Afghanistan’s Final Piece
Hong Kong’s Present, Taiwan’s Future
London Outs, Brussels Pouts
Maduro’s Venezuela: A Rogues’ Gallery
Tide Power: Bay Of Fundy’s Electric Waves
The economic fallout from COVID-19 has sparked the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression. It has also exacerbated existing inequalities in a devastating way. Is the world now headed for a period as tumultuous as the 1930s? Does history repeat itself or, as American humorist Mark Twain said, does it simply rhyme?
Gideon Rose thinks that we may have avoided the worst outcomes of the 1930s, but our belief in the natural progression of democracy has taken a hit. He pointed to how the pandemic inspired a further rise in nationalist sentiment. Jane Harman feels there wasn’t enough recognition of the fact that many people were left behind in the rush to streamline globalization. Senator Tim Kaine is certain that the best way to confront a pandemic is through international cooperation. Can the US get back on track as a global leader, despite the pandemic? Secretary Leon Panetta fears that the catastrophic handling of the pandemic in the US has raised questions both at home and abroad about America’s capability of handling a crisis. President Kersti Kaljulaid still hopes, however, that we will see some positive outcomes from the pandemic – specifically due to new technologies, new ways of working, and expanded supply lines.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the world forever and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, had a sobering warning: COVID-19 hit the most vulnerable populations in Canada the hardest. If we aren’t careful, the next pandemic will do the same.
“We didn’t notice that globalization, which sounded great, didn’t benefit a lot of people- it dislocated work in particular- those people are left out.”
“Despite these tragic events and the global pandemic, Canada remains engaged in operations around the world.”
“Although the US may have escaped the worst, the fact that we brushed so close and that there were so few guardrails means that we can no longer take liberal democracy as an uncontested norm.”
“Russia and China fear alliances. The Western world has been able to protect its security because we come together.”
“I can guarantee that the next pandemic is going to hit the same vulnerable populations.”
“I think coronavirus has demonstrated that we aren’t going to solve the big problems in the world without effective and vibrant alliances and international organizations.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed HFX participants, to highlight Turkey’s commitment to protecting its national sovereignty and peace in the region. Speaking to the ongoing issues in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, he expressed thanks to the Russian Federation for their help in brokering a ceasefire in the conflict. He also addressed the conflict in Libya, and advocated the continuation of dialogue to encourage peace. Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s determination to pursue natural resources in the Mediterranean, and says Turkey has never closed the door on dialogue and diplomacy to do so.
“We have never closed our doors to dialogue and diplomacy.”
“We do not have an eye on any country’s land, sovereignty, or domestic affairs.”
With so many moving parts in the Middle East, nothing ever remains the same for long. This is especially true in a year like 2020. Over the past few months, we have seen a deterioration in relations between Greece and Turkey, even while alliances are improving between Israel and nearby Arab states. With regional debates over border lines and access to natural resources, there is no end to the diplomacy needed in the Middle East.
Véronique Roger-Lacan issued a forceful call for increased multilateralism in the Middle East. She said multilateralism is founded on the protection and promotion of individual human rights and freedoms and if every member of the international community respected those basic multilateralism principles, there would be less conflicts such as those in the Mediterranean to manage. Tzipi Livini sees positive new alliances forming between Israel and its neighbors. She was optimistic that they can continue to normalize relations with Arab and Gulf countries. Meanwhile, Tasos Chatzivasileiou hoped that President Biden will strengthen diplomacy and re-establish the United States as a badly-needed mediator between Greece and Turkey.
In a vast region, with many different priorities, the current global instability makes it more important than ever to have strong institutions that can encourage dialogue and democracy in the Middle East.
“I believe that globally, the day after COVID-19, the gaps between countries will be broader and a huge question will be how international organizations deal with this.”
“The EU doesn’t close its door to anyone, the EU has criteria that all EU member states respect and follow.”
“There is a constant threat of war against Greece.”
In HFX was joined by the 2020 Peace With Women Fellows:
Is Canada destined to be a middle child amongst greater powers? In a year marked by a rising China and struggling America, Canada’s top bureaucrat Ian Shugart thinks the biggest question his country must answer now is – How are we going to participate in the global order and what is the best contribution that we can make?
Rachel Kleinfeld believes that the time is now for countries like Canada to take on a leadership role on the world stage. Australia’s Angus Campbell is optimistic about the opportunity for middle powers to encourage other countries to join that effort. From Latvia, Artis Pabriks believes that the strength of the European Union is a positive example of middle powers coming together to create a political force on the world stage.
In dealing with global power struggles, a US leadership change and the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada cannot find its way alone. Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan stated that middle powers can be united to face adversity and we should never underestimate the power of nations coming together.
“China needs to realize that the rest of the world is watching very closely, and when they find that citizens can be arbitrarily detained, it’s not a bilateral issue- it’s an issue for the world.”
“Large powers usually earn respect not only through their power but through their example.”
“Although US leadership on the globe was inconsistent, sometimes ineffective, and sometimes unwelcome, it had been a cornerstone both democratically and militarily.”
“I’m very optimistic about the future of US power in the world, and about the ability of major powers to innovate and generate the kind of influence necessary to support a rules-based international order.”
In an international environment featuring great power tensions and complex new security challenges, do defense leaders spend enough time considering space as a domain of warfare? Should every nation create a Space Force? In this session, panelists discussed space as a hotly contested issue in global security.
General John Raymond is an impassioned advocate of America’s newly created Space Force, and the critical domain that it patrols. As other countries seek to weaponize space, the U.S. Space Force is determined to keep space a free, fair, and peaceful place. NATO also has a role to play, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach explained how satellites in space provide critical navigation, intelligence, and reconnaissance support for the Alliance. But it’s the partnerships with industry that make America a world leader in space exploration. Boeing’s Jim Chilton emphasized the industrial side of space, noting that his company will continue to provide new and high-quality space technology for both commercial and military use.
The panelists ultimately made it clear that if Western democracies want to support global peace and the rules-based international order, they must continue to invest in space technology through public-private partnerships, enhance diplomatic cooperation, and promote common rules for all countries to follow.
In the current global environment, space should be treated no differently than land, air, or sea.
Mr. Chilton framed space as a domain of opportunity, where research and innovation will help the $424 billion global space economy grow even larger. Acknowledging the widespread global interest in space, he noted that countries ranging from India and Australia to China are demonstrating greater interest and ambition.
“The US is the best in the world in space because we have the best partners and the best industries. We built space force to better work with our industry partners to ensure that we can remain the best.”
“The world changes, but we feel that the US must always have a strong space force supported by strong industry.”
“Space is right at the heart of our NATO command and control capabilities.”
“Too many of the world’s great challenges, including climate and inequality, require China’s input for the country to be isolated by the West, the Halifax International Security Forum report concludes, but those democracies will need to use the U.S.-led post-war alliance system to force chance. That’s one fundamental advantage China does not have at its disposal: It has no real allies, only clients and fearful neighbors.”
“One of the marquee panels at the Halifax International Security Forum, held virtually this year, began on Friday with a grainy, grey video of an elephant being chased and eventually overpowered by a pride of lions. It was a stark visual metaphor for Beijing’s relative isolation as a world power — the fact that China is a powerful nation with few allies, while western democracies are overwhelming when they act in concert. There was, however, a palpable sense of dismay among some of the panelists when the conversation turned to whether the international community is a pride of lions or a collection of kittens.”
“Policy-makers around the world need to wake up to the reality of the China threat by carefully studying and learning about the various elements involved, from the Leninist essence of the CCP, through its assault on global democracies in international institutions, to its generalized and broadly-based interference in free and open societies. As a starting point, our organization,HFX, has produced China vs. Democracy: The Greatest Game, which we see as a “Handbook for Democracies” that discusses these challenges, and more, and is available for anyone to download.”
““I would not expect the president-elect to simply just take off all the tariffs and try to take us back to where we were in 2016,” Coons said at a security conference Friday. “I would expect him to begin by consulting with our close and trusted allies, like the United Kingdom, like Canada, before moving forward.” Coons, who appeared at the Halifax International Security Forum, said he was not speaking for Biden or the transition team but was outlining what he saw as Biden’s likely course of action based on their relationship and Biden’s long experience working in foreign relations as a senator and vice president.”
Janice Gross Stein joined Bruce Frisko and CTV News Atlantic to talk about the agenda for the 2020 Halifax International Security Forum, how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world’s democracies, the impact of the recent US election on global democracy, and what the rise of China means for Canada.
“They’re creating very advanced platforms — and weapons systems to go with those platforms — in the naval or maritime sphere, with their air forces [and] with their rocket forces,” said Adm. Philip Davidson. “China will test more missiles — conventional and nuclear associated missiles — this year than every other nation added together on the planet.” There is an “incredible asymmetry” in the region due to the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force and what it’s capable of doing both in terms of capability and quantity, he said during a pre-recorded interview at the Halifax International Security Forum, which this year is being hosted both in person in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.