October 25, 2005

Security Free-Riding Among Anglosphere Countries

Moments before seeing James' post and photo, I read a short review in the May 27, 2005 TLS of a new book entitled The Great Dominion: Winston Churchill and Canada, 1900-1945, by David Dilks. The reviewer notes that:

The Canada Churchill knew is almost unrecognizable, especially to those who have followed the country's reduction in its military capacity. The Canadian Army that rushed to England in 1939 was the only army that could defend Britain in the months after Dunkirk. Dilks underscores the importance of Canada's role in the Second World War by noting that in 1942 Canada gave Britain $1 billion, just months after converting $700 million in sterling balances to an interest-free loan. Canada's gifts, both outright and through purchases, totaled one quarter of those under the more famous Lend-Lease Agreements – and Canada's population was one-twelfth that of the United States. In 1944 the RCAF had forty-four squadrons serving in Britain, 100 of the Royal Navy's ships had been built in Canada, as had 1,223 of the 5.000 tanks the Allies shipped to Russia. Eight years later, Churchill asked Canada's Minister of Defence to keep Canada's three squadrons in England because "they were the only fighters in England that can stand up to the MiGs."

These descriptions, while impressive, are a little misleading. While Canada did once make a more serious commitment to military power than it does now, particularly during the two World Wars, it has had a long history of defense free-riding, and failing to prepare for war during peacetime. James described this history in this earlier post. A related point was made in this recent post on ChicagBoyz, which noted that both the Phillipines and New Zealand are no longer operating combat aircraft, and that Canada no longer operates any main battle tanks. It went on to note that "NZ and Canada are going to be protected because they are very close to the nations providing for their defense, both culturally and geographically" and to conclude "[o]f the two, I would have to say that the cultural ties are most important."

The fact that cultural ties have been stronger than strategic considerations in the military cooperation between Anglophone countries has been strongly demonstrated by Thomas-Durrell Young in his essay "Cooperative Diffusion Through Cultural Similarity: The Postwar Anglo-Saxon Experience", from this volume. (I hope to write about this remarkable essay at great length another time.) Young proves that no mere strategic calculus can explain the depth of cooperation and interaction between the Anglosphere militaries in the post-1945 period. He is compelled to conclude this extraordinary level of cooperation rests on something like shared values and cultural affinity.

I commented in response to the ChicagoBoyz post:

Canada has actually spent most of its history as a defense free-rider. It has tended to ramp-up in a hurry for major wars, and with the exception of World War I, to perform poorly. Hart's Clash of Arms describes this well. The Canadian soldiers were committed to battle with inadequate equipment and training in World War II. The period between the world wars was one of severe budget droughts for defense, much worse even than in the USA. This is actually rational. Canada could not be attacked without any enemy getting past both Britain and the USA. New Zealand has long had a martial tradition. But an air arm these days is monumentally expensive. Even if NZ was being serious about military power, which it is not these days, an air arm might not make sense. The USA and Australia would have to both be out of the way before NZ was threatened. In that kind of apocalyptic scenario, having a few of your own aircraft wouldn't matter. Similarly, the Philippines have serious defense concerns and they are very poor. Modern fighter aircraft are a relative waste of money for them.

Bringing military power to the table is something a state really needs to do if it wants to be taken seriously. Now, that does not necessarily mean that even a small state like New Zealand needs the full suite of capabilities. It is an economic impossibility, anyway. But a serious commitment can take other forms, and NZ and Canada seem not be serious about defense at all, just cutting spending.

The Australians are a counter-example. They have a medium-sized country that has made a serious commitment to its own defense. Singapore is literally a city-state, but it has a superb military. Of course, both of them face a looming and permanent threat from Indonesia, either that Indonesia will make a move against them, or more likely and worse, that Indonesia will disintegrate and present them with a snakepit full of security threats of many different kinds.

…defense free-riding looks good up front, but options are denied to you when you have no guns to bring to the gunfight. … One problem the USA has is that it is possibly too trusted. The New Zealanders know we are not going to invade them and loot and pillage and subjugate them. So, they get to sit things out, relying on the US Navy to keep their arteries of commerce secure. All in all, it is better to be trusted in this way, even if it is expensive. Best of all would be allies who saw that they have a stake in an orderly world, and created and funded capabilities that helped to preserve it. Also, they'd get listened to more often if they did.

The bottom line seems to be that the very high level of trust among the Anglosphere countries has allowed an extraordinary level of military cooperation, as demonstrated by Young. The downside is that this high level of trust has allowed the smaller countries to free-ride, knowing that their larger neighbors will bear the defense burden and not turn on them. Canada knows that the USA, and formerly Britain, would create the needed defense capabilities, out of self-interest, which are necessary to its own defense. Similarly, New Zealand knows that Australia and the USA will continue to maintain a shield far beyond what it could do, and that it does not need to contribute much, if anything, to that shield. This pattern will become more and more pronounced as conventional equipment continues to increase in cost and complexity, especially since nuclear weapons seem to have virtually eliminated the possibility of conventional inter-state conflict. See, e.g. Martin van Creveld Nuclear Proliferation and the Future of Conflict.

Nonetheless, New Zealand does have an SAS, which served in Afghanistan. NZ may be able to make further, less hardware-intensive contributions to its security partners in the future. Similarly, Canada had its highly-regarded snipers in Afghanistan. The role for the smaller Anglosphere powers in the future is likely to be providers of niche capabilities such as these, as well as what Thomas Barnett calls the SysAdmin function, of low-intensity conflict, peace-keeping and nation-building, in addition to special operations forces.

Still, even these smaller-scale military capabilities are neither free nor cheap, if they are to be done well. Building relevant capabilities, even without tanks or fighter planes or warships, would require a serious commitment of human and financial resources, not just a lick and promise from budget-cutting politicians.

Update: One commenter takes issue with my statement that the Canadian Army "performed poorly" in World War II. I referred to Russell A. Hart's book on the armies which participated in the Normandy campaign as the basis for this assessment. Hart's book is highly regarded, e.g. receiving a very strong review in the US Army War College publication, Parameters, here (scroll down for the review). I revisited the book and found statements like the following summarizing Hart's two densely researched chapters on the Canadian Army up to 1944 and its performance in Normandy. Some quotes show the basis for my two word summary:

The Canadian Army's early war experience raised serious concerns about its ability to fight effectively in Northwest Europe. While Canadian troops generally exhibited good morale and enthusiasm, such spirit and esprit de corps were not matched by adequate higher leadership, doctrinal and tactical soundness, extensive battle experience, effective organization, quality training, or an adequate grasp of operational art. ... The Canadian Army's preparation for OVERLORD demonstrates that it could not easily or quickly remedy its prewar neglect of the basic elements of the military profession. ... Canada had gone to war in 1939 without a modern army; by 1944 it had acquired one. Its achievements were considerable, but the gap between Canada's and the enemy's capabilities was immense. Consequently, the Canadians were not able to compete tactically or operationally with the Germans in Normandy in 1944 and could not replicate Canada's triumphs of the Great War. ... Canada's neglect of its military between the wars had denied it the expertise necessary to operate during World War II as a truly independent military force, and such inexperience led the Canadian Army to uncritically adopt a Commonwealth style of warfare. Yet Canadian military preparation in Britain in 1943-1944 in no way demonstrated that the Canadians had mastered the Commonwealth style of warfare as well as their tutors. The CAO had nto overcome serious manpower procurement and training problems, and, although it had come a long way from its state 1940, equipment and doctrine problems ensured that it was still far from being proficient, especially in combined-arms operations. ... In conclusion, Canadian forces did not excel in the 1944 Normandy campaign -- indeed, as early as 12 June the Germans had concluded that battleworthiness of the Canadians was poor. Inexperience, inadequate and misguided training, poor coordination, sluggish attack doctrine, poor understanding of enemy fighting methods, and inadequate preparation for the air-ground battle resulted in setbacks and repeated partial success. Nevertheless, Canadian troops adapted relatively quickly to combat conditions in Normandy, and demonstrated improved proficiency during the later stages of the campaign. However, Canadian forces had yet to master fully combined-arms coordination, offensive warfare, or the air-ground battle by the end of the Normandy campaign.
The foregoing are from the conclusion portions of the two chapters. The details are compelling. I stand by the phrase "performed poorly", as a summary of these historical facts.

Update II: I should also refer our readers to my colleague James McCormick's entry Was Canada Ever Serious? Militia and Military Since Confederation.

The Canadian military has always had an uphill struggle, against its own government first of all, and only then against the enemy. It is a long story of determination by professionals to keep their services alive, and who got no credit for their efforts, in peacetime, then the effort to make up the inevitable deficiencies in wartime. It is no criticism of the Canadian soldier to point out these facts.

Posted by Lexington Green at October 25, 2005 07:50 PM
Comments

WHile I agree with most of what you had to say, your insinuation that Canada somehow performed poorly in World War II is wholly off the mark. I think its record speaks for itself. It was responsible for securing half of the North Atlantic, it advanced the furthest inland from Juno Beach on D-Day, the First Canadian Army liberated Holland....what, pray tell, would you base such an absurd characterization on? The Canadians performed nothing short of exemplary and probably made the greatest contribution per capita than any other ally in the war.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 26, 2005 09:42 AM

Actually, New Zealand has been a complete free rider in defense since the mid 80's when they banned American ships with nuclear weapons and propulsion were banned from their harbors. However, they still are inside the defensive region.

Posted by: M. Thompson at October 26, 2005 11:07 AM

"...insinuation that Canada somehow performed poorly in World War II..." Sorry, Michael, but it's true. The Canadian troops fought bravely, but their government failed to equip them as well as it should have and their officers failed to train them adequately, in effect copying the flawed British doctrine and doing less well with it than the British did. The Canadian's had virtually eliminated their military in the pre-War period, and had to put it together on the fly. They did the best they could, but they lost far more men and accomplished far less than they should have. Take a look at the Hart book. He tells this regrettable tale in full detail. See also, John A. English The Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign. English is a Canadian Army officer. I am sure it gave him a lot of regret to have to subtitle his book as he did: "A Study of Failure in High Command". Don't take my word for it. The historical record is clear. The valor of the Canadian troops is, if anything, highlighted by the fact that they did so much when so many who commanded them and led them and equipped and trained them had let them down.

Posted by: Lex at October 26, 2005 12:40 PM

In balancing the costs and benefits of a free-rider strategy versus a sectoral-excellence strategy for small states, it's worth looking at the Singaporean strategy again. They maintain a small but excellent air force, and have been very resourceful about using the leverage of their military aircraft purchases to build up a small but respectable domestic aerospace/avionics industry that sells beyond their own borders.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at October 26, 2005 01:06 PM

It is a lot to ask, Jim, that NZ and Canadian politicians come up with a strategy as smart as the mandarinate of Singapore!

Plus, as I noted, Singapore and Australia both feel serious, even existential threats to be right at their doorstep, with good reason. I wonder if a Singapore that was as remote as NZ or CAN and as securely protected as an incidental matter by stronger friendly powers would not opt to invest in things that make money instead of training for war.

Posted by: Lex at October 26, 2005 01:34 PM

Yes, absolutely Canada was completely ill-prepared pre-1939. But it was the only country to come to Britain's aid in 1939 through to the end of 1941. By 1944 and 1945 it had a million men in uniform, was, in Roosevelt's words, the Aerodrome of Democracy, fed England in the early dark days of that war, fought through the toughest terrain in the Italian campaign, known unaffectionately by the Germans as the Red-Patched Devils and liberated the Netherlands. Their only battle defeat was in 1942 on the beaches of Dieppe, but historians are of the view that it was basically an ill-conceived suicide mission.

You can point out failures of senior officers, but on the whole it is unbelievably unfair to insinuate that Canada did poorly in World War II, or even Korea for that matter. It's contribution was critical to the success of the European Theatre and the heavy lifting the country did made it far more deserving of a German occupation zone in 1945 than France. We've become a nation of free-riders, but the Canadians of WWII stock didn't know the meaning of the word.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 26, 2005 02:32 PM

Michael, you persist in seeing a slur upon Canada's honor. I don't insinuate anything. I am saying forthrightly what reliable historians report occurred. Did Canada make a huge sacrifice for Allied victory? Yes, of course. Did Canada's soldiers suffer from poor leadership, poor doctrine, poor training, poor equipment? Also, sadly, yes. Did they therefore acoomplish less than they would have and should have? Yes. But, as I said, don't rely on me about this if it seems implausible to you. Hart and English are professional historians, and their books are not hard to come by. They are worth looking at. The lesson here is that Canadians should never let their militaries sink so far again, then have to rush into battle, and count on courage and extemporization to make up for lack of preparation. That is a lesson that patriotic Canadians and those like myself who admire the Canadian military efforts of the past can agree on, I trust.

Posted by: Lex at October 26, 2005 03:10 PM

James:
In Canada's case, wouldn't it make sense to specialize in a submarine based navy? As for the air force, I think the airforce should specialize in medium capacity airlift (aka the Bombardier C series of jets) and search and rescue.
What do you opine?

Lex:
Leaving aside the mediocre quality of our politicians, how would a typical federal government persuade the public to spend money on defense, provide the adequate equipment and approriate training?

xavier

Posted by: xavier at October 26, 2005 03:49 PM

Xavier, I don't know. It would take leadership, both on the military and political side. Canadians would have to decide what they wanted to do, then find the political will to do it. I do not think it is impossible. Shedding Quebec might be helpful, since Anglo-Canada is much more willing to undertake military tasks than is French-Canada. I do not think there is any magic formula. Being aware of the historical costs of unpreparedness would be helpful. Also, understanding that it would have far more influence on US policy if it brought something useful to the table seems not to be understood.

Posted by: Lex at October 26, 2005 03:59 PM

Not having read the books you recommend, I can only relate my own experience serving in a USAF Air Defense Group in Newfoundland in the late 50's. Our Group was composed of one fighter squadron and five Ground Controlled Intercept (GCI) radar sites, one of which was RCAF-manned.

In my experience as a 'hot rock' all-weather fighter pilot, the Canadians were among the most professional and competent weapons directors we had available to us, and better than most. On the relatively rare occasions when we worked with the RCAF CF-100s, we were generally impressed with their competence as well. I pretty much concur with your assessment that the Canadian military had excellent personnel but was underfunded and underequipped.

Perhaps if one were to attribute the decline of the CANFORCES to the need to reduce spending overall, one could accept the premise. In fact, however, the funds were not returned to the wage earner but instead were used to shore up the politically correct slough of despond that the socialist Canadian welfare state has become. A sad state of affairs for a country that had (and has) so much promise.

Posted by: John F at October 26, 2005 04:02 PM

Okay, Lex. Whatever specific failures arose as a result of quickly ramping up, I'm just saying that I disagree with the general characterization, "performed poorly". I'll leave it at that. Thank you.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 26, 2005 04:09 PM

Michael, take a look at my update.

Posted by: Lex at October 26, 2005 04:48 PM

John F, you were there for the Golden Age of the Canadian military. Canada has always had good troops, and too often had weak political and financial support, and the luck of the draw as far as the quality of its senior officers. I hope one day this will change and that Canada's martial heritage will get the support it deserves. The world will be a better and safer place if there was a rock-solid Canadian military available to help secure the peace. See also update II.

Posted by: Lex at October 26, 2005 05:01 PM

One problem the USA has is that it is possibly too trusted.

We may be "too trusted" by those engaged with strategic and budgetary planning within NZ and Canada, but we're not "too trusted" by their publics at large, nor by the majority of their elected officialdom. To them we are a danger to be contained, a power to be rolled back, a chess piece to be blocked at minimum and checkmated if at all possible. At times, Lex, your idealism blinds you to political reality.

NZ and Canada are free riders in the most cynical possible sense. "Why entangle yourself in the worlds problems if it's not necessary?", is what they ask themselves. Let the stupid, gung-ho Yanks deal with the threats. Let them bleed. Let them die. Let them pay for it. Let them bear the political backlash for every misstep or mistake. Let them run all the risks. Fat, stupid, gun crazy, culturally backward Americans!

Meanwhile, NZ and Canada maintain the fiction of belonging to a military alliance with the USA, pretending they have something to contribute to that alliance, all the while making it crystal clear they despise us.

I think that you like to tell yourself (that you pretend to believe, let's say) that NZ and Canada - and Europe for that matter! - are valuable and necessary partners in NATO and ANZUS, and the strength of those alliances contributes to world stabilty. I don't. I believe the West is weaker and the world a much more dangerous place as a result of those organizations. Canada and NZ have already unilaterally disarmed, leaving their freedom to others to pay for (and die for). Europe, in general, washes it's hands of the world's security problems. The reason? Simple, really. Their alliances with the US protects them from the worst consequences of their own political decisions. Should everything really go to hell security-wise, they'll simply invoke their alliance "rights" and wait for American boys to come over and fight, bleed and die for them. And those stupid Americans will actually pay for the privledge out of their own pockets! Therefore, as there is no real downside to their making mischief or acting selfishly or irresponsibly, they will continue to do so. Even more, they will become increasingly irresponsible over time since they benefit, both financially and politcally, from doing so. When you reward something you get a lot more of it.

So in a sense, they have us pegged. We really are as simpleminded, naive and foolish as they make us out to be. If we were really interested in improving the world's security and political stability, we'd dissolve both our ANZUS and NATO treaty obligations. They're doing much more damage than good. The sooner those countries are made to stand on their own and face the world realistically, the sooner they'll start behaving like responsible nations.

Posted by: Michael Hiteshew at October 26, 2005 05:08 PM

We owe Canada a lot. There has been no need to seriously police our northern border for nearly two centuries, leaving aside Prohibition. Not too many other countries enjoy that advantage.

That said, they have been following the European model of stripping their defenses to fund their welfare state. If they are serious about their commitment to peacekeeping operations, they need to at least get some airlift and rapid deployment capacity.

Posted by: Mitch at October 26, 2005 07:11 PM

A further comment to your statement, Lex, that "understanding that it would have far more influence on US policy if it brought something useful to the table seems not to be understood."

A freind used to work in the Pentagon protocol office. He had to run the Canadian Chairman of the Joint Cheifs (or whatever his official title is) around Washington - my freind could get a meeting with Colin Powell (no longer in office at the time) as he had attended school with the fellow. The rest of the US Government types who would meet with him were deputy assistant flunkies.

It is heartbraking to see what the Canadian defense force has become, and what the US-Canadian relationship has become.

Posted by: andrewdb at October 26, 2005 07:16 PM

In Canada's case, wouldn't it make sense to specialize in a submarine based navy?

I'm not the James that you were addressing, xavier, but I figured I'd jump in there anyway.

Submarines used to be considered a defense bargain, a way to conduct war on a budget. Cheap, easily built submarines were intended to be commerce raiders and that's about it.

The introduction of sonar, as well as the evolution of the submarine from a commerce raider to a stealthy capital ship and missile carrier, pretty much screwed that up. Subs had to become ever more stealthy, dive ever deeper, just to survive long enough to complete their mission. These capabilities cost money.

Now submarines are pretty darn expensive, with long range vessels costing well over $1 billion USD. Even short range subs designed to hug the shoreline and never venture out in to the open ocean are very expensive.

This isn't to say that Canada hasn't toyed with the idea of looking to submarines for their naval defense needs, the only problem is that the government is not willing to pay the price necessary to actually buy a few working subs. Instead they paid for decommissioned British subs, Victoria class long range attack submarines, that turned out to be some POS that killed at least one crewman. Seems Ottawa didn't want to pony up the bucks needed to repair and refurbish their new warships.

So in answer to your question, I would be delighted if Canada would build an effective naval force. I just don't expect it to happen any time soon.

James

Posted by: James R. Rummel at October 26, 2005 08:12 PM

Michael, I agree that Canada and NZ have been free riders in recent decades. And most of continental Europe has been of problematic value to us since the fall of the Wall. But whatever you think of the Iraq war, it remains true that in April 2003 British and Australian forces were one-third of the Coalition's forces at the sword's edge, while those two nations were less than one-quarter of the coalition's population and wealth. This was not a negligible contribution. As James McCormick's posts argued effectively, Canada has beeen a typical (perhaps archtypical) Anglosphere nation in demobilizing so thoroughly between wars that it has had a lot of trouble getting up to speed when the time comes.

I don't see a contradiction between the fact that Canada made an enormous sacrifice and contribution in World War Two, and the fact that had it not been for serious shortcomings in the Canadian political and militay system the same effort could have achieved more and cost less in life. Frankly pretty much all of the Anglosphere nations had a lot of screwups in the beginning years of the war for similar reasons. Certainly my father, who had been in the Fourth Marine Division at Tarawa, had always been vocal about the degree of American screw-ups.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at October 26, 2005 08:57 PM

No, I don't see a contradiction either, Jim, now that I understand where Lex is coming from (Thanks for your updates). It did take an inordinate amount of time for the Allies to break out of Normandy, and the First Canadian Army couldn't prevent the bulk of German forces escaping through the Fallaise Gap (I believe Montgomery even came close to losing his Command because of it). But historians will tell you, we were fighting a great army, nowhere's close to being defeated. Even months later, as late as Christmas 1944, the Americans were surrounded and facing a defeat of sorts from Germany's winter counter-offensive, though General Clark famously said "nuts" to surrender. But enough of history.

The relevant issue here is our now longstanding habit of shameless defense free-riding. We spend a paltry 1% of our GDP on defence spending. Australia spends more than we do in real dollars even though they have 10 million less people. Now I'm of two minds on this. If you believe that nations have no friends only interests, then Canada is essentially doing what's in its own interests. Given the mirror geopolitical situation as Canada, would any other nation of its own free will do anything differently? In a more virtuous era, perhaps, but probably not today. My only reason for hope quite frankly is that sooner or later the chickens will come home to roost on this one. I actually see some serious commitment on our part in the future, because our greatest fear right now is another terrorist attack, particularly the nightmarish scenario of one being instigated from north of the border. If we don't get our act together, if we don't purchase the assets and the manpower to meaningfully help the Americans abroad, then we're gonna feel it at home big time. And rightly so.

Posted by: Michael J. Smith at October 26, 2005 10:19 PM

Mr. Hiteshew--

Hear, hear.

Posted by: dickweed at October 27, 2005 12:31 AM

Of course, when push comes to shove, both Canada and NZ have lived up to their obligations in the past, as I am certain they will in the future.

If you want a real freeloader then look no further than Southern Ireland, a country that has spent most of the last 80 years engaging in a truly contemptible parasitic 'neutrality'. The only neutral that has never even made the pretense of being able to defend itself.

Not surprising really, as its political culture is more South American banana republic than anglosphere..

Posted by: jmc at October 27, 2005 01:47 AM

As Jim Bennett points out, all of the Anglosphere nations let their militaries decline in the years following WWI. Australia (where I am from) was no exception, and its own history shows that despite our own martial tradition (witness our substantial contribution to the fighting of WWI), its political leaders were prepared to take a similar free-riding stance to that of Canada. Essentially, we relied on Britain to look after us. This was a rational policy in the days when Britain controlled a vast part of Asia and the Royal Navy ensured security in the oceans. But WWII brought this to an end. The fall of Singapore (which in retrospect marked the doom of the Empire in Asia) was a seismic event in Australian political history, and ever since the war the alliance with the US has been central our security policy.

This article usefully points out some of the ways in which Australia shirked its responsibilities in the years leading up the war and even after the war had begun. (It also attacks a persistent strain of thought within Australia (largely amongst the left intellentsia) that this event represented our deliberate "abandonment" by Britain - which is utter rubbish. Strange that the leftists who make these arguments are usually the very same people who (a) are anti-American and (b) would attack any effort by the Australian government to significantly increase our defence capacity - presumably they think we should rely on the UN.)

http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/archive_details_list.php?article_id=1011

From the same journal, here are some other comments that are relevant to this theme. The writer is a conservative commentator I respect, who fought in Papua New Guinea against the Japanese during WWII and saw first-hand the consequences of our lack of preparedness and has repeatedly argued that we still do not make a serious enough commitment to our military, just as we failed to do so in the interwar years. He is right - even if we are doing better than Canada and NZ!

http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/archive_details_list.php?article_id=275

http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/archive_details_list.php?article_id=248

http://www.quadrant.org.au/php/archive_details_list.php?article_id=1142

Posted by: Charles at October 27, 2005 07:09 AM

As a postscript I want to note my agreement with two preceding comments:

1. JMC, I completely agree with you on the topic of Ireland's contemptible "neutrality" stance.

2. On James's linked ChicagoBoyz post, Steven Den Beste had this to say:

"I don't know about anyone else, but what really peeves me about defense free-riders is when they portray their free-riding as a sign of their moral superiority. After all, they're above such things as armed conflict, they're more moral and virtuous than we are, since we keep spending money on the military which makes it possible for them to free-ride."

I couldn't agree more. NZ's left-wing government irritates many Australians by expressly adopting a holier-than-thou stance, just as an earlier government did in the days when it brought in its anti-nuclear (i.e. anti-US) policy. To compound the irritation, many Australian leftists keep pointing to NZ as an example of what we should be like! And in the UK (where I currently live), I have noticed a marked tendency amongst the left-wing intelligentsia to see NZ as more "progressive" and a better "world citizen" than Australia. Hopefully Australia will retain its sanity and continue to resist this way of thinking.

Posted by: Charles at October 27, 2005 07:20 AM

Perhaps the "martial" Anglosphere countries should just be more more up-front about the free riding problem. We should make our defense pacts (like ANZUS or NATO) contingent on all parties spending at least 2% of GDP on Defense. If, for reasons of scale, they feel their 2% does not contribute much to the over-all defense, they can just cut us a check. NZ could just forward their 2% of GDP to Australia for instance and call it a day. Canada could provide theirs to either the US or the UK; I think either one would work. We'd then promise to allow their nationals to fight as full members of the military and allow their contractors equal bidding access to provision contracts.

Clean, simple, and avoids the free riding problem.

I have no idea how you'd try to enforce that if they refused to pay one year. Seize their national's in-country assets I guess.

Posted by: Brock at October 27, 2005 12:34 PM

Brock, it doesn't solve it. The Canadians know that the USA is going to defend North America. Mexico adds nothing to the pot, after all, but a Nazi victory in World War II would have been bad for Mexico, probably. They don't have any money, but the point is the same. Free-riders free-ride because the guy paying for the gas has to do so anyway. The USA is the global hegemon. It gets disproportional benefits from the existing world order. Others are able to benefit from it in various ways, but it is not worth it to us to try to carve them out. The self-interest argument I make is, I think, more compelling. If Canada and NZ want to have a say in their own defense and influence on the USA, they need to make a contribution to their defense which is meaningful.

Posted by: Lex at October 27, 2005 12:50 PM

It wasn't just between the World Wars, Anglosphere nations have alwaysstood down their miltaries between wars as much as possible. This is in some ways another retained medieval trait - medieval states just couldn't generate the revenue to maintain a full-time navy or army in peacetime. Downing's book revolves around the way the need to generate revenues for standing peacetime armies and fortifications led France and Prussia to destroy their constitutional institutions. NAM Rodger discusses the way England's rising mercantile and proto-industrial wealth let it finance a permanent fleet through clever financial engineering, while avoiding the descent into autocracy.

Some evolutionary theorists argue that a major path to species evolution is "retention of neotenic features" -- that some members of a species begin retaining features into adulthood and reproduction that other members grew out of. Perhaps the Anglosphere's (and Switzerland's, etc.) retention and adaptation of medieval constitutionalism is a sort of memetic-evolutionary version of neotenic retention.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at October 27, 2005 04:21 PM

To be fair to the Canucks... few people in the history of the earth have been more willing to volunteer to fight for the greater glory of England at one hindend of the planet or another. If the politicians in Ottawa are cowardly two faced back stabbers when it comes to the US, they've rarely if ever given London any reason to doubt their loyalty. The Canadians have often been passed over for prettier and more English public heros (wasn't the WWI pilot who shot down the Red Baron Canadian?), but give them their due, at least regarding English interests, if not necesarily those of North America. Plus, the Canucks are great riflemen, and many, many individuals have served in the US military out of principle during the cold war.

By far the worst shirkers in the Anglosphere are Englishmen when it comes to military service. Without the Ulstermen and Scots and Welsh, who provide the large majority of British recruits, England wouldn't meet a fraction of Britains military obligations, despite making up 80-90% of it's civilian population. Scots fight because that's what they do best, Irishmen fight because they like fighting, Ulstermen fight out of habit, Welshmen fight so they won't be mistaken for Englishmen, Austrialians fight because it gives them the freedom to wander the globe, Kiwi's fight because if they didn't the Maori's would kick them out, Canadians fight because the English ask them to fight, Americans fight because we take everything personally, and Englishmen fight when conscripted or cornered.

Frankly, it's my opinion that the US would be better served by the "Anglosphere" if it figured out a way to trade it's "special" relationship with England for one with Japan, including embedding a Japanese officer class and military into the US at the JCS level, and all that entails. It's time we of the "Anglosphere" admitted that US interests are not being served by focusing on the Atlantic as if the Pacific isn't of greater long term strategic import.

In sum, Atlanticist anglosphere types should ask themselves where exactly the center of mass of the anglosphere actually resides. If the answer is western Eurasia (i.e. Europe), someone is fooling oneself. If the answer is North America, which is the truth, then either a serious reappraisal of priorities needs to be adopted.

Posted by: A Scott Crawford at November 2, 2005 02:48 PM

Before everyone leaves the question of Canadian military history, a little comment about the Second War might be in order. Michael J. Smith mentioned Lex's omission of the Italian campaign, where the Canadian element in the Eighth Army was one of the best forces. Lex, on the other hand, concentrates on the Canadian performance in northwest Europe.

I have not read Hart, and given long experience with American wewonthewarism, I might be forgiven for being skeptical in advance. But it is generally agreed that there was a poor showing in staff leadership at least at divisional level in II Corps.

The forces in Italy, on the other hand, were probably better led (by Simonds and Hoffmeister, among others) and were mostly the better-trained troops.

1 Infantry included all the pre-war Permanent Force, plus those Militia regiments that had been judged best fit for overseas service at the outbreak of the war (both in recruiting up to strength and in training level).

1 Armoured Brigade, the independent tank brigade, was also an early formation, made up of three Militia tank regiments that had been selected as best able to take on overseas service.

Both those formations had also had a longer time to train in the UK than any of the elements of II Corps.

5 Armoured was a newer division, but proved to be one of the best of the Canadian formations. It was notably well generalled by Hoffmeister.

Hence, Assoro, Ortona, and the north-Adriatic battles, and Uncle Joe Stalin's compliment after the Hitler Line that 1 Infantry was "the finest fighting formation the Allies possess."

When I Corps (those three formations) got to Holland, they fought very effectively, though it was rather late in the game.

Historical note: the "Red Patched Devils" presumably means 1 Infantry, whose battle patch was red, but 1 Armd Bde had a mainly red patch and 5 Armd's patch was maroon. Perhaps the Red Team just always does better ;o)

So bringing up Lex's omission of the Italian record probably strengthens the case overall that military free-riding is destructive of your capability if the balloon does go up. The better resources in leadership and soldiering went to Italy, and it showed in the relative performance of Canadian formations there and in northwest Europe.

Posted by: Jim Whyte at November 4, 2005 09:51 AM

I didn't mention Italy because I know little about it. But I have heard of Ortona, and I know that the Canadians fought well in Italy.

Hart's book really is brilliant, and objective, by the way, not a claim that the Americans won the war. Look at the review I linked to.

Hart mentions however, that the Canadian Army entirely failed to investigate the performance of the Army in Italy, where it fought well, or to use those lessons to educate and train the Army in England preparing to invade France. They were, in effect, two separate armies. That in itself is a huge failure on the part of the Canadian leadership.

And, as you note, what professional Army Canada had at the outbreak of war was committed first, to Italy. The fact that the Canadians learned how to fight well is to their credit, but it would have been more to the credit of their senior military leaders and political leaders if they had not had made their soldiers pay in blood for so many of those lessons.

Bear in mind, my aim in this post is not to denigrate the Canadian military generally, or especially the Canadian soldier who actually came into contact with the enemy. My point is to show that countries that think they can shrug off military burdens nonetheless from time to time find themselves obliged to fight anyway. And when that happens it is more costly in lives and treasure, and the country has less influence on the course of events than if it had spent some of that money and effort over time and been prepared for possible contingencies.

"Free-riding" is something all countries do when they think they can get away with it, especially Anglopheric countries, which all have oceanic frontiers, and most especially the USA -- for most of its history.

But all that is the subject for a future post.

Posted by: Lex at November 4, 2005 10:13 AM

"My point is to show that countries that think they can shrug off military burdens nonetheless from time to time find themselves obliged to fight anyway. And when that happens it is more costly in lives and treasure, and the country has less influence on the course of events than if it had spent some of that money and effort over time and been prepared for possible contingencies."

Absolutely right. As I said, the record in Italy strengthens, rather than diminishes, your case. Hart seems to have digested that too. I wish Canadian politicians would digest it today, and wish they had in the past.

Interestingly (straying somewhat from the topic here) there was little or no difference between battle success of Permanent Force and Militia units in Italy, probably because they had been trained to a similar standard by 1943. Jack Granatstein has also pointed out that more of the better Canadian generals in both World Wars came from the Militia and not from the Permanent Force. Both of those facts support the idea that resources that go into citizen forces improve your capability, rather than sapping the capability of your professional force by draining away resources the regulars could use more effectively.

I look forward to the future post you allude to!

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data cables - holsters/belt clips - Wireless headsets (Bluetooth) -
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NOKIA N90 .......$190USD
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NOKIA N93.......$230
Nokia N92........$200
Nokia 6060........ 175$
Nokia 6111........ 175$
Nokia 6270 ........175$
Nokia 6270....... .175$
Nokia 6280 ........175$
Nokia N70 .........155$
Nokia Vertu .......255$
Nokia 5140i .......145$
Nokia 6230i .......145$
Nokia 8800 ........265$
Nokia 6021 ........145$
Nokia 6030 ........145$
Nokia 6680 ........145$
Nokia 6681 ........120$
Nokia 6101 ........110$
Nokia 6822 ........110$
Nokia 7710 ........110$
Nokia 6170 ........145$
Nokia 6260 ........145$
Nokia 3510i .......95$
Nokia 6630 ........120$
Nokia 9300 ........205
SONY ERICSSON MOBILE PHONE
SONY ERICSSON P910.............$160USD
SONY ERICSSON P900.............$150USD
SONY-ERICSSON S600 ......185$
Sony Ericsson w800i .....175$
SONY-ERICSSON K600 ......175$
SONY-ERICSSON K700i .....145$
SONY-ERICSSON K500i .....120$
SONY-ERICSSON D750 ......175$
SONY-ERICSSON K750i .....175$
SONY-ERICSSON W800 ......175$
SONY-ERICSSON K750 ......175$
SONY-ERICSSON J300 ......175$
SONY-ERICSSON K600 ......155$
SONY-ERICSSON Z800 ......155$
SONY-ERICSSON K300 ......175$
SAMSUNG MOBILE PHONE
SAMSUNG D600 ......175$
SAMSUNG P860 ......175$
SAMSUNG P850 ......175$
SAMSUNG E730 ......175$
SAMSUNG D510 ......175$
SAMSUNG Z700 ......145$
SAMSUNG D720 ......175$
SAMSUNG Z130 ......110$
SAMSUNG Z500 ......120$
SAMSUNG Z300 ......110$
SAMSUNG E350 ......175$
SAMSUNG E720 ......175$
SAMSUNG B100 ......175$
SAMSUNG X640 ......175$
SAMSUNG X480 ......155$
SAMSUNG X460 ......155$
SAMSUNG D500 ......175$
SAMSUNG P730 ......155$
SAMSUNG P710 ......120$
NEXTEL MOBILE PHONES
Sprint Nextel NOK3205SPR Cell Phone......$90usd
Sprint Nextel LG535KIT Cell Phone..........$130usd
Sprint Nextel SCP5500KTS Cell Phone........$110usd
Play station 1......... $120
Play station 2 ....$130
Play station 3.....$150
Xbox 360.........$200
GARMIN 396........$150
PLASMA TV,40 INCH,55INCH,60INCH,50INCH,42INCHES,
IPOD
Apple iPod nano 2GB Black MP3 Player....$100USD
Apple iPod Video 30GB Black MP3 Player...$1oousd
Apple iPod Video 30GB Black MP3 Player...$150usd
Apple iPod Mini 4GB 18hour battery - Pink MP3 Player...$120usd
Apple iPod nano 4GB Black MP3 Player....$150usd
LAPTOPS
Dell Latitude C640 1.8GHz P4 Laptop w/CD-RW......$350USD
Dell Inspiron XPS M140 Notebook Computer for Home.....$480USD
Sony VAIO FS540P - Pentium M 730 1.6 GHz - 15.4" TFT...$500USD
Sony Intel Pentium M 100GB Notebook Computer with DVD+/-R/RW Drive...$550USD

TELEVISION
Panasonic TH-42PD50U Television.....$600 usd
Panasonic TH-42PX50U Television.....$1000 usd
Panasonic TH-50PX50U Television.....$1500 usd
Panasonic TH-42PWD6UY Television....$500 usd
Panasonic TH-42PD25U/P Television...$400 usd
Panasonic TH-42PHD8UK Television....$450 usd
Panasonic TH-65PHD7UY Television....$2500 usd
Pioneer PDP-5050HD Television.......$1000 usd
Panasonic TH-37PX50U Television.....$500 usd
Panasonic TH-42PX500U Television....$800 usd
Sony KLV-32M1 Television............$400 usd
Sony PFM-42V1/S Television..........$500 usd
Sony KDE-61XBR950 Television........$5000 usd
Sony KDE-42XBR950 Television........$1000 usd
Sony PFM-42X1/S Television..........$500 usd
Sony KDE-42XS955 Television.........$550 usd
Sony FWD-50PX1/S Television.........$1200 usd
Samsung HP-R4252 Television.........$500 usd
Samsung LN-R328W - LCD TV - 32......$500 usd
Samsung LN-R408D - LCD TV - 40......$800 usd
Samsung LT-P326W - LCD TV - 32......$650 usd
Samsung LTM 225W - LCD TV - 22......$500 usd
Samsung PPM63H3-plasma panel 63.....$2000 usd
Samsung HP-P5071 50-inch 1366X768 HD Plasma TV Ref.....$800usd
Samsung HPP5031 - plasma panel - 50.$1000 usd
Pioneer PDP-5050HD Television.......$1000 USD
Sharp 32" Aquos HD-Ready LCD TV.... $500 usd.

ThinkPad G40 2389 - C 2.5 GHz - 14.1" TFT IBM.....$580USD
Panasonic Toughbook 18 Touchscre......$500USD
HP Compaq Business Notebook nc8230 - Pentium M 760 2 GHz - 15.4" TFT...$950USD
HP Compaq Mobile Workstation nw8240 - Pentium M 760 2 GHz - 15.4" TFT...$780USD
SIDEKICK 2..........$120USD
SIDEKICK 3..........$200USD

Nextel i930 cell phone .....................$140usd
NEXTEL I860 cell phones............$150usd
and many more available in store
PDA
Palm Zire 72 PDA........$100usd
Sony PEG-SJ33 Color CLIÉ Handheld PDA...$120usd
Sony CLIÉ PEG-UX50 PDA.......$150usd
HP iPAQ Pocket PC hx4705 PDA.....$160usd
Palm Tungsten E PDA.......$60usd
Palm Tungsten T5 PDA.......$80usd
Palm LifeDrive Mobile Manager PDA.....$100usd
HP iPAQ Pocket PC HX4700 PDA......$200usd
Sharp Mobilon HC-4100 PDA......$100usd
o2 XDAII MINI integrated Pocket PC & GSM phone......$300usd
o2 XDAIIS integrated pocket PC & GSM Phone.......$330usd
HP Ipaq HX4700 Pocket PC ........$200usd
HP Ipaq HX2700 Pocket PC .......$300usd
and many more available in store and legit buyer needed.
you can contant us at jame_phones@hotmail.com or jamephones@gmail.com

Posted by: alex rahul at November 2, 2006 04:09 AM
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