Saving diplomacy from extinction

The art of diplomacy may be on the verge of extinction, according to Daryl Copeland, a former diplomat, analyst, author and educator who is out to rehabilitate its tarnished image.

Little understood, even by most of its current practitioners, Copeland believes diplomacy never really recovered from the Munich Agreement of 1938, an act of appeasement that has continued to colour how it is perceived.

At the Ottawa book launch of Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations, hosted by the Centre for International Policy Studies in September, the former diplomat whose postings include Thailand, Ethiopia, New Zealand and Malaysia, laid a course for a “revolution in diplomatic affairs.”

Tackling 21st century problems, however, means first shedding the baggage of a Cold War paradigm that still dominates much of our thinking. That includes a worldview of stark blacks and whites – no greys; a characterization of threats that is universal and undifferentiated; and a response that is largely military. Though today’s threats are numerous and diverse, they have largely been packaged in the same Cold War intellectual construct and sold as a global war on terror.

“We have to conceive of a worldview in a radically different way,” he said. “If development is the new security in the era of globalization, then diplomacy must displace defence at the centre of international policy.”

Among his proposals is a re-invented diplomatic business model characterized by autonomy, agility and acuity: sharp, street smart, networked “guerrilla” diplomats with local knowledge, “equipped to swim like a fish in the sea of the people” with the confidence, trust and respect of both their superiors and their local contacts, and given the leeway to do their job.

It’s a tall order and Copeland is under no illusions about the nature of the road ahead – slow. But he believes such talent can be recruited, trained and develop. And Canada, as a country with no colonial baggage and a diverse ethnic population, can play a leading role. At a time when many countries are gutting their diplomatic services, “[diplomacy] really matters,” he said. But change can only come if the necessary resources are allocated.

For more information on the book and Copeland’s campaign, see

Arctic infrastructure an imperative

With all the heated rhetoric, it may seem we are headed for international confrontation in the Arctic. But professor Franklyn Griffiths believes “purveyors of polar peril” are off the mark.

While there are at least five potential issues of contention in the region – Hans Island, the Lincoln Sea, the Beaufort Sea, the outer continental shelf and the Northwest Passage – none pose a conventional military threat for Canada, the senior fellow at Massey College at the University of Toronto told DEFSEC Atlantic in September.

For starters, Canadian sovereignty over all but Hans Island is not being disputed. And where disputes exist, negotiations are underway. And though the status of the Northwest Passage may be the most contentious, Griffiths argued that ice conditions are unlikely to change so much in the next decades that the routes that make up the passage will be easily navigable. Alternate sea routes such as the Panama Canal will still be cheaper for many years to come. The Arctic will be a shipping destination rather than a passage of transit.

With little infrastructure in the region to support transit shipping, Stephen de Boer, director of the Oceans and Environmental Law Division at DFAIT, questioned whether insurers would assume the liability for companies eyeing the sea route.

Griffiths argued for a common regional strategy with the United States. With little change to the American emphasis on homeland security, there is much incentive to “agree to disagree” on issues such as the NWP and the Beaufort while continuing to cooperate on continental security.

He also suggested a constabulary focus rather than a military approach, with an emphasis on situational awareness, increased RCMP and Cost Guard presence, and search and rescue and emergency response capability.

Echoing Prime Minister Harper, Lee Carson, vice president of business development for COM DEV Canada, stressed that to control the north, we must know the north. That means modern maps and charts of the seas (most date to the 1960s), surveillance above and below the water, accurate weather forecasting, and a response capability such as SAR, police and the military, as well as command and decision support.

“It’s time to build our northern infrastructure,” he said, noting the whole-of-government requirement. “It’s going to require a lot of innovation by Canadian companies.”

New series highlights RCMP services

Taking a page from the Canadian Forces public relations book, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have completed a 13 episode television series to highlight its mandate and the diverse services officers perform.

Titled “Courage in Red,” the documentary style half-hour episodes will profile different aspects of the Force – teasers available on YouTube highlight police dog services, youth programs, responses to synthetic drug labs and an armed response to gunmen in a school.

The series is produced by JenCor Entertainment, the same company that developed “Truth Duty Valour,” a program on the Canadian Forces that has been credited with raising the profile of the CF and contributing to their recruiting success.

Sgt. Patricia Flood, the project coordinator, hopes it will have a similar effect on RCMP recruiting initiatives. “We truly hope this series will raise public awareness about who we are and the work we do, as well as encourage Canadians to consider a career in the RCMP,” she said.

The series will begin airing on the Outdoor Life Network on November 1.

Is that hostile intent on your face?

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) will road test a behavioural screening program intended to identify physical and physiological signs of hostile intent, even when a specific threat is not apparent.

In a September article for Global Brief, Tom Quiggin, an international expert on intelligence and security who has worked with such agencies such as the RCMP, Privy Council Office, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the Canadian Forces, described the program as a “modest effort [that] does demonstrate some political courage on the part of CATSA to test these sometimes controversial methods. Various concerned groups, such as the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association have been advocating such measure for years.”

Sometimes confused with racial profiling, successful behavioural screening is based on the ability to see past national, ethnic or religious stereotypes and “focus on hostile or threatening behaviour,” he writes, and functions best as an invisible, non-invasive layer in a multi-layered defence. Its weakness, however, is that it relies on the judgement of individual screeners, and there is no set checklist of “behavioural indicators.” That said, Quiggin believes it will be a part of future airport security.

Gathering all good “IEDeas”

In an interconnected world, good ideas can come from anywhere. The Canadian Forces Counter Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (C-IED TF) is hoping to attract collaborative thinking about the deadly weapon of choice for insurgents with the launched of two websites, one classified and one non-classified.

“The IEDs are not an un-defeatable bogeyman. Steps are being taken for training and capability development that are going to allow [soldiers] to meet this threat and turn it against the enemy,” Colonel Omer Lavoie, Task Force Commander, recently told Army News.

In addition to acting as repositories for the latest C-IED information, the websites will also serve as platforms for collaboration and training content development. Soldiers can use the sites to request information from the task force and provide feedback from the field.

For more, see

Reform required for civilian agencies

Much talk in recent years has centred on a “whole-of-government” approach to stabilization, security and reconstruction operations, yet the military contribution still dominates.

According to a recent U.S. study by the RAND Corporation on the reasons for lagging civilian participation, “domestically oriented civilian departments and agencies are neither structured for – nor capable of – contributing personnel and expertise to [an] operation quickly.”

Though there are many departments and agencies with capabilities critical to such operations, a true “whole of government” approach will never develop without fundamental public sector reform that fosters a network of managers able to work together across agency lines.

The report also offers suggestions to the Pentagon and, specifically, the Army to “focus on its civil affairs personnel and improve their capacity and capability to support interagency planning efforts.” Integrating Civilian Agencies in Stability Operations, published by the RAND Arroyo Center, is available at

On the move
Col Jim Simms, who recently completed a 10-month deployment as Chief of Staff of Regional Command South in Afghanistan, assumed command of the Combat Training Centre, the Army’s centre of excellence for individual training, at CFB Gagetown in August, taking over from Col Steve Bowes, who is heading to the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto…

Following in the footsteps of Elisa Goldberg and Ken Lewis, Ben Rowswell, the deputy head of mission for Canada’s Embassy in Kabul, assumed the position of Representative of Canada in Kandahar on September 23. As the senior civilian, also known as the RoCK, Rowswell has responsibility for coordinating diplomatic and reconstruction efforts, while working with the Canadian Forces and international partners. A 16-year veteran of the Foreign Service, he comes to the post with experience as Canada’s representative in Iraq from 2003 to 2005…

In other Foreign Service postings, Michèle Lévesque, recently Canada’s ambassador to Morocco, was named ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Jean-Carol Pelletier succeeded Jean-Pierre Lavoie as High Commissioner to the Republic of Cameroon; François Montour, a CIDA official who was closely involved in supporting the legislative and presidential elections held in Haiti 2005, was named High Commissioner to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to the Republic of Suriname; and Kris Panday, most recently minister-counsellor (Congressional and Legal Affairs) at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, became Canada’s first Consul General in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)…

After serving as interim president since November 2008, Gregory Yeldon was promoted to president of Montreal-based Esterline CMC Electronics. Yeldon has over 23 years of operational experience in the aerospace sector, including 14 years as CMC’s vice president and chief financial officer…

Major General (Ret’d) Richard Bastien joined the board of Quebec City-based Obzerv Technologies. Over a 35-year career in the Canadian Forces, Bastien held a range of senior posts in the Air Force, culminating in his final appointment as Second in Command.

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