Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Future U.S.-Canada Joint Arctic Security and Control

By Dana Gabriel

The Arctic has been the subject of dispute between Canada, Denmark, the U.S., Russia and Norway with each country taking steps to expand their scientific research and military presence. Its vast untapped oil, natural gas and mineral resources represent a tremendous economic potential, but control of the region is also important from a strategic standpoint. Increased cooperation and military integration could be used to further secure interests in the area. Canada and Denmark recently signed an agreement which will promote defence and security collaboration in the Arctic. In August, Canadian Forces operations in the far North will include Danish and American participation. There are also calls for U.S.-Canada joint security of North America’s Arctic waters and skies.

Canada continues to assert its military presence in its northernmost boundaries. Operation Nunalivut which ran in the Arctic from April 6-26, is one of three sovereignty exercises conducted each year by Canadian Forces (CF). This year’s joint maneuvers included, “the first landing and takeoff of an Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft at CFS Alert, from a gravel and ice covered airfield and the first CF dive in the high Arctic, which was the longest sustained ice dive operation in CF history. In addition, the Arctic Response Company Group conducted concurrent training with the Canadian Rangers for the first time in the Arctic, while a team of nine Regular and Reserve Force Signallers tested a new series of Iridium, high frequency and satellite communication systems.” As part of ongoing efforts by Canada-Denmark to strengthen diplomatic and security relations in the Arctic, the operation featured, “combined training with the Danish military’s SIRIUS Dog Sledge patrol.” An agreement reached between Russia and Norway over the long-disputed area in the Barents Sea has also prompted Canada to take steps to resolve conflicting Arctic offshore boundary claims with the U.S. and Denmark.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Strengthening NAFTA Ties and the Push Towards a Common Security Front

By Dana Gabriel

As a result of the demise of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America, the NAFTA trilateral relationship has suffered. This has forced many of the SPP’s objectives to be funneled through various bilateral initiatives. Mexico’s drug war is also serving as a catalyst for more North American cooperation and integration in areas of border security, law enforcement and the military. Canada is being encouraged to further engage and commit itself alongside the U.S. in helping Mexico.

Some have described the Canada-Mexico partnership as a failed opportunity with Ottawa more preoccupied with U.S. concerns. Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s recent trip to Canada was seen as a chance to strengthen bilateral bonds and push for more trade and investment between the two NAFTA partners. In a press statement Calderon highlighted, “The reason for this visit is to consolidate and expand our bilateral relationship at all levels.” While addressing a joint session of Parliament, he called for closer ties with Canada and the United States. He emphasized that, “Integration is key to restoring strong sustained growth in North America.” Calderon characterized Mexico as a, “valuable neighbor and a strategic partner for the future of North America's prosperity.” His message was clear as he championed the need for deeper economic integration and warned against protectionism. Also on the agenda was North American security as Canada is being called upon to expand and deepen cooperation with Mexico on police and judicial issues.