The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Canada vs Denmark -- Serious business?
Canada and Denmark are having a spat over some tiny lump of rock and ice in the Far North. Now you have a choice to make:
(A) I live in a transnational post-colonial utopia where nation states are an obsolete idea fading away in the face of socially progressive post-democratic organizations like the EU and the UN. The controvery over Hans Island is amusing, will of course be resolved through negotiation, and allow me to indulge in mental exercises that highlight how useless a military is in this enlightened environment.
If this is you, go here.
(B) I live in a world where nation-states vie for advantage, and where challenges to territorial integrity must me met with a vigorous response. Weakness draws the attention of the strong and the bold. The controvery over Hans Island is serious business, sending signals to all Arctic powers concerning Canada's capacity, and more importantly Canada's willingness, to exercise more than a nominal control over the North.
If this is you, go here.
Or read both pieces and leave a comment.
Posted by Steve Janke on July 27, 2005 | Permalink
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Canada vs Denmark -- Serious business?:
This whole "dispute" has been exaggerated beyond belief. This is really a minor disagreement that will be resolved without fanfare.
But when it comes down to it, it's little to get excited about. The "opposition" - Denmark, which probably has a stronger claim - is a country with whom only the best relations have existed. It is pointless bantering. Besides, if Denmark wanted to, they could defeat Canada with ease.
The corporations who own Ontario, the Liberal Party and control the NDP are playing the media to rouse public support. They're trying to show how patriotic they are. For those of us who have less money than brains, their actions are obvious and shameless.
This reminds me of the "dispute" with Spain and Portugal in the early 90s over fish. That was completely stupid and the people of Ontario and their corporate masters should be ashamed of themselves for being so belligerent. And Carolyn "The Racist" Parrish has the audacity to accuse others of being war-mongers. You Ontarians are so f-ing stupid!
Thank God I am Albertan, where we know who our friends (the USA) and enemies (Canada) are.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-07-27 4:40:39 AM
Even as a leper from Ontario I must agree with Scott on this one.
I’ve been married to a Dane for 20 years and never won a battle yet. So I recommend that the military simply surrender its Sea Kings. This would also keep us in compliance with the wishes of Pariahish, Mississauga’s geopolitical and visionary MP who is also the PM’s “independent” consultant to our military commanders.
The Sea Kings are no match for the battle hardened Danes that signed up with the Coalition of Willing and contributed a submarine to the Iraqi operation. I’ve never been able to figure out how that submarine got to Baghdad. But Bush didn’t care because Denmark showed moral support that counts and now the Prime Minister of Denmark gets regular private meetings in the Oval Office where they smoke herring together. While our PM gets delays on beef and lumber.
The bottom line is: the Danes are simply more sovereign then neo-colonial Ottawa that defers to whatever France and Ch’Iraq think. The best we can do is offer EDC financing to the Danes to help them buy Bombardier equipment and drill oil for us on Hans Island.
Posted by: nomdenet | 2005-07-27 6:19:25 AM
Now only if we could get France to claim Quebec.
Posted by: michael shannon | 2005-07-27 8:21:14 AM
I doubt this would have happened to a pre trudeaupian Canada we are weak and they know it.
If the danes get control would the inhabitants have access to one tier health care waiting lists, government housing, welfare rights, multiculturalism and bilingualism. You know the things that make us Canadian!
If so whats the big deal the island would in effect be Canadian.
It reminds me of a book I once perused in a bookstore on how successful non violent confrontations could be. They had a whole series of such confrontations against the Nazis in occupied europe in WWII. Only problem was they all took place when there were weeks left in the war and everyone knew hitler was week. The danes had a strike too in april or may 1945 can you imagine them doing it in 1943/42...
Could it be word has gotten out that the nation that gave the german army their black day in WWI and carried operation totalize in WWII is now weak?
Posted by: ghollingshead | 2005-07-27 12:16:25 PM
Trouble with the Danes? Tell me about it!
I've got one word for you: Danegeld.
Posted by: Æthelred the Unready | 2005-07-27 2:00:44 PM
Two very interesting articles:
CP 27/7: "Internal report says Arctic exercise revealed flaws in military operations"
Washington Times 12/6: "Northwest Passage redux"
The real issue is the maritime passage question, not who owns the land itself (Hans aside). Canadian land is not claimed and could only be threatened in any event by 1) the US and 2) Russia.
Against the US we are powerless. The US will protect us, in any foreseeable future, from the Russians. So we do not need any major army presence.
What we do need is effective surveillance, aerial (UAVs?) and satellite. That really is not terribly expensive.
But in the long run, if the maritime passage issue truly becomes relevant as a result of the ice pack receding, nothing naval we can realistically do will settle it in our favour. The issue will be settled by negotiation and/or international judicial arbitration. Which we well might lose--the various sea passage in the Indonesian archepelogo would be a relevant precedent and are considered international waters.
Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-07-27 2:58:57 PM
Mark: why should the Arctic be patrolled? While I agree the costs are not great, but I disagree in that there is a requirement to monitor what is basically uninhabitable territory of use to no one (except the Cdn gov' so they can say that they are the 2nd biggest country on Earth).
Save the money and use it elsewhere - like Medicare. In fact, get rid of the whole military. There's no longer any need for one except for internal security.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-07-27 4:02:26 PM
The Hans Island project isn't about Hans Island. It's a pogey scheme for civil service bureaucrats and their sycophants in the public-sector media-scam industry.
Posted by: Tony | 2005-07-27 5:00:17 PM
On 2005-04-17 Queen Margrethe II of Denmark said: "We are being challenged by Islam these years - globally as well as locally. It is a challenge we have to take seriously. We have let this issue float about for too long because we are tolerant and lazy. We have to show our opposition to Islam and we have to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on us because there are some things for which we should display no tolerance. And when we are tolerant, we must know whether it is because of convenience or conviction."
Considering the spinelessness of the Liberal government of Canada, and the media and police-force walls they have built to prevent the CPC from ever forming a government, perhaps we simple meritocratic unelite citizens would be better off if we gave the whole country to Denmark.
Posted by: Tony | 2005-07-27 5:12:54 PM
Scott: There are moments when I agree with you. I am of an age that still has--the increasingly nonsensical--idea that Canada could intelligently (note that word) do useful and maybe good things in and for the world.
Save the money indeed but then reduce taxes and let citizens buy supplemental private health care.
But in the end I think the idea of the country as an entity is increasingly itself nonsense. Let parts that wish go their own way; some may be able to play a useful, though very limited, international role. Sort of like Danish troops in Iraq.
And ice-hardened naval ships for Hans.
Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-07-27 5:47:14 PM
Mark: capital idea!
Alberta can send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, while Tronna can spend billions on some worthless rock in the high Arctic. We reap the glory of helping people in need while battling the enemies of evil, while the rich get, well, uh, something not worth the effort.
That's the difference between Albertans and Canadians. Albertans prefer substance over image, while Canadians/Ontarians would kill each other for the image. It comes from Ontario having rich, easy, carefree lives.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-07-27 9:16:11 PM
Oh the humanity!
Talk about a storm in a glass of water. As a dane i can honestly say that i could not honestly care less about a useless piece of rock. If you buy me a beer and some herring on rye-bread you can have it.
"Only problem was they all took place when there were weeks left in the war and everyone knew hitler was week. The danes had a strike too in april or may 1945 can you imagine them doing it in 1943/42.."
Well, no. The danish strike "folkestrejken" was in june-july 1944, not in the spring of 1945. It is true that the danish goverment and people for the most part collaborated with the germans and that the danish resistance was comparitativly late and small. But at least check your facts. Besides, the lackluster danish resistance to the german invasion on the 9th of april(very peaceful (9 dead soldier) very fast (24 hours) was due to the futility of fighting with little chance of british/french reinforcements and no nordic alliance. A nordic alliance (which had to include sweden9 would have give a point to a more vigorous danish defence in order to prevent a invasion of norway. But in an envioment where german defeat was unlikely and, after the fall of France, a britsh-german peace was deemed likely, this attituted was if not at all heroic then understandable (imho).
Posted by: Tomas | 2005-07-29 9:31:45 AM
Are you not Canadian? Do you have no pride in country? You should support Canada and not the US. That is why we are our own country.
I,m Albertan and I don't agree with you at all. Canada should play a more active role in the world.
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-25 8:33:05 PM
The Canadian response is intended to prevent a situation similar to that which led to the Falklands War. The British left the impression that the Falklands did not matter that much through defense cuts and their public posture. This led to the Argentinean invasion in 1982, and the weeks-long war. The British now maintain a very strong presence in the Falklands as a result. This exercise is intended to show that the financial problems the Canadian military has suffered recently will not prevent Canada from defending its territory. This dispute will not likely result in war, but it will be interesting to see how Denmark responds
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-25 8:36:23 PM
"Scott, Are you not Canadian?"
I am Albertan and North American. Please do not use that word synonymous with racism, apartheid and privilege around me.
"Do you have no pride in country? You should support Canada and not the US. That is why we are our own country."
I support America because America supports Alberta. Canada is Alberta's enemy, as proven by the NEP and Kyoto. Alberta means nothing to the rich bigots from Tronna.
"I,m Albertan and I don't agree with you at all. Canada should play a more active role in the world."
Then why don't you move to Canada - aka Tronna - and never come back.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-11-25 9:00:28 PM
Why would two countries fight against each other for a small uninhabited barren knoll measuring 1.3 square kilometers? Because it's right in the middle of what may become a major naval route, the 21st century equivalent of Gibraltar or Panama
Are you suggesting that Alberta secede from Canada. You might say you are from Alberta but you sound like you are from Quebec.
P.S. Canadian is not a racist term at all.
P.S.S. why don't you move to the US
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-27 2:58:40 PM
"Why would two countries fight against each other for a small uninhabited barren knoll measuring 1.3 square kilometers? Because it's right in the middle of what may become a major naval route, the 21st century equivalent of Gibraltar or Panama"
Oh that is very funny. There is no way to compare the Davis Strait with Gibraltar or Panama because it is not a choke point between two strategic areas. It is merely a passage between an impassable ocean, and a sea that borders unimportant territory. Besides, the only vessels than can operate in that area are nuclear submarines, which can easily bypass it.
Any argument defending the "strategic importance" of Hans Island is absolutely pathetic. The only strategic interest at stake here is the survival of the Liberal Organized Crime Syndicate, and it must be destroyed without delay or mercy.
It makes no sense to pick a fight with a country that has always been friendly and cooperative. The mentality behind this is eeriely reminiscient of Hitler's "breathing-space" idea of having someone to push around to make your country feel important. Stop this madness immediately. First, it is humiliating for a country that says it is peaceful to engage in such activities. Second, Denmark could kick your asses so bad!
Alberta wants no part of Ontario's incompetence, stupidity, racism and greed. We have a hard enough time keeping those rich bastards off our backs. If secession is what has to be done to keep what we have, then so be it. It is 100% Ontario's fault.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-11-27 5:32:29 PM
The idea that Alberta secede from Canada is ridiculous. Then what Alberta do become its own country? Join the US, I sure hope not.
Canada could greatly benefit from contoling Hans Island. Like settig up a monitoring station to monitor subs or other illegal traffic passing through Canadian water illegaly. Like Russian or American nuclear submarines. Then Canada could charge fees for using this route. Canada should play a more dominate role in patrolling the artic(it is are backyard).
But it could also be used for peaceful puproses like a ice or weather station.
I do agree with you that the way Canada invaded Hans Island was wrong. We should have stated our puprose for being there and I bet Denmark would have let us use it.
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-27 6:25:02 PM
An open Northwest Passage would cut 5,000 nautical miles from shipping routes between Europe and Asia. That would be particularly enticing for massive supertankers that are forced to plow around the tip of South America because they are too big to pass through the Panama Canal.
Canada considers the Northwest Passage its internal waters, but the United States insists it is an international strait. Hence the monitoring station.
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-27 6:32:20 PM
Since Canada's means to monitor, enforce and protect the Arctic is non-existant at best, there is little point in enforcing the unenforceable. No means exist to deter submarines from transiting the area. The potential for environmental catastrophe by letting those supertankers through the Arctic is enormous, enough to consider preventing them (not a serious concern anyway as the passage is impassible).
"A dominant role in the Arctic?" Fantasy!! The US and Russia dominate the Arctic and will continue to do so in the future. You Canadians can help out if you're good. Why don't you people learn to be happy with what you have?
The only thing Canada should do in the Arctic is provide search and rescue. The rise in trans-polar air travel makes this essential. The idea that the US, Russia, or Denmark will take an island or two if you turn your backs for a second is incredible at best and pathetic at worst. There are other more important issues at stake.
No wonder your country is such a mess. It makes Alberta's problems seem tame by comparison. Better that you kick the Danes around than Alberta, though I am sure Canada hasnt forgotten about us. Pathetic. Better to be a state than a whipping boy/bank account.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-11-27 7:03:22 PM
Since Canada's means to monitor, enforce and protect the Arctic is non-existant at best, there is little point in enforcing the unenforceable. No means exist to deter submarines from transiting the area.
Maybe so but you cannot denie that the Northwest passage is clearly within Canadian water and US and Russian subs passing through is a clear violation of international law. Nuclear subs passing through is no more of an environmental danger than a super tanker with a reinforced icebreaking hull.
Ageed Canada should play a dominant role in search and rescue because it is our airspace and seas. But you will also need Canadian ships stationed in the arctic to help enforce Canadian laws.
Also having other nations (Russia and the US) patrolling our borders is a threat to national security seeing that the will not look out for Canadian interests or enforce Canadian laws.
Canada needs to start taking actio on defendin its borders from intrusions from other nations.
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-27 7:24:08 PM
"Ageed Canada should play a dominant role in search and rescue because it is our airspace and seas. But you will also need Canadian ships stationed in the arctic to help enforce Canadian laws."
The thing is you can't station ships in Arctic waters for long periods of time without them becoming mired. Submarines and aircraft are the only ways, and both have limitations. I argue that there is no need for either except in a search and rescue role.
"Also having other nations (Russia and the US) patrolling our borders is a threat to national security seeing that the will not look out for Canadian interests or enforce Canadian laws."
But the US is an ally of Canada, meaning the two have common interests. They are most certainly looked after. As for laws, yes they must be enforced but if the means do not exist, then another arrangement must be found. Unless the already overburderned taxpayer is ready to support such means, those waterways (more like ice-ways) will have to be internationalized. A good example is the Rhine River, which has been jointly governed by France and Germany since 1816. The US, Canada and Denmark can do it together, and Canada could bear the burdens.
"Canada needs to start taking actio on defendin its borders from intrusions from other nations."
Fantasy. Your "country" can't afford the means. No one can. Above all, there's no need to because the only countries involved are friendly. Work out a joint agreement - not only will it cost far less than a fleet of nuclear subs, patrol aircraft and sensors, but it would actually work.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-11-27 9:58:03 PM
True ships can't be stationed in th arctic for long periods of time. but there is a real need for more aircraft in the arctic for recon and rescue.
Just because the US is a ally of Canada does not mean that they share the same interests. Take the war in Iraq are you suggesting Canada get involed in that mess?
Oh yes, the Rhine which has been jointly governed by France and Germany since 1816. Expect for two world wars and countless other wars, that has worked great.
Russia and the US might be friendly nations but that still does not give them the right to trespass in Canadian waters. You are also assuming that all the countries involved (US, Russia, and Denmark) would sign a treaty. And that treaty would in no way benifit Canada. Those countries would never sign away thier right to the Northwest passage.
Which is why we need Hans Island.
Alberta is part of Canada. I was born in Alberta.
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-28 7:20:04 PM
Sooooo let me get this strait - heh! Little joke.
All you're after is bragging rights by getting the US and Russia to say they will respect Canadian territorial waters, even though policing that rule is up to them because Canada doesn't have the means to do it themselves. Pathetic.
Funny how Hans Island is more important to the Ontarians and the corporate government than Alberta is. Here's my solution: let Denmark take Hans Island (it's theirs anyway) and let Alberta secede and take its fate into its own hands. Everyone then will be happy.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-11-28 7:35:51 PM
Not just bragging rights but Canada should start taking over policing it slowly. like start trading American ships for Canadian ships. I'm sure the need some where else, so many third world nations just waiting to be invaded. I'm sure Russia would like to be relieved of the job thats valuable scrap floating around out there.
And as for Denmark they should just leave they have no reason to be there. They really dont care about Greenland at all. Go ahead ask a Dane what the captial of Greenland is?
Alberta will always be part of Canada no matter what you say.
Posted by: Alex | 2005-11-28 8:06:47 PM
Just been to Denmark and by accident(hangover) got to inspect a Danish bunker of mass destruction that they to confuse the enemy call a Viking Museum, and must say that they have plenty of weapons that they haven’t informed the general public about nor Nato about.
The "tour guide" aka "weapon inspector" proudly informed our recon team (masked as tourists) that they presumed that there was more than 20.000 weapons from the Viking age in forms of spears, pickaxes and other weapons still in the soil or various museums around the Kingdom of Denmark.
We would surely loose out to them if it came to a battle.
Posted by: Dave | 2006-11-01 11:02:04 PM
okey some one said that canada couldn't help fight the iraq war bu did you guys forget that canada had twenty warships protecting the american fleet and as far as arms go the the usa is using c7 lav3's and canadian misile teck in iraq so don't try to say canada couldn't help in iraq in fact we have 4000 troops in aphganistan training for the war with denmark
Posted by: john morton | 2007-04-15 10:14:07 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.