CDA Institute: ON TRACK (Spring 2018)

From the editor 
I am pleased to introduce the first issue of ON TRACK for 2018, consisting of a mix of Canadian-centric and internationally focused articles.

Nous commençons par une réflexion sur le soft power européen selon le Dr Michael Lambert (France). Même si le concept de soft power ou « politique d’influence » en langue française a été théorisé après la fin de la guerre froide, le concept est toujours pertinent puisqu’il est actuellement au coeur de la politique étrangère des États-Unis et de celles des États membres de l’Union européenne. Le Dr Lambert s’interroge à juste titre pour savoir si le modèle américain de soft power est différent ou similaire à celui de l’Union européenne. Il note que les États-Unis sont une fédération, l’Union européenne est plus proche du système confédéral, et que le voisin Canadien s’en distingue en regroupant deux entités distinctes sur le plan linguistique et juridique avec le Québec. Il considère que le soft power demeure aussi l’outil de prédilection pour exercer une influence dans le cadre du partenariat oriental. Le facteur clef est que le soft power de chaque pays est déterminé par chaque gouvernement de manière totalement autonome.

The next article, by Major David Johnston, briefly explores the conditions necessary for innovation to thrive. His short piece makes a timely and relevant contribution to the ongoing discussion about how best to achieve results given the Government of Canada’s current focus on innovation. As he notes, a mix of cultural attitudes toward change, the influence of executive-level leadership, the organization’s basic structure and the timing of innovative efforts all contribute, to a greater or lesser extent, to the successful adoption of novel ideas and methodologies. The implications for the Canadian Armed Forces are clear – if it is to be effective in a multidimensional, shifting and complex operating environment, innovative approaches to issues may be (and surely are) one of the keys to success. Yet, the CAF must in the first place be open to and then incorporate innovation, no small challenge in a large, hierarchical, traditional, bureaucratic and frequently stove-piped organization. Simple in theory, difficult in practice!

Following this, Adnan Qaiser, a repeat contributor, discusses the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In his analysis, he outlines the extent of China’s deep economic and indeed cultural penetration into Pakistan, something that threatens to turn the former into a regional hegemon and the latter into a vassal or client or satellite state. The many challenges to CPEC’s successful implementation, both internal and external to Pakistan, suggest how difficult economic integration between the two countries may ultimately prove to be. In the end, he argues, Pakistan must neither surrender its sovereignty nor compromise its national interests in the pursuit of prosperity lest it end up with nothing.

Christopher Cowan, the CDA Institute’s research analyst and editor, has compiled an invaluable record of the 2018 Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence that was held at the Fairmont Château Laurier on 22 and 23 February. Appearing next, it summarizes the principal comments made by the five keynote speakers and fourteen panelists. As is usually the case, albeit with some exceptions, there is no permanent record of what transpires at conferences – they occur, the participants disperse and that’s it. His summary will help preserve the essence of this iteration of the Ottawa Conference for years to come, certainly an important consideration when one takes the long historical view. As things would have it, preparations are currently underway for the 2019 conference and we look forward to welcoming you all once again.

This issue concludes with a number of reprinted book reviews; a few select critiques have been drawn from our website and republished here given their timeliness and relevance to topics of contemporary interest. A brief note that explains the addition of this new section appears at its beginning.

And finally, I wish to note that some changes to ON TRACK are in the offing. Subsequent editions will feature pieces more in line with the CDA Institute’s research agenda, which includes the new defence policy; the operationalization of personnel; NORAD and the north; and cyber and space. Although articles on any aspect of defence and security that in some way touch the Canadian Armed Forces will be considered, preference will be given to discussions of the above topics. More detail will be provided in the next issue, which is tentatively scheduled to be released in mid-September, as this shift in focus is more fully developed over the months to come. Stay tuned!

I trust that everyone will find this edition of ON TRACK an enlightening read. Please enjoy!


Craig Leslie Mantle, PhD
Director of Research & Senior Editor

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