Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Coldest-Ever Cold War?

When I stumbled across a report yesterday about NATO raising a 10,000 strong, standing "expeditionary force" and that Canada was interested in contributing soldiers, I thought, "oh Jeebus, not again."

The exped force is pretty obviously being created to respond to Russia.  That much is clear from its membership.  The countries providing the troops include Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia along with Norway, Denmark and Holland all under the command of Britain.  At the same time, Finland and Sweden are preparing to sign "host" agreements to permit NATO forces to operate in their countries. Finland is expected to join NATO and so too may Sweden, ditching the Swedes' historic neutrality.

This has got to be irresistible to the current management.  A standing army of the northern latitudes.  Air, land and sea units - perfect for an ice-free Arctic.  Let the coldest ever Cold War begin.


Then again, we have done this sort of deal before.  In the cemetery in Vladivostok are 14 Canadian war graves marking a long-forgotten military blunder Stephen Harper won't be rejoicing in celebrating.  It was called the Canadian Expeditionary Force (Siberia) and it too operated under overall British Command during the Siberian Intervention of 1918-1922.

Canada's 4-thousand troops, almost half of them conscripts, mainly stayed in Vladivostok and spent less than a year before being withdrawn.  Most of our allies - the UK, US, China, Japan, and Czechoslovakia - were gone a year later as it became clear the White Russians were finished.

Canada's first expeditionary force to Russia was something of a flop.  Perhaps the most notable event was a mutiny - on the streets of Victoria.  French-Canadian conscripts didn't quite get why they were being marched off to war in Russia but they were duly herded back into formation at bayonet point and loaded aboard their transport.  The errant soldiers were going to be charged with mutiny until the Canadian brass realized they probably lacked the authority to send conscripts to fight for Russia.

While the CEF(S) cost the lives of 14-Canadian soldiers in Siberia, almost all of them to disease, it claimed over 100 civilian lives in Victoria, B.C.   Research has discovered that the Siberia-bound troop trains brought the Spanish Flu to the west coast.


Anonymous said...

If the people of BC continue to elect neo-fascists and neo-liberals into power, then the resistance will continue

Edstock said...

Um, that was then, and this is now. A hundred years ago, putting an "expeditionary Force" together was a very simple task compared to today.

As well, consider that an average army division is around 12,000-13,000 people.

So, we are talking about a severely understrength division, with a large technical and logistical "tail".

IMHO, considering how fast things can come apart with the ferocious capabilities of today's weapons like "Hail Mary" howitzers, this is a fatuous suggestion, at best, for the NATO PR flacks.

Long-term, IMHO, t'ain't no signifyin' thing. My 2¢.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ed, as I understand it this is a rapid reaction force. I would assume that, among the Brits, Dutch, Norwegians, Danes and the Balts, they have enough experience to put this together. Why else would Sweden and Finland accommodate them? Rounding it out with air and naval units suggests to me something operating from the Baltics to the Norwegian sector of the Barents.

Anonymous said...

We must consider? Gordon Campbell twice lied and cheated to win his elections. The BCR wasn't for sale. The HST wasn't on his radar either.

Campbell is also Harper's favorite henchman and he does a lot of underhanded work for Harper.

Harper rewarded Campbell the post of, High Commissioner to the U.K. Now, Campbell has the company of Nigel Wright.

Christy Clark also lied and cheated to win her election. Christy campaigned on 100,000 jobs for the BC citizens. She too works for Harper. Ditzy Christy's families first? Well, the Chinese are given the jobs of building, the LNG plant near Prince Rupert. BC's ship building contract, was given to Poland. The Chinese will have the jobs for, Christy and Harper's Northern BC mining plan.

So to blame the citizens of BC for electing Clark? She cheated to win, just as Campbell and Harper did.

Most of us believe. Harper cheated to win his election, with his robo-call scam. Harper stonewalled and blocked the investigation of his robo-call cheat. He stonewalled and blocked, his part in the torture in the torture of the Detainees. Harper prorogued Parliament against that one.

We are far too used to, the decent democratic Canada. We must change our mind sets. How many times have I heard? But, this is Canada and Harper can't do that. Canada is no longer a democracy. We must expect the worst from Harper because, worst is all we will have from him. Many of us know? Harper is a fascist dictator, from his Northern Foundation days of 1989.

In what way, can we be rid of this governing scum? They all lie, deceive, thieve, are corrupt, use dirty politics, dirty tactics and they cheat to win. And, what are the opposition doing, to throw the evil fascists in this country, right off the planet?

the salamander said...

.. I note a number of mainstream news articles that use this kind of lead.. 'Canada mulls Opportunity' re NATO pushes for bigger crisis response brigade as Canada mulls opportunity ..

Meaning what exactly ... ??

Stephen Harper and a chinchilla mulled? A National Plebicite was held and nobody noticed? Federal MP's as honorable public servants went into their ridings and held town hall meetings with citizenry? Obama spoke to Stephen and leveraged Laureen and the chinchilla? And when did soldiers or citizens dying become an 'opportunity'?

Sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime for a twit like Mark Adler to get his 'its the election' photo as ballistic missiles arrive. John Baird can try to get a helmet over his fatuous cranium and Stephen Harper can lay claim to being in the same league as Churchill or Ike..

In the meantime.. I keep reading of Stephen Harper as an 'International Leader' .. even Nobel Peace Prize potential.. gah! Shunning all provincial Premiers aside from Christy Clark and duly deposed Ms Redford.. he's discussed or mulled or referred exactly what.. to those Canadians he must answer to?

Truth ? The scope and number of Canadians he has ignored, insulted, appalled, deceived, cheated or spied upon is shocking.. If there is one single thing this current prime minister should be mulling, its his putrid arrogant legacy and coverups. an abject apology to all Canadians, and a brief clear statement regarding his imminent retreat from public office and retirement.

How such an unrepresentative hypocritical and hysterical dweeb from Toronto became the pudgy and pasty face of Canada via Alberta is one for the ages. He is one egotistical, holier than thou, prick we truly did not deserve.. nor did our environment, ecosystems and endangered species.

Anonymous said...

For fuck sake Mound, we're trying to have a discussion here. If you want to play footsie with another blogger, fine, but please do so in another forum.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, I have no idea of what you're on about or, for that matter, what you may be on.

Anonymous said...

I am into truth and reality.If you want to turn it into something else, that is your business, and a very nice business it might be. But get a room. And leave the rest of us out of it.

astone said...

Just another anonymous Asshole. Take no notice Mound.

Edstock said...

The coldest-ever Cold War?

IMHO, started the day Mackenzie King was told by the RCMP that Igor Gouzenko was the real deal. And it didn't get better, as the Venona gang kept chipping away at Soviet radio intercepts. Then in '48, Uncle Joe tries for Berlin . . .

The Mound of Sound said...

Ah, Gouzenko. As a young reporter in Ottawa I was fascinated by his dreary, 2-story apartment block where Gouzenko stashed all his purloined intelligence from the Sov embassy. The tale of his defection is typically Canadian. The guy bolts but gets a cold shoulder from the RCMP and the Ottawa Journal. Eventually he and his family take refuge in the apartment of an RCAF sergeant just across the hall just before thugs arrive from the Sov embassy to toss the joint.

Gouzenko spilled the beans on Soviet espionage and Canadian collaborators but he made a royal pain in the arse of himself forever afterwards. I think the last time I saw him was when he appeared on "Front Page Challenge" wearing his hood as always.