COVID did to countries what it did to people: reveal pre-existing conditions.
Stephen Saideman / @smsaideman
Paterson Chair in International Affairs, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs
Paterson Chair in International Affairs, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs
Stephen Saideman holds the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He has written four books: The Ties That Divide: Ethnic Politics, Foreign Policy and International Conflict; For Kin or Country: Xenophobia, Nationalism and War (with R. William Ayres); NATO in Afghanistan: Fighting Together, Fighting Alone (with David Auerswald); and Adapting in the Dust: Lessons Learned from Canada’s War in Afghanistan, as well as articles and chapters on nationalism, ethnic conflict, civil war, alliance dynamics, and civil-military relations. Saideman has received fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations and the Social Sciences Research Council. The former placed on the Bosnia desk of the Strategic Planning and Policy Directorate of U.S. Joint Staff for a year, and the latter facilitated research in Japan. He taught previously at the University of Vermont, Texas Tech University,] and at McGill University. He writes online for Open Canada, Political Violence at a Glance, Duck of Minerva and his own site (saideman.blogspot.com). He has won two awards for teaching, one for mentoring other faculty, one for public engagement and two for his blogging on international studies. He is currently working on the role of legislatures in civil-military relations. Prof. Saideman is Director of the Canadian Defence and Security Network and a co-host of the Battle Rhythm podcast.
Most Recent Posts
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer laid out his foreign policy approach on Tuesday. Steve Saideman breaks down the speech, from Scheer’s views on China, Iran and Israel to his omission of US tariffs and climate change.
From the diversity of its scholars to the most desirable schools, the field has not changed much in recent years, writes Steve Saideman, as he looks at the results of a recent survey.
If the new budget touches on defence, it must consider increasing the number of staff and calibre of experts that take care of procuring
military equipment, argues Steve Saideman.
After a long consultation process, the Canadian Defence Policy Review
arrived Wednesday. Will the $62 billion pledged be enough to cover the new initiatives
Harjit Sajjan is pitching?
If the Canadian Armed Forces feel betrayed by Sajjan, it is because they wrongly thought the defence minister should be an
ally. As Steve Saideman writes, he shouldn’t be.
Within international relations, individual characteristics of leaders are often downplayed in favour of systemic explanations. Does the election of Donald Trump reveal a blind spot in the science of politics?
The Liberals’ announcement to postpone the decision on Canada’s aging fighter jets by five years smacks of the “non-decisions” made by the previous Conservative government, argues Steve Saideman.
Four ministers promised new funding and
troops for peace operations in Africa last week. Was it an announcement or a placeholder? Steve Saideman unpacks their
In the lead up to the Canadian government’s defence review,
Steve Saideman lists three lessons learned in Afghanistan: honesty should trump
optimism; sometimes we must admit when more resources are needed; and a war
cannot be won with force alone.
From consulting NATO to weighing the cost of
personnel, defence expert Steve Saideman lists key considerations.
Ottawa-based Steve Saideman raises several questions around the
now-launched defence review, from how binding it will be to whether the right
experts on military issues will be consulted in the process.
Following the announcement to pull Canada’s CF-18s from Syria and Iraq, Steve Saideman offers answers to six frequently asked questions on the next stage of Canada’s battle against ISIS.
Canada’s contribution to the anti-ISIS campaign was always going to be
small, so is being left out a sign of strained relations with the U.S.?
The widely shared photos and videos of Syrian refugees welcomed into Canada over the weekend are a win not just for Trudeau and not just for Canada, but for the larger campaign against ISIS.
When considering membership into NATO, how much
does a potential new member bring to the table versus take off of it?
An excerpt from this year’s edition of Canada Among Nations, which launches this week.
In this final edition, Steve Saideman imagines a new platform for the Conservatives. The last but “hardest to write,” he says.
Steve Saideman imagines a new platform for the New Democratic Party: ‘We can and should cut the size of the Canadian Forces.’
Steve Saideman creates what he thinks should be the defence platforms of all three major parties. This week, the Liberals.
Steve Saideman looks at how the two positions differ, and what the two new appointees, U.S. Marine General Joe Dunford and Canadian Army General Jon Vance, have in common.
Political hurdles hold NATO back — how convenient for Russian tactics.
The decision to join the international mission to train Ukrainian troops was probably inevitable, argues Steve Saideman.
It won’t be Kandahar II, but there are practical and legal reasons why Iraq makes for an easier military choice than Syria. By Steve Saideman
The government is trying to minimize, instead of mitigate, the risks in Iraq. But accidents are not unlikely.
The top 10 IR programs in Canada for undergraduates, master’s, and PhDs.
Steve Saideman looks at what exactly are our soldiers are doing in Iraq.
The mission, now 13 years running, has a new name but it is far from over, says Steve Saideman.
The math is inescapable. Cutting public servants means less work will be done, argues Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman on who is calling the shots in the coalition against ISIS.
To confront Putin, we need consensus. And when the politics are so different, consensus is mighty hard to achieve, says Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman on what the poppy has come to mean for him.
What does ‘success’ of the mission look like? Is there a chance of mission creep? Steve Saideman fills in the blanks.
Commentary should be cautious when assigning responsibility for attacks, says Steve Saideman.
The Harper government has made message management a key priority. So why are they so bad at it, wonders Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman parses the politics of Canada’s Mideast mission.
When the Conservatives cut military spending, what is the pro-military crowd to do? By Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman on why the referendum will have little effect on separatist movements elsewhere.
Is this an R2P mission? Are party members taking the debate seriously? Should there be a vote? By Steve Saideman.
That NATO could not come up with a more fully realized Rapid Reaction Force does not speak well of the alliance, says Steve Saideman.
With the Rapid Reaction Force initiative, is NATO confusing hope with a plan? By Steve Saideman.
NATO might be slow, flawed and possibly broken, but it’s still the best form of multilateral military cooperation we have, says Steve Saideman.
Stephen Saideman looks at why Canada is getting involved with a country it avoided for so long.
Effective government is both powerful and restrained in the use of power, says Steve Saideman. But as recent events show, it is easier said than done.
The world is more stable now than ever before, and we have the two world wars to thank, argues Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman on the recent Dutch court ruling that Dutch peacekeepers were partially responsible for the Srebrenica massacre.
As Russia seemingly pulls back from assisting Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, Steve Saideman considers the outcome for all sides.
Steve Saideman reflects on the current standing of the United States in the world.
Steve Saideman on the Canadian government’s track record of eschewing consultation on important decisions.
To enlarge or not to enlarge? What to do about Russia and Putin? Should NATO look beyond Europe? Steve Saideman on some of big questions facing the alliance.
There are always tensions between civilian and military leaders, says Steve Saideman. The question is how to manage them.
The criticism of the prisoner exchange with the Taliban has more to do with politics than practicalities, says Steve Saideman.
Canada’s defence procurement policy will keep us committed to NATO for the next 30 plus years, and that’s a good thing, says Steve Saideman.
As Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya demonstrate, regime-change is one thing. State-building is quite another. By Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman lists the pros and cons of a “buy Canadian” military procurement policy.
Canada’s geography and stability make it secure. That security has allowed politicians to duck the hard choices needed to modernize its military.
After the Second World War, the West and the Soviet Union agreed to not use force to change boundaries. Could that agreement be resurrected to dissuade Russia of further encroachment in Ukraine?
The six CF-18s Canada is sending to Eastern Europe is both an ordinary and remarkable contribution, says Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman parses the meaning of the PQ’s defeat in the Quebec election.
The standoff between Ukraine and Russia isn’t giving NATO a new sense of purpose, says Steve Saideman. The alliance has been busy since the Cold War.
Despite recent cuts, NATO is still a formidable military force, especially when compared to Russia, says Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman on why it’s unlikely Russia will annex more territory in Eastern Ukraine.
We already knew that Russia will game the referendum on Crimean independence. Steve Saideman considers why.
There are simply very few policy options on the table for the U.S. and NATO, argues Steve Saideman.
When you can’t afford the military you want, you need to make hard choices to sustain the military you have, says Steve Saideman.
The Olympics are supposed to be about overcoming differences among countries. They’re really about building nationalism.
Buying military equipment from Canadian suppliers won’t help the Canadian Forces modernize, argues Steve Saideman. It will just cost more.
How do we possibly make sense of Karzai? The short answer is we can’t, says Steve Saideman.
Was the Afghanistan mission worth it? It’s a complex question, but one that needs to be asked, argues Steve Saideman.
The U.S. has great power, but the outcomes of projecting that power aren’t always so great, says Steve Saideman.
2014 marks 100 years since WWI, which means many people will be applying lessons from 1914 to today. Don’t listen to them says Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman tries to guess what is on Canada’s wish list.
If scholars want to influence politicians, they need to offer solutions that align with the interests of those politicians, argues Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman responds to the notion that, under the right circumstances, militaries can push countries into war.
The Harper government’s knee-jerk criticism of the nuclear deal with Iran is highly irresponsible says Steve Saideman. Fortunately, nobody else cares.
Steve Saideman on the politics of making personnel cuts to the Canadian Forces.
Steve Saideman on the most important lesson we should remember about the war in Afghanistan.
Whenever a referendum is held, the outcome can be reinterpreted by separatists and federalists to reinforce their respective beliefs, argues Steve Saideman.
Which Halloween costume best reflects Canada’s year? Steve Saideman considers the possibilities.
Steve Saideman on why concluding the CETA is a big deal, but not because Canada is the “first” of the G8 countries to seal a free trade deal with the EU.
There’s one big problem with the Department of National Defence’s effort to articulate strategic clarity argues Steve Saideman – the Harper government.
The ritual argument that Canada should merge with the U.S. relies on an even less-believable dystopian future than the Hunger Games, argues Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman on why it’s true the UN is only as good as its members, but that doesn’t mean its structure doesn’t shape how those members interact.
Steve Saideman on why Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fear mongering is nothing to be afraid of.
Steve Saideman reflects on the trajectory of American foreign policy in the twelve years since the 9/11 attacks.
You’re not alone. Steve Saideman on some of the more baffling elements of the debate over intervention in Syria.
Steve Saideman on the very limited options the West has for dealing with Syria.
Steve Saideman on why Canada isn’t free riding on American defence efforts – it’s just a relatively quiet partner.
Steve Saideman on what Canada can expect if it pursues defence “industrial policy”.
Steve Saideman on why seriously examining the tradeoffs and costs involved in intervening in Syria is a good thing.
Steve Saideman has a few suggestions for Rob Nicholson to focus on in his new position.
Steve Saideman on why Peter MacKay should be shuffled out of the cabinet and into the office of NATO Secretary General.
On this July 4th, Steve Saideman reflects on the United States that elected Obama and invaded Iraq.
Steve Saideman worries that with the proliferation of media sources comes more distracting noise and fewer real insights.
Ask not ‘Why Kandahar’, ask ‘Why we thought the soldiers we sent were enough to do the job’ says Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman on why Afghanistan was the best of times for Canadian civil-military relations.
Political scientists are in the thick of public debates, not sitting on the sidelines, argues Stephen Saideman.
Steve Saideman on why the Conservative government’s decision to refuse a Canadian Forces cutback isn’t pro-military.
Steve Saideman on Kenneth Waltz, the most influential scholar of international relations of the past 50 years.
Steve Saideman on the great power and even greater responsibilities that rebuilding Syria will involve.
Steve Saideman on who is to blame for the culture of corruption in Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai? The CIA? The warlords?
Steve Saideman considers how one should feel after the events of this last week. Fearful of terrorism? Thankful to the authorities? Ambivalent?
Steve Saideman on the two things we can focus on in the face of tragedies like the attack in Boston: inevitability and resiliency.
Steve Saideman argues that focusing only on national armies in conflict-ridden states promotes bias against foreign troop training.
Steve Saideman on what possible reason the Harper government could have for pulling out of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
As western militaries leave Afghanistan, what will happen to their prisoners? Steve Saideman considers the various (bad) options.
Steve Saideman on why the decision to invade Iraq was a bad one, but not the worst.
Steve Saideman on why NATO is still a good deal for Canada, even if we don’t always need what we pay for.
Steve Saideman on what NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan and Libya can teach us about sharing the military burden as defence budgets shrink.
Steve Saideman on why neither Canadian domestic policy nor Canadian-U.S. relations begin and end with the Keystone pipeline.
Steve Saideman on how spending decisions may dictate the makeup of the Canadian Forces.
Steve Saideman on the foreign policy promises and exaggerations Obama made last night in the State of the Union Address.
Steve Saideman on the dysfunction of both the Canadian Parliament and the U.S. Congress when it comes to proper accountability.
Steve Saideman on why NATO continues to endure, despite endless predictions of its imminent collapse.
Steve Saideman considers the parliamentary politics behind the Mali mission as the Conservatives reach out for support from the NDP.
Steve Saideman asks, if Canada sends just one non-combat plane to provide logistical support outside of the fighting areas in Mali, is it at war?
Steve Saideman on the culture of denial that seems to permeate the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence.
Glen McGregor is wrong to say that journalists should stop quoting academics argues Steve Saideman. The two groups can help each other.
Steve Saideman considers the different gun cultures in Canada and the U.S. in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown.
Steve Saideman on why governments need to recognize that military procurement is all about trade-offs.
Steve Saideman on whether or not the future of the Royal Canadian Air Force includes the F-35.
Steve Saideman on why the government doesn’t always listen to academics, even when people in government want to.
Steve Saideman on why the gap between academics and policy-makers is steadily shrinking (but not altogether gone).
Steve Saideman on why Canadians should be thankful this year – even on American Thanksgiving.
Steve Saideman on why COIN should continue, even if Petraeus’s career doesn’t.
Steve Saideman on why the new chief of the Canadian defence staff is behaving just like his predecessor.
Steve Saideman on why Canadians should be happy their country wasn’t mentioned in the debate.
The opposition should limit their criticisms of defence policy to real problems says Steve Saideman.
Just because Syria attacks Turkey doesn’t mean NATO needs to intervene says Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman considers what Rajiv Chandrasekaran got right about Afghanistan and what he got wrong.
Just because you have power doesn’t mean you have control says Steve Saideman.
The military procurement process is defective in both Canada and the U.S. says Steve Saideman.
Foreign policy is often an afterthought during U.S. elections. Romney has not tried to change that.
Steve Saideman on what the choice of Lt.-Gen. Lawson as CDS tells us about the government’s priorities.
Saideman follows the Afghan blame-game & responds to accusations from new book, Little America.
It’s easy to point the finger of blame for the mistakes made in Afghanistan says Steve Saideman.
The Olympics are one more stage for Greece and Macedonia to argue about the latter’s name.
There is plenty of deception in IR. But there are also genuine truths says Steve Saideman.
Of course there is duplicity in IR. But there is also uncertainty, and it is easy to confuse the two.
We aren’t going to stamp out all corruption in Afghanistan. But it can try to reduce it says Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman considers the state of U.S. foreign policy.
Steve Saideman reflects on career changes and the intersection of academia and policy.
People can be sadly ignorant about who their real friends are laments Steve Saideman.
Why the student protest should not be compared to the Arab Spring.
Soldiers will almost always face violence, even when deployed as peacekeepers.
Steve Saideman on the empty promises made at NATO’s Chicago Summit.
Steve Saideman assesses the relationship.
Steve Saideman considers the hard choices before the Canadian military.
Steve Saideman considers the future of Canadian foreign policy.
In Afghanistan, the military made good decisions without Ottawa’s okay. Steve Saideman on what this means.
Don’t blame Canada for what went wrong argues Steve Saideman.
Steve Saideman isn’t holding out much hope for a quick peaceful resolution in Syria.
The F-35 debacle points to a key problem in the Canadian military: lack of expertise.
Steve Saideman explains why having one military for many countries is just unrealistic.
17 Afghans killed, and all we care about is Robert Bales. Steve Saideman on media bias.
Steve Saideman on why we should resist drawing larger conclusions.
Who is to blame? Steve Saideman points fingers.
We can’t afford to do everything. Trade-offs need to be made.