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This is not peacekeeping, more like Cold War II

Canada has announced that it will send up to 1,000 troops to Latvia to help bolster a NATO force sent there to face down Russian aggression.

Canada has long been operating in the region–troops in Poland and Ukraine, CF-18s in the sky above, warships at sea–all as a part of a mission called Operation Reassurance, which was meant to provide comfort to our shaky NATO allies that we are, indeed, allies.

Members of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) FREDERICTON air detachment perform a fueling exercise with the embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopter during Operation REASSURANCE on February 15, 2016. Photo: Corporal Anthony Chand, Formation Imagery Services HS2016-A028-007 ~ Des membres du détachement aérien du Navire canadien de Sa Majesté (NCSM) FREDERICTON effectuent un exercice de ravitaillement avec l’hélicoptère CH-124 Sea King embarqué au cours de l’opération REASSURANCE, le 15 février 2016. Photo : Caporal Anthony Chand, Services d’imagerie de la formation HS2016-A028-007
Members of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) FREDERICTON air detachment perform a fueling exercise with the embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopter.
Photo: Corporal Anthony Chand. Formation Imagery Services. HS2016-A028-007
But now this mission has, well, escalated–Operation Reassurance is more like Operation Deterrence.

It all started with U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa last week. “As your NATO ally and your friend, let me say, we’ll be more secure when every NATO member, including Canada, contributes its full share to our common security,” said Obama. “Because the Canadian Armed Forces are really good. And if I can borrow a phrase, the world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada.”

This deployment comes amid widespread concerns that Russia is increasingly revealing itself to be a non-law-abiding citizen of the global community. Which is putting it nicely.

It was reportedly NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who made the official pitch that Canada join what he calls “the forward presence” in Eastern Europe.

The likely scenario is that Canada will send an infantry battalion along with a headquarters group and various support staff. The deployment is, at this point, slated to be indefinite. Troops will be rotated through on a regular basis.

The last time Canada had a large-scale troop presence in Europe was in the early 1990s, but that ended as the Cold War came to a close.

It looks like it might be starting again.

Should we call this Cold War II now?


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