NDP and the Military

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It seems to me like it's the pro-NATO, pro-war, pro-imperialist camp that has to account for why we need to be spending $30 billion here, $30 billion there on new gadgets to kill brown people with while we're being told that there's no money for social programs or public sector workers, not the anti-war crowd.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

I'm not sure who around here is "pro-NATO, pro-war, pro-imperialist."  Sounds to me like you're just admitting you have no idea what an appropriate Canadian military policy ought to be and prefer to toss $hi+ against the wall.


No, I just don't buy the argument that our only choices are either we need to align ourselves with imperialist forces or we need to spend a fuckload of money on military gadgets.  Especially when working people are being told we need to tighten our belts because of the recession.


M. Spector wrote:

toronto_radical wrote:

Canada's participation in Libya and Afghanistan is unacceptable. I think we need to say clearly that the NDP will change its policy and not waste money on these imperialistic peace keeping missions.

They aren't "peace keeping missions" - they are wars of aggression.

I think though we should support our ordinary enlisted men and women. They are mostly workers in uniform.

Why do they deserve more "support" than other "ordinary" workers are given for doing dangerous jobs that actually contribute something useful to society?

We need to go after waste at the top. The NDP needs to say no to the F-35 and dare I say propose to purchase (in smaller numbers) the 5th generation Sukhoi/HAL FGFA that is being developed by Russia and India. They are much cheaper.

Yeah, we can get more kills per buck by buying the cheaper warplanes. After all, it's all about saving money, right?

The shipbuilding is expensive but these ships won't be doing only military things. They will be needed for coast guards and ice breaking.

You forgot about intercepting refugee ships and incarcerating their human cargo for months on end. That's also on the Harper agenda. And the icebreakers will come in handy to keep the oil tankers running year round from the Arctic Ocean to the refineries in Texas - at least until there's no more ice left to break, in about ten years' time.

Plus the projects provide jobs.

So you're in favour of using public funds to pay people to build warships, in the name of providing them jobs. The same excuse Harper uses for supporting the tar sands and the asbestos export industry - only in this case, no privately-owned funds need be expended.

If we do enter a situation where there is a war elsewhere that is similar to WWII ie there is another Hitler...

There's always "another Hitler" somewhere that we have to destroy. Haven't you been paying attention?

we should keep an eye on maintaining our industrial base so we can start rolling out tanks and planes quickly if need be. This is something that has been missed during discussions of Canada's de-industrialization.

You mean, just in case there are no other countries left in the world willing to sell us war machines?

There's also nothing wrong with promoting more Canadian firms to develop military hardware.

Right. There's not enough military hardware in the world today. And don't forget those "jobs"!

Military hardware development creates good jobs plus it also makes up for Canada's lacking R&D budget.

Oh, I see you didn't.

And of course all research and development should be driven by Harper's military agenda, so the rest of us can enjoy any "spin-offs". That's really going to help us deal with environmental and health issues, among other things. There will always be some electronic gadget developed by the military that will solve all our social problems.

There is nothing wrong with Canada say helping the DR Congo's government train soldiers, supervise that they follow the Geneva conventions to help end the warlord backed rebellions there.

Yes, because the government of the Congo is our enlightened ally and we need to intervene to prevent any change in the government - just like we did in Afghanistan. Oh, wait...

I've got no problem arming movements that deserve it, though Canada does not export weaponry to any Third World regime or movement I believe deserving.

Yes, let's give Stephen Harper the power and ability to export weaponry to any foreign country where he wants regime change or wants to keep the current "friendly" regime in power. Smart move.

I know some will argue for diplomacy, but it is not always possible once a conflict is under way especially depending on the balance of forces.

Yes, don't listen to them. They're pinko surrender monkeys.

I think it is possible that we can train police in militaries in developing democracies to be better behaved.

Yes, we're doing that so [b]well[/b] in Haiti and Afghanistan!

There have been forward thinking military commanders that have respected human rights but they have sadly been in the minority.

Name one.

Look I'm going to agree with you on more things than most people will actually. I'm coming from the position that Canada will elect a left wing government to the left of most of the West (which at this point is optimistic!). The idea of supporting soldiers because they are workers in uniform come from the idea that well if you are going to manage anykind of serious change to the system, you have to win over the police and military. It happened in France in 1789 it happened in Russia in 1917 and the Arab revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt depended on the security forces giving up on the established regimes. M. Spector, if you think we should abolish the military, I can respect that. It would be wonderful if we could just arm the workers. I doubt that will be the case. My ideas are wildly optimistic as they are. You mock my "new hitler" comment yet I mentioned that Saddam and Ahmadinejad had both been called that and I reject those classifications. I'm not stupid. It was just an example. There really is no situation right now that could be compared to Hitler. Everything Harper has done in foreign policy has been reactionary and imperialistic. I'm saying that a left wing governed Canada will have to engage the world as it is. My assumption are for some kind of NDP government, not Harper selling arms to the Congo or anyone else. I'm not advocating Harper do what I have suggested. It will never happen. However, if an actual left wing government were to assume power in Ottawa, there's no reason we should not be helping out groups like the Polisario Front or even some left wing Palestinian ones.  Foreign policy is VERY messy. This has been the experience of revolutionary regimes. They have made choices that armchair revolutionaries have denounced. Even an independent socialist Canada will have to defend itself. Nothing wrong with developing domestic industry. My ideas are not for Harper, they are for a government elected on a socialist platform. The fact is there have been situations where the military has been on the progressive side. That was the case in Portugal in the 1970's. Though for every Portugal in the 70's there is a Chile in the 70's though too. I'm simply arguing for things that a left wing government in Canada to pursue assuming they have to function in the traditional international system and are elected, not some kind of revolution. I don't envision some sort or wild violent socialist revolution for the advanced capitalist nations. I see a combination of strikes, elections and protests to bring a socialist government to power.


"No, I just don't buy the argument that our only choices are either we need to align ourselves with imperialist forces or we need to spend a fuckload of money on military gadgets.  Especially when working people are being told we need to tighten our belts because of the recession."

And I am sure all of us want to, and do what we can to live in a world were there are alternatives, where no one has to have a military budget.

But today we are still dealing with problems that can be traced back to the Treaty of Versailles, the way the Allies drew up borders in the Middle East and the Balkans.  And in Africa we are still dealing with problems associated with brutal colonialism. 

These problems aren't going to go away in ten years, or twenty even assuming every nations best efforts along reasoned humanitarian lines.

Essentially, we are living in a world created by those at Versailles, by Dulles and Eisenhower, by Kissenger, Mao and Kruschiev.

Any NDP government enters that world with absolutely no hope of changing it significantly in the short term.   

But it has to live in it. 


That was just exactly what I needed with the morning coffee, TP.



Well, often we get into heated arguments here-- I think this is sedate by usual standards-- when our principles conflict with the realities of an unpricipled world.  Some of us argue from what we think is the way the world is, while others argue from the way they want it to be.

Niether side is wrong, and I presume we are all working towards the same ends. 

Just different ends of the same elephant.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

It would be interesting - to me, anyway - to see if there's a peace group within the NDP that is against these grotesque military expenditures on principle alone.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Some of us argue from what we think is the way the world is, while others argue from the way they want it to be.

Bobby fucking Kennedy, for chrissakes, wrote:

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask, "Why?" I dream of things that never were, and ask "Why not?"


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Long thread!


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