Winston Churchill famously said that it was better to “Jaw, Jaw than to War, War.” Most of us would agree; but what to do with someone who refuses to discuss the issue? How do you negotiate with someone who is psychotic and bent on using the military to settle disputes? How do you reason with someone like Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un? You do your best, but when your best fails you need to be ready to fight. And that is where many Western nations hit a wall, Canada included. We do not subscribe to war as a favoured option to dispute resolution and that is good; but the other side of the coin is that you need to spend the resources necessary to make the military option a credible one. That is where Canada drops the ball.
Our tiny military works hard to be professional but lack of strong leadership, sound strategy and effective equipment cannot be overcome by more hard work or inspiring slogans. Teddy Roosevelt had many failings but his foreign policy concept of “speak softly and carry a big stick” has much to recommend it. It would seem that too many of our leaders in the West today believe that we should “speak softly and carry no stick.”