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