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Session Recaps


Friday, November 20

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Introductory Remarks

Opening remarks by Peter Van Praagh, President of the Halifax International Security Forum, and The Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Canadian Minister of Defence, welcoming participants to Canada and to the 2015 Forum.

On the Panel

Peter Van Praagh
President, Halifax International Security Forum

Harjit Singh Sajjan
Minister of National Defence, Department of National Defence, Canada

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New Canadian Ideas. Same Old World?

As part of a special production of the Global TV program “The West Block”, host Tom Clark moderated a panel of military and security experts to consider an important question: Are recent, shocking events of terrorist activity “the new normal?” The discussion touched upon the role of numerous complex elements that have changed the nature of terrorism, including the criminal underpinnings of terror networks, new sophisticated digital methods of terror recruitment, and how Muslims are made to feel accepted and welcome in countries outside of the Middle East. Panelists also agreed that force is only part of the solution, and the careful management of force is an intrinsic part of inflicting damage upon the enemy, while ensuring favorable conditions remain for rebuilding areas of conflict into areas of peace and freedom in the future.

On the Panel

John Allen
Co-Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence Brookings Institution

Bill Gortney
Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command

Harjit Singh Sajjan
Minister of National Defence, Department of National Defence, Canada

Janice Gross Stein
Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management and Founding Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Jonathan Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Armed Forces

Tom Clark
Chief Political Correspondent, Global News and Host, The West Block with Tom Clark

Quotes

QUESTION: “What is the one thing that stands in the way of victory against Daesh?” 
 -Mr. Tom Clark, Chief Political Correspondent, Global News
 
“An absence of coherence within the coalition…This is a time for the coalition to come together, think extensively, and to dedicate ourselves to a final, ultimate objective, which is the defeat of Daesh.” 
-General John Allen, Ret., Co-Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Brookings Institution

 “Defining the coalition. We all share the same values: that we do not agree with Daesh and their way of life.”
-Admiral Bill Gortney, Commander, North American Aerospace and Defense Command and United States Northern Command
 
“We need to fully understand how these problems occur. Once you get a really good understanding of that, then you can start looking at how to do reverse engineering for the solution as well.”

-The Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, Canada
 
“Impatience. I think we need to see what can be successful, and in what time horizon. Apply all the tools that you can that are appropriate to that time horizon but recognize that it’s going to take a long time.”
-General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, Canadian Armed Forces
 
“Thinking about this only as a government problem and not broadening the coalition to include the private sector, civil society, digital talents and digital young people.”
-Dr. Janice Gross Stein, Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management and Founding Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

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Plenary One - Cooperate, Contain, or Conquer: Prioritizing Strategy 70 Years On

Moderator Dr. Gideon Rose led panelists through an in-depth discussion of strategy and conflict in the 21st century, and whether nations have the tools they need to resolve conflict now that the rules of international engagement are much less clear. A common theme among all responses was the need for a realistic assessment of the challenges facing individual nations and the international security community today – one that accepts the reality of changing dynamics and greater competition for power. The conversation touched on the current shift from interest-based motivations to values-based motivations. Panelists also discussed how the public’s desire for change gives way to real-world political change, and how troublesome nations – most notably Russia – can still be engaged in other efforts of global security interest.

On the Panel

Tinatin Khidasheli
Minister of Defense

Tzipi Livni
Co-leader, Zionist Union Party and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Luis Carlos Villegas Echeverri
Minister of Defense, Ministry of Defense, Colombia

Robert Work
Deputy Secretary of Defense, United States Department of Defense

Gideon Rose
Editor, Foreign Affairs

Quotes

“The asset we are presenting to Central America is a way to regain security, and that is democracy.”
-The Hon. Luis Carlos Villegas Echeverri, Minister of National Defense, Colombia

“After Ukraine, after Crimea, I believe this discussion about ‘somebody doing something’ to provoke Russia should be over.”
-The Hon. Tinatin Khidasheli, Minister of Defense, Georgia

“Do not foreclose Russia becoming a responsible actor of a global order that is based on values.”
-The Hon. Robert Work, Deputy Secretary of Defense, United States Department of Defense

“We need to understand that with religious conflict, you cannot contain, cannot reach an agreement, cannot give them what they want. So the free world needs to fight for its values.”
-The Hon. Tzipi Livni, Co-Leader, Zionist Union Party and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, State of Israel

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Saturday, November 21

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Plenary Two - Breaking Rules: Discipline or Disorder in the Global Playground

The first discussion of Day Two focused on the critical problem of our adversaries refusing to play by the rules, and the advantage they gain while democratic societies and Western militaries are tied to traditional methods of engagement. The debate examined the evolving role of the multilateral organizations that have historically overseen global response to crises and conflict, as well as how the self-imposed principles Western nations often set upon ourselves can be a detriment to finding creative diplomatic solutions. Panelists agreed that despite evolving challenges and imperfect governing structures at home, Western nations and democracies around the world should not abandon their collective principles in the interest of a “quick win”, but rather focus on improving the tools and strategies available to confront rule-breakers. 

On the Panel

Tim Kaine
Senator, United States

Isabelle Lasserre
Associate Editor, Le Figaro

Petr Pavel
Chairman of the Military Committee, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Lamberto Zannier
Secretary General, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Jonathan Tepperman
Managing Editor, Foreign Affairs

Quotes

“We will always defend ourselves unilaterally, but if we’re going to try and promote values, we’ve got to do it multilaterally.”
– Tim Kaine, Senator (D-VA), United States
 
“Since Charlie Hebdo, political speech is stronger. For the first time in France, there is now a debate on things that would have been unbelievable one year ago.”
– Ms. Isabelle Lasserre, Associate Editor, Le Figaro
 
“If we want a quick win we will probably break the rules. We should stick to the rules because in the long run this is the right way to go.”
– General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the Military Committee, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Session Videos

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Plenary Three - Breaking Tradition: Modern Muslims Advance

“Breaking Tradition: Modern Muslims Advance” tackled the image problem placed on Muslims around the globe as a result of the troubling views of some, and the high-profile radical acts of a small few. Panelists also debated what makes ISIS a different kind of modern threat when compared to other radical Islamic organizations that have emerged, such as Al-Qaeda. The ideas generated by the panel included the scope of ISIS’s reach, its self-sustaining revenue mechanisms, its ability to shift tactics rapidly in the face of Western opposition, and the sheer strength of the dangerous ideology they promote. The conversation moved on to the question of how well-equipped Arab nations are to address the threat of radical Islam in the long term. Panelists discussed the need for modern Muslims who reject that ideology – including Muslim women and black Muslims – to have a leadership role in that strategy.    

On the Panel

Mohammed Abulahoum
Head, Justice and Building Party, Yemen

Yusuf S. Müftüoğlu
Senior Advisor, Macro Advisory Partners, and Chief Executive Officer, Turkcell

Alaa Murabit
Founding President, Voice of Libyan Women

Ahmed Rashid
Journalist, Pakistan

Yalda Hakim
Presenter, Impact, and Correspondent, BBC World News

Quotes

“Women have been talking about the growth of extremism in the region for years –  in Afghanistan in Syria, in Libya – and people have very much ignored the voices of women.”
– Dr. Alaa Murabit, Founding President, Voice of Libyan Women
 
“I think we should bring in the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians and whoever is interested in fighting this war. Bring them into the war and don’t let them sit outside and create problems for you.”
– Mr. Mohammed Abulahoum, Head, Justice and Building Party, Yemen

Session Videos

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Plenary Four - Broken China: Handle with Care

From the high seas to cyberspace, China’s tendency to disrupt is creating tension around the globe. How do we deal with a China that is experiencing its own difficulties, including declining economic growth, a stormy shift into a maritime-based power, and continual territorial disputes with its neighbors? The panel discussed the issues that arise from a nation that is inextricably linked to every major economy but is itself starting to show serious cracks in its facade. Panelists closed with thoughtful advice for Chinese leadership as the nation settles into its role as an influence on the global order, and the responsibilities they bear towards its own citizens.

On the Panel

Antonio Carpio
Senior Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Masashi Nishihara
President, Research Institute for Peace and Security

Michael Rogers
Commander, United States Cyber Command; Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Agency

Russell Trood
Professor International Relations and Director of the Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University

Lyse Doucet
Chief International Correspondent, BBC

Quotes

“The international community acknowledges and welcomes China’s rise to an active role in the international environment, but that it is alarmed by the way China is exercising its rising power.”
– Dr. Russell Trood, Professor, International Relations and Director of the Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University.
 
“Read again what Deng Xiaoping said: That if China becomes a bully to smaller nations, the world should unite together with the people of China to throw out the leaders.”
– The Hon. Antonio Carpio, Justice Supreme Court of the Philippines
 
“Just as we as a nation are trying to work our way through this increasingly interconnected world, for my Chinese teammates, I would argue it will be no less a challenge for you, but it’s one you fundamentally have to come to grips with.”
– Admiral Michael Rogers, Commander, United States Cyber Command, Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service

“Part of the title for this session is ‘Handle China with Care.’ I would say it’s not us that has to handle China with care. It should be the Chinese leaders handling China with care.”
– Dr. Masashi Nishihara, President, Research Institute for Peace and Security

Session Videos

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Plenary Five - The American Fix: Best Dosage for Optimal Results

The panel discussed whether the U.S. has the will to continue its self-appointed role of the  international defender of freedom, and how much America the rest the world is ready to accept. The conversation also touched on the Obama administration’s perceived shift away from America’s interventionist tendency and the potential “pendulum swing” that could take place following the 2016 U.S. election. Panelists gave consideration to what a modern mix of military power and soft power diplomacy might look like for a new U.S. approach to foreign policy.

On the Panel

Jane Harman
Director, President, and CEO, Woodrow Wilson Center

Garry Kasparov
Chairman, United Civil Front

Chris Murphy
Senator, United States

Robin Shepherd
Publisher, The Commentator

Lina Sinjab
Middle East Correspondent, BBC News

Quotes

“I think if we’re waiting for the moment in which the world judges that there is the perfect amount of U.S. leadership and intervention, we’ll be waiting for a very long time. The porridge is likely never going to be just right.”
– Chris Murphy, Senator (D-CT), United States

“People in this part of the world believe Americans are part of the problem and part of the solution because there’s always this sense that it’s America to blame – whether for the good or for the bad.”
– Ms. Lina Sinjab, Middle East Correspondent, BBC News

“Since Bill Clinton, Russia has been treated as the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving Dinner. ‘Oh, just don’t mention democracy, don’t mention human rights’.”
– Mr. Garry Kasparov, Chairman, United Civil Front

Session Videos

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Plenary Six - Responsibility to Welcome: Yours. Mine. Ours

With more refugees and displaced persons worldwide than at any time since World War II,  this panel’s conversation asked a stark question: Where do we go from here? A lively exchange between panelists and the audience examined the challenge of what is now a highly emotional issue. To some, refugees are a burden, and to others a responsibility. Migrants can represent security threats, or a critical part of the labour force. The panel debated whether fears of refugees as security threats was in fact a capitulation to the desires of terrorist organizations such as ISIS. Some suggested a Syria-based solution must be reached first to stem the flow of displaced peoples from that region. Panelists agreed that solidarity and a sharing of responsibilities among the international community is required to address this challenge in a sustainable way.

On the Panel

Ralf Brauksiepe
Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defense, Germany

Mark Hetfield
President and Chief Executive Officer, HIAS

Selcuk Unal
Ambassador of Turkey to Canada

Mimi Kodheli
Minister of Defense, Ministry of Defense, Albania

Kathleen Koch
Author, Journalist, and Founder of LeadersLink

Quotes

“What we really need is a multilateral approach to this problem. We need to go beyond the Refugee Convention. The international community needs to step in and really offer substantial assistance to these countries.”
– Mr. Mark Hetfield, President and Chief Executive Officer, HIAS

“If we discuss the issue in such a way that we do not accept people from Syria coming to Europe, and if we start to distinguish whether they are Christians or Muslims, we would indeed fall into the trap of the ISIL propaganda and we should not succumb to this temptation.”
–  The Hon. Dr. Ralf Brauksiepe, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence, Germany

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Sunday, November 22

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Plenary Seven - Hi-Tech, Bio-Tech: Unleashing Known Unknowns

The panel and audience pursued a vigorous – and occasionally pointed – debate on the promise and the risks of military innovation. The discussion focused primarily on the issue of autonomous weapons systems and biotechnology. Specifically, panellists examined whether the responsibility for ethical use belongs to the scientists and innovators endowing these weapons with greater intelligence, or to those executing these advanced capabilities in the field. Experts from the military, watchdog, and political realms offered differing views, ultimately agreeing that the element of human decision-making must be safeguarded above all.

On the Panel

Brian Gallant
Premier, New Brunswick

Annie Jacobsen
Investigative Journalist and Author

David Perkins
Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command

Heather Roff
Senior Scientist, Global Security Initiative, Arizona State University

Steve Clemons
Washington Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic and Editor-in-Chief AtlanticLIVE & QuartzLIVE

Quotes

“I’m not quite certain that you can create artificial intelligence that’s going to act and react in the same way that you think a human being is going to react.”
–  Dr.Heather Roff, Senior Scientist, Global Security Initiative, Arizona State University

“You hear comments, ‘Well, if we have autonomous operations and robots, there are moral and ethical issues involved with that’. There are moral and ethical issues involved with using a bayonet.”
– David Perkins, Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command

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Plenary Eight - Financing Terror: Selling Drugs, Enslaving Women, Making Money

The final plenary of the Forum examined the criminal activity that is bankrolling global terror activity. From oil exports, the drug trade, prostitution and human trafficking, right down to a mundane ATM cash withdrawal from compromised banking systems in the Middle East – it seems there is no end to the list of revenue generators for terror networks. The panel discussed ways to overcome the roadblocks to prosecution of these crimes, which are complicated by complicit allies, “informal economies”, and a lack of support for domestic law enforcement. Panelists finished with a call for renewed cooperation among nations to disrupt a dangerously diverse and sophisticated web of criminal enterprise. Halifax International Security Forum President Peter Van Praagh came on stage to conclude the 2015 Forum by thanking all speakers, participants and sponsors.

On the Panel

Falah Mustafa Bakir
Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, Kurdistan Regional Government

Husain Haqqani
Director, South and Central Asia, Hudson Institute

Cindy McCain
Co-Chair of the Arizona Task Force on Human Trafficking

Ayman Mhanna
Executive Director, Samir Kassir Foundation

Jeanne Meserve
Senior Fellow, Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, George Washington University

Quotes

“When we manage to identify smugglers in antiquities for example, there is high probability that they are extremely connected to the ones trafficking oil, phosphate, sulphur, cement, wheat – all these products are being smuggled through these routes. Probably pulling one thread will lead to destroying the whole sweater.”
-Ayman Mhanna, Executive Director, Samir Kassir Foundation
 
“We’re concentrating on the plight of the refugees, as we should. But part of the problem in this is that we’re ignoring the traffickers. I’ve never seen a more disorganized issue than human trafficking. Nobody works together on it.” 
-Cindy McCain, Co-Chair of the Arizona Task Force on Human Trafficking, The McCain Institute for International Leadership

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