Conflict is Changing
Canada is a historic peacekeeper in a world that struggles to keep peace.
The views expressed in this publication are provided here to stimulate discussion and learning. They do not reflect the views of Canada’s World staff, reviewers, funders, collaborators, or the SFU Centre for Dialogue.
The pages of our newspapers seem covered with news of the latest disaster: war, terrorist bombings, nuclear weapons' tests, hostage takings, assassinations, and genocide. Despite this seemingly endless bloodshed, the 2006 Human Security Report indicates that conflict has been slowing since 1994. Despite the escalating violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chad, and Darfur, the number of armed conflicts being waged around the world shrank by 15% between 2005 and 2006, from 66 to 56. This is good news.
Yet while reported cases of armed conflict may be on the decline, threats to peace and security are shifting and becoming less predictable. Terrorism is on the rise and disturbing trends - some old, some new - are contributing to a challenging security environment. These include:
→ The possibility that non-state actors could secure and use nuclear and or biological weapons against targets in Canada and abroad;
→ The difficulty of keeping Canada's borders, long undefended, closed to terrorists but open to trade;
→ The challenge Canada's military faces as it is called upon to not only keep the peace between clearly defined opponents, but also to battle insurgents who are difficult to tell apart from civilians;
→ The lack of international will and capacity to deal effectively with genocide; and
→ The melting of the ice cap and the consequent challenges to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic.
While dealing with security issues is not new for Canada , the nature and scope of the risks posed by international phenomena such as terrorism, pandemics, climate change, and resource scarcity require new thinking and fresh approaches.
How should Canada respond to these threats? And what do Canadians need to do, domestically and internationally, to position Canada so that it can best address the changing nature of conflict? What values, interests and assets does Canada have that will provide greater peace and security both at home and abroad?
This discussion guide explores the changing nature of conflict, Canada's historic and current policies, and some possible approaches for moving forward. This information is provided as a starting point for your deliberations. It is not comprehensive, but does outline many of the biggest challenges that Canada faces. As you read this, think about different perspectives, identify new questions, and consider new ways in which you might want Canada to address peace and security in a world where conflict is changing.
Next section: Background
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|Canada's Position||0 items||Igloo Webmaster|
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|A Critical Look at Canada's Contribution||0 items||Igloo Webmaster|