Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conflict Prevention Key with No Clear Military Wins in Future, Says Vance

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conflict Prevention Key with No Clear Military Wins in Future, Says Vance

Article excerpt

No clear military wins in future, says Vance


OTTAWA - The country's top general says Canadians need to accept hard truths about their military's future role in a volatile world -- preventing conflicts will be essential, while clear-cut battlefield victories are a thing of the past.

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of the defence staff, offered that assessment Wednesday in a major speech to a defence industry conference in Ottawa.

Vance says he welcomes the government's new defence review, but he says Canadians need to accept that the days of decisive military victories, such as those of the two world wars, are long gone.

"That's somewhat counterintuitive to many Canadians. But it's the truth."

The military, he said, now often finds itself having to "stitch together and reweave the social, political and economic fabric" of countries they are still fighting in.

"Given that reality," the general added, "given that the types of threats that we are facing do not necessarily lend themselves to cataclysmic wins and losses, I think we have to turn our mind to conflict prevention, to try to prevent the conflict before it happens."

Vance's acknowledgment of a greater role for the Canadian forces in peacekeeping dovetails with the Liberal government's plan to return the military to that traditional role.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion told The Canadian Press that he agrees with Vance's assessment of the shifting global landscape. That's one reason why Canada is also focusing on Jordan and Lebanon as part of its expanded mission to fight Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq.

Dion also cited Egypt and Tunisia -- two countries he visited this last week on a Middle East tour that also took him to Saudi Arabia -- as examples of countries that need support to prevent them from falling into chaos.

Both countries have been rocked by terror attacks and that has hurt their respective tourism industries, Dion said. …

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