Canada’s obligation to its allies and to the Afghan people evolved in several distinct phases. To bureaucrats and governmental apparatchiks, each phase came with its own goals, opportunities, and difficulties and were seen as natural responses to the commensurate threats facing the mission in Afghanistan. To the public, poor communication and divides in regional attitudes turned the populace’s perception of the conflict into an ungainly and unending military morass. From the wider strategic perspective, Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan must be viewed through the lens of the American unipolar moment at its imperious zenith, facilitating an international superstructure that permitted and encouraged such an outsized Canadian contribution.
Many Canadians see the plethora of problems in the Indo-Pacific region through the NIMBY lens—Not in My Back Yard so it is not our problem. In reality though, what happens in the Indo-Pacific matters for Canada. This is especially the case if China is successful in creating and shaping “an ideological environment conducive to its rise and counter Western values.” If successful, Canada will be less secure, less prosperous, and more vulnerable to a might-is-right approach to regional and international affairs.
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