Jones: Should Canada’s military support the intervention in Mali?

By: /
16 January, 2013
By: Bruce Jones
Director and Senior Fellow of the NYU Center on International Cooperation

Yes. What’s happening in Mali affects Canada in two main ways. First, territorial gains by Al Qaeda affiliated groups pose a direct security threat to a key European ally, France, and to western interests more generally. (Ask Robert Fowler if there’s any doubt on that score.) Second, the combination of direct support to the state, diplomatic, and military, through regional organizations and the UN, alongside a robust counter-terrorism operation, is emerging as an important new model for containing large-scale zones of instability with terrorist threats – a similar model is unfolding in Somalia now, and a variant of this will be the way Afghanistan is managed after the bulk of U.S. forces leave in 2014. If Canada wants to shape how such operations work, it helps to get in on the ground floor. Oh, and this: there’s a well-meaning government and a large civilian population at risk.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter