Post-9/11 Canada-US Security Integration: Of the Butcher, the Baker, and the Intelligence-Policy Maker

By Hussain, Imtiaz | American Review of Canadian Studies, March 2009 | Go to article overview

Post-9/11 Canada-US Security Integration: Of the Butcher, the Baker, and the Intelligence-Policy Maker


Hussain, Imtiaz, American Review of Canadian Studies


Will the post-9/11 environment revive Canada--US intelligence cooperation and catalyze a security community? A comparative study based on intelligence principles, ideas, norms, orientations, and institutions drawn from the literature predicts cooperation but not necessarily a security community, owing to different (a) histories, (b) security interpretations/agenda placements, (c) political and legislative cultures, (d) degrees of public acceptance, and (e) domestic-international inclinations. Waning British influences, evaporating Anglo-Saxon identities, and changing strategic interests compel Canada to play Thomas Hughes's butcher role, and the US the more encompassing intelligence policy maker role.

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Questions and roles

The broader war against terrorism raises pertinent North American questions: Will Canada and the United States revive the Cold War security community? (1) What role will intelligence, with its capacity to catalyze preemption-based policy, play in any security based cooperation, and what role is needed for intelligence in order for the 2005 Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) between Canada, Mexico, and the United States to succeed?

Although Winn L. Taplin defines intelligence as consisting "of the collection, analysis, evaluation, and dissemination of information for 'positive' intelligence and counterintelligence and the conduct of Special Activities (covert action)," (2) Thomas Hughes's role orientations characterize the subject better. (3) Intelligence, Hughes posits, boils down to playing the roles of the butcher (keeping intelligence a permanently top-priority concern), the baker (formulating consistently high levels of intelligence expenditures), or the intelligence-policy maker (running across the entire spectrum, from the drawing board to the trenches, serving as both butcher and baker). (4) The comparative study of orientations and institutions offered in this article, based on criteria articulated by Taplin and Michael A. Turner, finds (a) Canada playing the butcher and the United States the intelligence-policy maker roles; and (b) both roles limiting mutual cooperation due to different military cultures and global positioning.

Comparing orientations and intelligence institutions

Similar security portraits can produce different policy outcomes, as is evident if done places principles, ideas, and norms under the microscope. Table 1 illustrates this with Taplin's six principles.

Table 1. Intelligence principles: Canada-US comparisons.

Principles                    Canada              United States

1. Intelligence derives    It stems from both  Stemming from domestic
from international, as     domestic and        circumstances,
opposed to domestic,       international       intelligence took an
conflict or rivalry        conflictual         international shift,
                           circumstances       and shows at two-flank
                                               post-9/11 orientation

2. Conduct or use of       True                True
intelligence involves
secrecy

3. Clandestine collection  True                True
of information is the
fundamental activity of
intelligence

4. Truth must be the       Not always true     Not always true
basis of good
intelligence

5. Intelligence in a       True                True
vacuum is of no value;
tardy intelligence is of
little value

6. Special activities      Domestically true,  True, but undergoes
must involve native        not so abroad       trials and errors
knowledge of the                               internationally
national groups toward
which they are directed

Source: Adapted from Taplin (1989, 475--91).

Principles

Nuances, rather than contrasts, riddle the principles picture. As the first dimension acknowledges, intelligence derives from international conflict or rivalry for both countries. …

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