Canada's Hub for International Affairs


In 2011 came the end of Canada’s longest ever military commitment. Over the course of 10 years, Canada spent more than $18 billion on its mission in Afghanistan. Over the next 10 years, where should military resources be allocated?

The Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) and the Canadian International Council (CIC) considered that question over the course of seven weeks with a series of op-eds and online conversations moderated by the University of Ottawa’s Philippe Lagassé.

Week 1: A Post-Afghanistan Military


Foreign Policy is Not Just Defence

Roland Paris writes that, while the military is a vital tool of Canadian foreign policy, it’s not the only one. And the country’s other instruments – DFAIT and CIDA – should not be forgotten about.


Lessons From Afghanistan

Steve Saideman identifies the three major lessons the Canadian Forces learned from Afghanistan and how they will inform future conflicts.

Live Chat

What Are the Military and Foreign Policy Lessons of Afghanistan?

Join us on Tuesday, May 1 at 2:00pm edt for a live chat with Steve Saideman and Roland Paris, moderated by Philippe Lagassé, on the lessons learned from Afghanistan.


Week 2: Defending Canada At Home


Just How Threatening is the Terrorist Threat?

“The 9/11 decade is over” declares Wesley Wark, an associate of the Munk School of Global Affairs. So why do we keep taking the terrorist threat so seriously?


How To Protect Canada From Terrorism

Canada is the only developed democracy that refuses to trust our legislators with secret information. University of Toronto law professor Kent Roach explains what changes must be made to protect Canadians against terrorism.


Recalibrating the Response to Domestic Terrorism

It was the people of Gander, Newfoundland who opened their homes to the passengers of flights diverted from US airspace on 9/11. Stephen Flynn, former President of the Center for National Policy, argues for increased civil engagement in counter-terrorism policy.



Live Chat

Defending Canada At Home

Join us on Friday, May 11 at 12:00pm edt for a live chat with Stephen Flynn and Wesley Wark, moderated by Philippe Lagassé, on the terrorist threat to Canada.


Week 3: Defending Canada Abroad


A Whole-of-Government Approach

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, the Canadian Forces deployed 2,050 military personnel. Elissa Golberg, Canada’s permanent representative at the UN and former director of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force in Afghanistan, examines the changing role of the military.


A More Humanitarian Military

Where Canada was once a respected nation of peacekeepers, it has now become a nation of fighters who slash foreign-aid budgets. Rahul Singh, named one of Time’s 100 Most influential people for his work with Global Medic, makes a case for trending the military away from roles in active combat.

Live Chat

Military Relief

The Canadian military still uses weapons. More and more often, however, the Canadian Forces are involved in disaster response efforts that don’t require much ammo. Elissa Golberg and Rahul Singh discuss this shift with Philippe Lagassé. Thursday, May 17, at 11:00 am edt.



Week 4: New Threats


Environment at War

It’s not just about floods and air quality. Research shows that global environmental change is increasing violent conflict. Richard Matthew of the University of California, Irvine, on how Canada can position itself for future challenges.

Live Chat

A Perfect Cyberstorm

The perfect storm? How about a perfect cyberstorm? The Citizen Lab’s Ron Deibert chats with Philippe Lagassé about the social forces that are subverting cyberspace as an open commons, and what Canada can do.


The Outsourcing of the Cyberwar

In the new cyberwar, it’s not belligerent states you have to worry about — it’s belligerent companies and individuals. The Oxford Internet Institute’s Jon Penney on how Canada can counter these non-state actors.



Week 5: New Capabilities


Drones Vs. Democracy

When war no longer comes with a political risk, what does that mean for democracy? Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution considers how drones make war an easy decision, one that is increasingly not being scrutinized.

Live Chat

New Capabilities

Peter Singer and Jennifer Welsh discuss the ethics of drone warfare live with Philippe Lagassé. Tuesday, May 29 at 4:00pm edt.


The Cost of Drones

Military drones are often seen as an easy, cost-effective way to fight a war. Not so, says Oxford’s Jennifer Welsh. The price of using drones for a liberal democracy is very high indeed.



A Drone Field Guide

Get to know to various species of unmanned aerial vehicles, both those in the skies over war zones and closer to home.



Week 6: Militarization of Aid


Between Co-operation and Co-optation

The “humanitarian space” is increasingly becoming another military theatre. Jennifer Salahub of the North-South Institute on how aid agencies must adapt to maintain their neutrality.

Live Chat

The Militarization of Aid

Retired Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie chats with Philippe Lagassé about the militarization of aid. Friday, June 8 at 2:30pm edt.


Whither Humanitarian Space?

The integration of militaries and humanitarian actors in Afghanistan came at a cost explain Taylor Owen and Emily Paddon.




Week 7: The Security Critique


Building A New Internationalism

War, some would have you believe, is inevitable and internationalism is obsolete. Not so argues Noah Richler. In fact, there has never been a better time to consider our Pearsonian ideals.

Live Chat

The New Warfare

Brown University’s James Der Derian and author Noah Richler talk warfare and security in a changing world with Philippe Lagassé. Thursday, June 14 at 4:00pm edt.


The “Virtuous” War

War is now being promoted as bloodless, humanitarian, and hygienic. But the idea of a “virtuous war” is an oxymoron argues Brown University’s James Der Derian.