether.

 

Sure, I suppose that's true. We appreciate your business, thank you for coming and please shop with us again.

 

IMO the project is under no real threat of elimination, though. Cutbacks, perhaps, but as the reasoning of this thread has shown, the US military has to fly something, and they can't keep flying their aging F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 airframes forever.

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When Canada does 'contribute' to international neo-colonialism expeditions, the size of its contribution is so miniscule that it cannot realistically be said to be designed to achieve any practical result. Thus its military contribution is made just to provide a fig-leaf to the imperialist ventures of other nations, since Canada's international reputation as a benign and harmless country, closely identified with United Nations missions, proves a useful asset in the propaganda war to make the military intervention look legitimate. Why else would the U.S. put such strong diplomatic pressure on Canada to keep 600 troops in Afghanistan?

 

The military force a country needs is always a function of its international geo-political circumstances. Regardless of whether it is fair for the U.S. to have to bear the expense of providing the world's military forces or not, the fact is that it does, and the analysis of how much military Canada requires has to start from that fact. So given that fact, Canada could get away with having nothing but a tiny domestic constabulary force and rely on the overwhelming strategic interest of the U.S. in having a quiescent northern neighbor for its defense.

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Sure, because the US does most of the international heavy-lifting. Or as you put it, "neo-colonialist, imperialist venturing". They don't need much, and that's why they're not buying much. Given their size, 65 aircraft is hardly a large number.

 

But that wasn't the question I asked you. The question I asked you was, do you think the days of nation-versus-nation war are behind us, Marat?

 

Since divagreen asked for substantiation, here is why I ask:

 

The Cold War is long over, so there is nothing to fear from that ancient threat.

 

In a country that kills a certain number of its citizens by its long waiting lists for medical care, wasting money on an unnecessary military is preposterous and murderous.

 

international neo-colonialism expeditions

 

its military contribution is made just to provide a fig-leaf to the imperialist ventures of other nations

 

The military force a country needs is always a function of its international geo-political circumstances.

 

You don't have to answer, of course, but I think it's a reasonable question. I'm curious if you think that war of that kind is behind us.

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Political theorists generally accept it as a truism that democratic states don't go to war with each other, so that rules out most of the major nations of the world as likely countries to initiate nation-to-nation wars against each other. Ever since the development of the atomic bomb, large-scale wars between large countries, democratic or not, have been impossible, given that those nations having atomic weapons always threaten to intervene in these conflicts, and this intervention would have disastrous consequences all out of proportion to anything that could be gained by the war for either of the combatents.

 

The few wars there have been between large nations since 1945 have always been restricted conflicts, more a symbolic test of strength along the border than anything like the total wars of 1914 to 1945. India and Pakistan, China and Vietnam, Britain and Argentina, the Soviet Union and China -- all of these were only limited conflicts. More desperate conflicts coming closer to the type of 'total wars' which used to be fought in the 1914-1945 period have always been between smaller countries, such as Iraq and Iran.

 

Since the destructive power of modern conflicts has risen much faster than the value of anything that could be gained from fighting a large-scale modern war, wars between major nations are largely a thing of the past. During the Napoleonic Wars, the wake of destruction caused by the typical Napoleonic Army of around 100,000 men armed with highly inaccurate guns, bogged down by slow supply trains, and equipped with at most a few hundred cannons for a major battle, was minimal compared to what a three million man army could do with its enormous fire power along the Eastern Front in World War II, which in turn is miniscule compared to what an atomic war would do today. For these reasons, some have suggested that the last war to turn a profit for the victor was the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871.

 

So beyond Risk Games I don't think that we have much to fear from large-scale conflicts between major countries today.

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Other than for symbolic purposes of firing a few shots at the enemy before surrendering, buying military hardware or increasing the number of soldiers would be useless if Canada bordered China. What could you do with a population base of 33,000,000 against 1.2 billion people fighting you? (Would having Dudley Dooright on our side tip the balance?)

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What could you do with a population base of 33,000,000 against 1.2 billion people fighting you?

 

Win.

 

Russia is around a tenth of China's population. You don't think they could hold their own against China? Do you support that democracy having a military?

 

Or what about Taiwan? Clearly they can't stop China, and like Canada they enjoy US protection, but they're also a heck of a lot closer to China than even our slated-for-reduction aircraft carriers typically get. But, depending on the circumstances, they might be able to defend themselves for a while as the world geared up a response. Do you support Taiwan having a military?

 

See I think where this is going is that every answer from you is going to be "no", but with a different justification. First it was about the "ancient" notion of war, then it was about differences in size, but what I'm wondering is if it's really about opposition to military and war in any form, for any reason. But I don't want to put words in your mouth; that's why I'm asking.

 

Of course it's an open forum and I certainly can't force you to expose your opinion. All I can do, aside from asking, is put my own opinion out there and leave it open for criticism (which seems fair enough). And my opinion is this: There are more important things than human life. Freedom is one of those things. And if you aren't willing to fight for that, you're going to lose it, sooner or later.

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I think this thread is odd in the context of the constant pressure from the left for the US to reduce its defense spending. "Please reduce your awful defense spending, Americans, and by the way, we're going to rely on you to defend us and we're not going to spend any money on defense ourselves." A "domestic constabulary"? Seriously?

Why need an army

Countries (esp. Western countries) have armies so that they can:

1. Bully other countries into submission.

2. Help each other to do that.

Canada has an army and an airforce mostly for point #2. To help friends... especially their neighbors, the USA.

Given that there are countries like Iran and North Korea out there, and not too long ago Iraq, not to mention Somalia, Darfur, recent events in Bosnia, etc, is there anything actually wrong with point #2?

 

In fact, there's another example of contrary reasoning right there. You're saying that America should do all the international heavy lifting, but of course only at the direction of international agreement -- goodness, we wouldn't want Americans do decide for themselves how their military hardware is used! But more to the point, you're absolutely not going to help Americans do this heavy lifting because that would just be "bullying!"

 

Apparently Canada disagrees with you, and still sees value in international military participation. Good for them.

Your main argument - although you choose your words carefully - is that I am a leftist European surrender monkey who will come begging at the USA when we get into trouble again... like we always do (hidden reference to WWII). I counter that argument by saying that you're a typical American war hawk. There, we've called each other names. Now, let's look at the assumptions and content again.

 

You do nothing at all to support the assumption that countries cannot handle their own business without the mighty USA. Indeed, your argument goes like this:

1. Military strength is the only way to ensure safety.

2. The USA is the most powerful.

3. Logically, anyone who wants to live in peace then needs the USA's help.

4. You're all unthankful if you don't support the USA in it's military adventures.

 

I have to say that the foundation on which you build all the rest of your arguments is false... Point 1 is not necessarily true, and therefore the whole argument fails.

Also, I never said that America should do all the heavy lifting. The underlying assumption that I would agree that there is any lifting to be done is false too.

 

A trade agreement is a weapon which is grossly underestimated by too many.

 

Example: Switzerland. It has not joined in any agreements (except human rights). It doesn't join in any military adventures. It doesn't support anyone. Yet is has enjoyed peace for the last 500 years or so.

 

Obviously, Switzerland has some army and airforce (and logically no navy). But compared to the whole world, it's insignificant.

 

Regarding all the rest of your post:

 

I am not saying that we shouldn't help each other. I am not saying that we should abandon armies altogether. I am however saying that (1) we can do with less power and (2) there are other ways to achieve peace that are not explored fully. I think that the JSF is too expensive.

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I am not saying that we shouldn't help each other. I am not saying that we should abandon armies altogether. I am however saying that (1) we can do with less power and (2) there are other ways to achieve peace that are not explored fully. I think that the JSF is too expensive.

 

Less power means more dead people per conflict. Look at the death totals for WWII and consider the difference our 21st century modern army could have accomplished. It's essentially the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force that *must* start with overwhelming hardware.

 

One of the things we've learned, morally, is that we'd rather war with economies than human lives. That's why I hold a kind of grudge against the Reagan opposition that criticizes his spending outside of the context of the cold war arms race. Reagan transferred the battle from young men and women dying on foreign soil to thinning our wallets. It sucks, but it's better than actually physically fighting.

 

That's also not to say we should promote all out military avarice, but meeting the critieria of overwhelming force *does* require many nations to invest if it is to be multi-national. But we don't have that kind of even handed participation. So do we abandon overwhelming might, and fall back on incredibly high death tolls using evenly matched opposing armies? I don't think so. Let's spend money on shiny, impressive hardware that dissuades aggressors in the first place.

 

And what ways achieve peace that we're not already using? There is already a massive and cruel bureaucratic, yet politically correct buffer between acts of war and response of war. How many people have to die from international sanctions before war becomes the morally superior option? I'm serious, I'd like to know what you have in mind here for peace that we "haven't explored fully".

 

Other than for symbolic purposes of firing a few shots at the enemy before surrendering, buying military hardware or increasing the number of soldiers would be useless if Canada bordered China. What could you do with a population base of 33,000,000 against 1.2 billion people fighting you? (Would having Dudley Dooright on our side tip the balance?)

 

A single atomic bomb killed 70 to 80 thousand people in Hiroshima. And that's over 60 years ago. Now, magnitudes more than that can be felled with the push of a button (or maybe a click of a mouse?).

 

One guy could live in all of Canada and remove China and its 1.2 billion fighters from the map with nothing but hardware, costing him mere moments of finger pushing.

 

This is a fundamental driver for man to make tools - to accomplish more work with less manpower.

 

 

Your rationale resembles the eternal pacifist. Born to serve anyone with might. I'm going to guess you've never spent time in a concentration camp?

Edited by ParanoiA
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You do nothing at all to support the assumption that countries cannot handle their own business without the mighty USA. Indeed, your argument goes like this:

1. Military strength is the only way to ensure safety.

2. The USA is the most powerful.

3. Logically, anyone who wants to live in peace then needs the USA's help.

4. You're all unthankful if you don't support the USA in it's military adventures.

 

No, my argument is:

 

1. Military strength is AN important component in national safety.

2. The USA protects itself and its allies.

3. You should be prepared to defend yourselves too.

4. Critics (not necessarily you) shouldn't chastise us for military spending AND demand that we be there because they don't want to spend money on defense.

 

 

I am not saying that we shouldn't help each other. I am not saying that we should abandon armies altogether. I am however saying that (1) we can do with less power and (2) there are other ways to achieve peace that are not explored fully. I think that the JSF is too expensive.

 

Great, glad to hear it. I have given evidence as to why I think it's not too expensive, but you're certainly entitled to your opinion.

 

Can you give an example of any weapon systems, owned by any country, at any time in history, that you think are appropriate? I.E. not "too expensive"? That way we can compare your assessment.

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The significance of military expenditures has to be understood in the context of human security understood in its broadest terms. Given how improbable any geopolitical constellation now is which could force major countries into a significant war with each other, we have to balance the real social cost of military expenditures against the measurable benefits they produce. For example, while the United States spends about as much on its military per year as the rest of the world combined, and so Americans can regard themselves as 100% protected against injury or death from military threats, Americans have to regard themselves as extremely underprotected against the vast array of infinitely more harmful and likely threats which may materialize in American society to their health (unprotected by an effective public health insurance system), their safety from criminal attack (minimally protected given the high crime rate in the U.S. which the government refuses to reduce by rational social programs against poverty), and their financial security (unemployment, personal bankruptcy, serious disabilty with threadbare social safety nets).

 

So when I lived in America I was a trillion times more worried about threats to my health, threats from crime, and threats from poverty in a country with next to no social safety net than I was about invading hordes from Marxist Nicaragua or whatever fantasy was prompting the government to pour billions into the gaping maw of the military-industrial complex at the moment. And yet the real tragedy of that lavish excess of expenditure on unreal military threats to the health, life, and security of individual Americans was that misinvesting all that taxpayer money meant killing people by depriving them of public healthcare, by diminishing research to cure disease, or vastly diminishing their quality of life by the inability of the government to afford the necessary social safety net.

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