The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

By Constantine P. Danopoulos; Cynthia Watson | Go to book overview

CANADA

Douglas Bland

Most Canadians, if asked to describe the influence of the Canadian Armed Forces on politics in Canada, would say that there is none at all. The armed forces is a small, professional organization widely dispersed across the country. Few politicians are interested in military affairs, mainly because they assume that there are no votes in defense issues and because defense policy has been directed for so long by the politics of alliances. The media have an amateur approach to foreign and defence policy, and the "defense community" is small and often more concerned with the high politics of international security relations than with Canadian defense affairs.

Yet this disinterest--and some say neglect--in one of the basic policy responsibilities of a sovereign state masks a nice paradox in Canadian politics. Soldiers at times have taken advantage of the situation to fashion an armed forces structure and a national strategy that they prefer, and at times these professional choices have surprised and caused difficulties for politicians. In these circumstances, defense policy has figured prominently in several federal elections and in the agenda of governments. On those few occasions when the armed forces were of interest to politicians, they found that the armed forces had more influence than many had expected.

Defense policy and the relationship between politicians and the senior members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CF) is shaped by Canada's customs, traditions, and its unique strategic situation. The armed forces of Canada are situated in a Westminster tradition. Officers' assumption of the supremacy of Parliament is so strongly embedded in the traditions of the profession that it is not even a subject of staff-college lectures. Rather, civil-military relations in Canada circle about politicians' concerns about auditing the "expert" advice they receive from the military and soldiers' frustrations with politicians who seem content to ignore that advice. According to General Guy Simonds, an influential postwar officer who was never a raging democrat, the defense prob

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The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Argentina 1
  • Notes 16
  • References 17
  • Brazil 19
  • Notes 34
  • References 41
  • Canada 42
  • Notes 53
  • References 54
  • China 55
  • Notes 67
  • References 70
  • Cuba 71
  • Notes 84
  • References 86
  • Denmark 88
  • Notes 100
  • References 105
  • Egypt 107
  • Notes 118
  • References 121
  • France 122
  • References 141
  • Germany 143
  • Notes 152
  • References 153
  • Greece 154
  • Notes 167
  • References 168
  • India 169
  • Notes 186
  • References 188
  • Indonesia 189
  • Notes 205
  • References 206
  • Iran 207
  • Israel 223
  • Notes 233
  • References 234
  • Japan 235
  • Notes 252
  • References 255
  • Kenya 256
  • Notes 269
  • References 270
  • Mexico 271
  • Notes 281
  • References 282
  • Netherlands 283
  • Notes 295
  • References 297
  • Nigeria 299
  • Notes 320
  • References 322
  • North Korea 323
  • Notes 335
  • References 337
  • Peru 338
  • Notes 355
  • References 360
  • Poland 361
  • Notes 371
  • References 373
  • Republic of South Africa 374
  • Notes 387
  • References 390
  • Russia and the Former Soviet Union 391
  • Notes 401
  • References 403
  • United Kingdom 404
  • Notes 415
  • United States 420
  • Notes 437
  • References 439
  • Zaire 440
  • Notes 456
  • References 458
  • Index 459
  • CONTRIBUTORS 515
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