Friday, 16 May 2008

America defends Canada myth

This is in response to Ken's comment earlier "It's because we demand that the United States look after our defense for us"

This is a common sentiment on both sides of the border, that the US defends Canada's territorial interests, for free. Cause they're such nice people and all.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

The US defends itself, and no one else. No part of the US Military Budget is devoted to defending Canada's territorial integrity. We get 0%. Which is as it should be.

We could debate how much implicit protection we get due to the overwhelming might of the US military, but that is straw man argument.

Why? Because there is no one threatening us.

From a historical perspective, the only country to threaten us physically in any substantial matter was the US itself (war of 1812). Then there is the practical matter of invasion. To invade Canada would require an amphibious invasion. This is no small matter. This requires some sort of air superiority over Canadian soil to support the invasion, large quantities of landing craft and the means to transport all this crap across either the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans. The only country with this capacity is the US itself (and possibly Britain).

Going back to the cold war, even though the Soviet threat was enough to keep many citizens awake at night, in reality, all of their military operations were limited to countries in Asia and Europe. Why? Because they were close to home, where reinforcements and materials are close at hand. If you look at the history of most conflicts, they are between immediate or close neighbors, not countries from different continents. Again, to look at history, the single greatest military threat to Canada, is the US itself. Not that this should keep us awake at night, as that threat is almost non-existent. But it shows how absurd other threats would be.

And finally, going back to the cold war, the only reason Canada was threatened in any way by the USSR was because of who our neighbour was, not because we were of strategic value in of ourselves.

And that is the problem with the argument relying on the implicit defense of Canada by the US, we are also implicitly threatened because our neighbor is the US.


Ken Breadner said...

Nobody threatening us except bin Laden, on multiple occasions. We are, after all, at war.
And this is where all those people I can't call anti-American anymore will pitch fits: of COURSE the U.S. is only defending itself. We're nothing more than an adjunct to the U.S. now anyway. Their larder, perhaps. I keep waiting for Washington to notice all the oil up here, not to mention all our water.

Catelli said...


I really don't follow.

Could you expound a bit more?

Ken Breadner said...

Sorry, I was half-asleep when I wrote that and I'm not even sure what I was trying to say.

It sounded almost as if you were cricizing the United States for acting in its best interest. Of course they defend the entire continent...but what really irks me is the widespread Canadian attitude that they're welcome to that (expensive) task...we shouldn't have to contribute a red cent. The Cold War may be over (for now) but other threats remain. You're right: thanks to geography, we're implicitly threatened if they are. That doesn't change the fact we're threatened. In fact, the U.S. and Canada should be working together on continental security...but we'd rather just let them do it.
It seems whenever anything military comes up in Canada, it gets shouted down. Shooting people is just so, well, American. I find it amazing we've gone from a nation with a proud military tradition to one that would like to disown its military in less than two generations.

As for that paranoid bit about our natural resources, just discount that, would you? I get tired, I get paranoid. *sigh*

Catelli said...


To be honest I haven't run into that attitude of "let the US do it". I'll take your word for that.

I have run into the attitude on the other side of the border where they feel we owe them for protecting us. This came up over our refusal to go into Iraq. Somehow we "owed" our contribution because the US defends us.

That attitude I can't abide at all.

You're right there are threats (though I can't see outright invasion as one of them), and I do support a strong revitalized Canadian Forces.