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Author Blaxland, John C
Title Strategic cousins: Canada, Australia and their use of expeditionary forces from the Boer War to the War on Terror
book jacket
Descript 587 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-02, Section: A, page: 0652
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Royal Military College of Canada (Canada), 2004
This work provides a challenging reassessment of the roles of the Australian and Canadian armed forces, using as a benchmark each other's historical experiences with expeditionary land forces from the Boer War to the War on Terror. Australia and Canada, after all, are remarkably comparable Western, secular and democratic nations that have been key military partners to Britain and the United States for over a century. Today, Canada and Australia have small but highly professional forces. The paper suggests that closer collaboration could increase their diplomatic and military clout in a way that benefits them both as well as their key allies. After all, when they work together these two middle powers are of European great-power proportions
This view is substantiated by examining Canada's and Australia's military histories in parallel, using secondary source material as the basis for analysis. Canada's and Australia's different defence and security emphases reflect contrasting geo-strategic and domestic political circumstances. But the common ties and interests led their forces repeatedly to work together in the Boer War, in World Wars I and II, and in Korea, and since then in support of the United Nations and the United States. Their armed forces have retained enduring parallels, although they partly diverged in the mid-twentieth century, when Canada emphasised Atlantic alliance commitments and peacekeeping, while Australia focused more on South-east Asia, warfighting and self-reliance. At times, they have chosen divergent courses: Canada led the seminal peacekeeping force to Suez in 1956 and Australia sent combat forces to Vietnam from 1962 to 1972. Yet after the Cold War, their paths largely re-converged, with both contributing forces to the Gulf, Western Sahara, Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, East Timor and Afghanistan, although Canada did not participate in the war in Iraq in 2003, preferring to commit additional troops to troubled Afghanistan. Time and again, they have made expeditionary force contributions alongside their major allies, successively Britain and the United States, and frequently in the same locations
Individually, their tactical contributions at times have been militarily peripheral. But even a superpower relies on multi-lateral support, and their combined contribution, on occasion, has been politically and militarily significant. For instance, together they inflicted the 'black day of the German Army' at Amiens in 1918, which helped them gain a 'seat at the table' at Versailles in 1919. In Korea, in 1951, together they won the battle of Kapyong, and the ANZUS alliance was signed shortly afterwards. Such combined military feats point to the synergy gained by working together. This study also points to a series of missed opportunities to collaborate that may have provided increased military and diplomatic leverage over the past century. Ironically, Australia's self-reliance and peacekeeping capability, demonstrated in East Timor in 1999, seems more in line with declared Canadian foreign policy priorities of distinctiveness and peacekeeping. Still, like 'strategic cousins', Canada and Australia continue to support international institutions and alliances; having contributed similar peacekeeping and warfighting expeditionary forces for more than a century, while hardly recognising each other along the way. Clearly, differences remain that may hinder closer military co-operation between Australia and Canada, but the contrasts belie the similarities. Despite the differences, their land forces, if not all three services, have more in common than virtually any others; which suggests that in the twenty-first century's 'global village', significant benefits may be gained from working more closely together, out of enlightened self-interest
School code: 1103
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 65-02A
Subject History, Asia, Australia and Oceania
History, Canadian
Political Science, International Law and Relations
Alt Author Royal Military College of Canada (Canada)
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