Jan 14

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Jan 11

Further to this post (and the link at end),

Would Anyone Write Thus about A.H.?

what unites certain “isms”. Excerpts from a review in the Times Literary Supplement, January 4, pp. 7-8 (full text may be available here)–though I would not equate “ordinary” fascism with the German variety:

Casualties of progress

Vladimir Tismaneanu [more here]

Communism, Fascism, and some lessons of the twentieth century

Discussing the Declaration of the Rights of Toiling and Exploited People promulgated in the Soviet Union in January 1918, in which sections of the population regarded as “former people” were disenfranchised, Vladimir Tismaneanu writes: “It can hardly be considered a coincidence that the term byvshie liudi (former people), which became commonplace in Bolshevik speak, implied that those to whom it applied were not quite human”. The disenfranchised groups included functionaries of the tsarist police and military, class aliens who lived off unearned income, clergy of all religions and anyone economically dependent on those so far listed. Debarred from the rationing system (for many the chief source of sustenance), liable to have their property confiscated, and prohibited from seeking public office, people in these categories - along with their families, since being a former person was defined as an inheritable condition - were excluded from society. The system of categories, Tismaneanu writes, was “the prototype taxonomy for the terror that was to follow in later years”. Denying some human groups the moral standing that normally goes with being a person, this act formed the basis for the Soviet project of purging society of the human remnants of the past.

It is also one of the grounds for Tismaneanu’s belief that in important respects Communism and Fascism were at one. He is clear that “Communism is not Fascism, and Fascism is not Communism. Each totalitarian experiment has its own irreducible attributes”. Even so, the two were alike in viewing mass killing as a legitimate instrument of social engineering…

An ambitious and challenging rereading of twentieth-century history, The Devil in History is most illuminating in showing that parallels between the two totalitarian experiments existed from the beginning. Tismaneanu confesses to being baffled by what he describes as “the still amazing infatuation of important intellectuals with the communist Utopia”. “It is no longer possible to maintain and defend a relatively benign Lenin”, he writes, “whose ideas were viciously distorted by the sociopath Stalin.” Unlike Stalin, Lenin showed no signs of psychopathology. Rather than being an expression of paranoia, methodical violence and pedagogic terror were integral features of Bolshevik doctrine. By their own account, Lenin and his followers acted on the basis of the belief that some human groups had to be destroyed in order to realize the potential of humanity. These facts continue to be ignored by many who consider themselves liberals, and it is worth asking why.

…Lenin may have held to a version of humanism, but it was one that excluded much of actually existing humankind…

…If radical evil consists in denying the protection of morality to sections of humankind, the regime founded by Lenin undoubtedly qualifies. We are left with the question why so many liberals disregard these facts…

No flipping kidding.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Jan 10

One certainly recognizes this approach in the Canadian context. An excerpt from a review in the the NY Review of Books (Jan. 10, p. 53–text subscriber only but maybe here):


How China Gets Its Way
January 10, 2013
Jonathan Mirsky

China’s Search for Security
by Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell

Ding Lin/Xinhua/Corbis

The new members of China’s Politburo Standing Committee arriving to meet with the press, Beijing, November 15, 2012. From left: Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli…

one of the truly brilliant contributions of China’s Search for Security is the authors’ exploration of “face.” Everyone knows this means “favorable personal recognition.” What may surprise readers, even some China specialists, is their discussion of how Beijing deploys face as both a bargaining tool and, if necessary, a weapon in China’s international relations. China uses the concept of face to warn others not to shame it in public, and it has succeeded by persuading both foreign leaders and diplomats and businessmen that China, perhaps uniquely, dislikes public criticism. Of course no one likes to be criticized, but Beijing has somehow inserted into its dealings with foreigners the concept of “quiet diplomacy,” if difficult matters cannot be avoided. My own experience revealed that what actually happens is that no discussion occurs while outsiders are assured it took place. In 1991, then Prime Minister John Major assured foreign correspondents in Beijing that he had “banged the table” about human rights with Premier Li Peng. Anson Chan, a senior Hong Kong official who was in the room, informed me that human rights went unmentioned.

Nathan and Scobell point out that the Chinese, ever-sensitive about slights and loss of face, are often blunt in their dealings with others [see second link below], and can “extract humiliating concessions from a negotiating adversary…

Very relevant:

Dealing with the Dragon Devil, or…

…”When it comes to trade with China, we are all hypocrites now…

Dragon’s Canadian Diplomacy: “shut up”

Tibetans are Burning, Part 2, or, the Dragon Would, Wouldn’t it?

Beware the Almighty Dragon Dollar
…there’s always the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, now the chief Canadian propagandist for Beijing’s corrupt princelings and party tycoons, to tart things up with opinion pieces in the dailies and chat show appearances to make us all feel better about ourselves…

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Jan 10

Further to this post (with its hint), a comprehensive review of possible contenders and the choppers’ missions–with a similar hint:

Coast Guard Helicopters by Peter Pigott
©Frontline Security Vol.7 No.3

What may tip the scales in favour of any bid proposal – besides proven performance especially with foreign coast guards – will be Industrial Regional Benefits and the amount of “Canadian content” each company has. In 1984, a key reason that the Canadian government chose the Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105 (over the traditional U.S. choice) for the Coast Guard, is said to be because the German helicopters were to be assembled at MBB Canada’s Fort Erie facility – renamed Eurocopter Canada Ltd in 1992.

No helicopter manufacturer has a larger Canadian footprint than Bell Helicopter. In the Canadian aerospace industry as a whole, only Bombardier is bigger. Established in 1986, Bell Helicopter’s Mirabel facility is home to more than 2,000 employees ­providing engineering design, manufacturing and support for Bell Helicopter’s commercial helicopter business. With its 61,000 m2 (656,600 sq.ft.) of hangar, assembly and office space, the plant has produced more than 4,000 commercial variant helicopters. The Mirabel facility supports Bell customers with airframe design, product development, composites, complete integration, flight testing, certification and product support.

A second Canadian footprint is located at Calgary International Airport. For more than 35 years, its Canadian Supply Center has been responsible for providing Bell Helicopter parts, sales and distribution for the Bell fleet, both commercial and military in Canada...

In this competition, Bell may have an advantage over the other manufacturers due to the fact that the CCG already uses its 206 and 212 models. The Canadian public is also familiar with its machines as Bell’s CH146 Griffon did such stalwart work with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. The Griffon is the militarized version of the Bell 412 medium twin [more here]. The 412EP has all the advantages of the 212 – like the large cabin, payload, and performance – but is much more. While the 212’s designed useful load is 2,261 kg (4,985 lb), for instance, the 412EP can carry 2,313 kg (5,100 lb). Partially because of its four-bladed main rotor and higher transmission ratings, the 412EP outperforms its predecessor. It has a maximum cruise speed of 226 km/h (122 knots) versus 185 km/h for the 212 and a range of 659 km (356 nautical miles) to the 212’s 424 km…

Note that the RCN’s planned new Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships will rely on those CCG helicopters when up north:

Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships to Assert Northern Sovereignty With Unarmed Helos

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Jan 10

Further to this post (and Comment 3.),

President Obama Nominates Hagel for SecDef, Brennan for CIA Chief

two pieces make a similar point:


Why the Left Should Embrace John Brennan
The architect of the drone program is the only one who can fix it.

…Because at the same time that Brennan is the architect of the drone program, he is also one of the most prominent critics in the administration of its usefulness and secrecy. According to a recent profile in the Post, Brennan is the person inside the president’s national security team “who questions the justification for each drone attack, who often dials back what he considers excessive zeal by the CIA and the military, and who stands up for diplomatic and economic assistance components in the overall strategy.”

Indeed, Brennan has been one of the leading proponents of moving the drone program from the CIA, where it is almost completely opaque (aside from the occasional leak), to the military, where by law there would be greater transparency. Now, in fairness, some have questioned whether military control would actually lead to greater openness — actions taken by Joint Special Operations Command can disappear down their own particular black hole. But as Brennan stated this past fall, “I think the rule should be that if we’re going to take actions overseas that result in the deaths of people, the United States should take responsibility for that.” Putting the program in the military’s hands would go a long way toward achieving that goal.

Indeed, Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, has pushed for the agency to focus more on intelligence activities and less on the paramilitary operations that have increasingly defined its mandate since 9/11. As CIA director, Brennan will certainly have more opportunity to implement such a shift than he does now from inside the White House. And as one of Obama’s most trusted advisers, he will likely have the juice to see it through…

Plus from the well-connected David Ignatius:

This back-to-the-future theme is visible, too, in Obama’s nomination of John Brennan as the new CIA director. A 25-year CIA veteran, Brennan wants to rebalance the agency back toward its traditional intelligence-gathering function and away from the recent emphasis on paramilitary covert action. More trench coats, less body armor, in other words…

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Jan 10

1) Prime Minister Harper (see: “PM Gives Radarsat Constellation a Push“) comes through:

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates signs $706M Radarsat Constellation deal
[more here

(Credit: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.)]

2) The headline, who’s a jerk?

Fake parts in Hercules aircraft called a genuine risk

Documents show the Canadian military has known about the bogus electronic chips in the giant [actually the C-17s are the giants] Hercules C-130J aircraft since at least July 2012, but continued to hide the fact during a CBC News investigation months later.

The military continues to fly the new Hercs with the fake parts, and says it still has no immediate plans to replace them.

A 14-month investigation by the powerful U.S. Senate armed services committee concluded last year [May 2012] that counterfeit parts in the Hercules transports and other American-made military equipment are prone to failure with potentially “catastrophic consequences.”..

In response to the damning U.S. investigation, Canada’s then associate minister of defence Julian Fantino told CBC News last May that this country’s new fleet of Hercules was not infected with the bogus parts.

“At this point in time, other than continuing to be vigilant, we don’t have any particular concerns in this country,” the minister said…

In fact elements of the story were already out in November 2011:

China Counterfeit Parts in U.S. Military Aircraft

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Jan 09

An overview from the CDAI:

ON TRACK, Volume 17, No. 3 (Winter 2012) is now available!


    Canada’s whole-of-government experience in Afghanistan, a report on the proceedings of the 15th Graduate Student Symposium, our government’s care of ill and injured servicemen and women, foreign diplomacy, a question of R2P, Wall of Remembrance, the Canadian National Leadership Program, U.S. and allies’ defence concerns, social media, and book reviews.
    Featured authors include: the Hon. Peter G. MacKay, Dr. Howard G. Coombs, Paul Hillier, Louis A. Delvoie, Ferry de Kerckhove, Captain (Ret’d) Peter Forsberg, Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) J. O. Michel Maisonneuve, Honourary Captain (N) Colin Robertson, and Renée Filiatrault.

ON TRACK is the Conference of Defence Associations Institute’s defence quarterly journal and your valued source for informed commentary on national and international security and defence issues…

Please feel free to send us your articles, thoughts, and suggestions for publication to: pao@cda-cdai.ca

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Jan 09

1) Brits:

Armed forces are vulnerable to cyber attack, warn MPs

Commons Defence Committee said threat to UK security had ability to evolve at ‘almost unimaginable speed’
[Try to imagine such a report from a Canadian Commons’ committee.]

The armed forces are now so dependent on information technology that their ability to operate could be “fatally compromised” by a sustained cyber attack, MPs warned today [Jan. 9, report here].

The Commons Defence Committee said the cyber threat to UK security had the ability to evolve at “almost unimaginable speed” and questioned whether the Government had the capacity to deal with it.

It called on ministers to take a more hands-on approach to ensure proper contingency plans were in place.

The committee heard evidence that entire combat units, such as aircraft and warships, could be rendered completely dysfunctional by a cyber attack…

“The evidence we received leaves us concerned that with the armed forces now so dependent on information and communications technology, should such systems suffer a sustained cyber attack, their ability to operate could be fatally compromised,” the committee said.

“Given the inevitable inadequacy of the measures available to protect against a constantly changing and evolving threat … it is not enough for the armed forces to do their best to prevent an effective attack.

“In its response to this report the Government should set out details of the contingency plans it has in place should such an attack occur. If it has none, it should say so - and urgently create some.”

The committee accused ministers of “complacency” over the failure to develop rules of engagement covering the military response to a cyber attack on the UK…

Defence Minister Andrew Murrison rejected accusations of complacency, saying the Government was investing £650 million over four years in the national cyber security strategy programme [more here]…

2) US:

Cyber Attacks Bring Call for Help

American businesses want more help from government officials in fighting cyber attacks, although they continue to oppose government-prescribed safeguards, MasterCard Inc. MA +1.90% Chief Executive Ajay Banga said on Tuesday.

Mr. Banga is head of the information and technology committee at the Business Roundtable, a trade group that is set to start a push Wednesday for closer cooperation with Washington on computer security.

The effort is, in part, intended to head off a push by some policy makers for more regulation of private sector computer security. Last year, business interests helped soften and ultimately defeat a Senate cybersecurity bill that would have created a new regime of voluntary cybersecurity standards. Since then, American banks have continued to fend off harassment from Iranian hackers.

The White House is preparing an executive order that could press some companies to do more to secure their computer networks, and Congress may take another stab at passing legislation this year…

The issue of what role Washington should play in defending private computer networks has gained new urgency amid increased cyber attacks from foreign hackers. Since last fall, an Iranian hacker group has periodically disrupted access to U.S. bank websites. A veiled warning from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in October did little to stop the disruptions…


Five-Eyes Cyber Security Agreement/UK and Private Sector

President Issues Some ROEs for US Cyber War

As Canada, er, lags:

Government Ups Cyber Security Game a Bit, Mum on Threat Countries

Cyber Security and Canada: Up That Game

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Jan 09

At Defense Industry Daily’sRapid Fire“; I doubt either will fly:

  • Bell and Boeing to Canada: why don’t you have a look at the V-22? But then they started making that pitch more than a year ago.
  • Dassault is interested in Canada too… with the Rafale, according to Les Echos [in French]. Scoring that would look something like this
  • More on fixed-wing SAR, and on fighters.

    Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

    Jan 09

    Good on Veterans Affairs:

    Korean War commemorations to mark 2013

    Canada’s “forgotten war” will be the subject of commemorations for 2013, with the educational focus moving online.

    Veterans Affairs has launched an interactive web portal with archival footage and interviews with veterans of the Korean War, which is being launched about 60 years after a ceasefire ended the third bloodiest conflict in Canadian history.

    The Korean War began in 1950 when North Korea crossed the 38th parallel into the Republic of Korea. A ceasefire was signed in 1953, but Canadian troops remained in the region to maintain the peace until 1957.

    More than 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War, with more than 1,500 injured and 516 who were killed, with nearly 400 buried in the Republic of Korea. Their names appear in a memorial book on display in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

    The educational website, dubbed the “Land of the Morning Calm,” is available on the veterans affairs website, veterans.gc.ca. The webpage has the history of the war, archival footage interviews with veterans and is presented like a television newscast, complete with a news anchor.

    The government will also take a group of Korean War veterans back to the area this year…

    The website is here.

    Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute