Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

By Richard Martin

1st Falsehood: Russia has legitimate security concerns about its borders and NATO encroachment. Wrong! Russia would have less security concerns if it weren’t constantly threatening, badgering, or bullying its neighbours.

Highly detailed physical map of Russia,in vector format,with all the relief forms,regions and big cities. (c) bogdanserban

2nd Falsehood: The United States/West/NATO caused this crisis by wanting to expand to Russia’s borders, thus threatening the latter. Wrong! The reason NATO has expanded since the end of the Cold War is that Russia’s neighbours felt, and continue to feel, threatened by Russian aggression and expansion.

3rd Falsehood: The Russians are just like us; they want freedom and democracy with a free market system. Wrong! There is little or no evidence to support this assertion, at least since the end of the Cold War. There have been attempts at economic and political reform, but the Russian people have remained relatively quiescent and followed the official ideology and worldview.

4th Falsehood: Ukrainians are just a part of the Russian nation. Wrong! That’s like saying the Flemish and Dutch; Austrians and Germans; Czechs and Slovaks; or even the French and Quebeckers are unitary nations. They’re not. Ukrainians and Russians speak closely related languages and have intertwined histories. But they are different nations, and this has been asserted and realized to varying degrees over hundreds of years.

5th Falsehood: NATO and non-NATO countries not at war with Russia. Wrong! Russia has been conducting what it calls “hybrid warfare” against the U.S., Canada, U.K., and other NATO nations since at least 2016, and one of the main theatres is cyberspace, where Russia has been conducting continuous cyber and information warfare to disrupt communications, infrastructure, military, and financial networks.

6th Falsehood: Economic sanctions and financial restrictions are sufficient to bring Russia to heel. Wrong! Only military defeat of the Russian invasion either by Ukraine acting alone (though with foreign support) or outright foreign involvement will force Russia to leave Ukraine.

7th Falsehood: A negotiated solution is in the offing. Wrong! Everything indicates the exact opposite. Putin and the Kremlin appear determined to solve what they perceive as the Ukrainian problem once and for all. Even if there were a negotiated withdrawal, Russia would only do that to buy time, just like Saddam did after the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991.

© Richard Martin

Richard Martin was a career infantry officer in the Canadian Army. He now plies his trade as an information warrior and strategic advisor to leaders and decision-makers. He focuses on extracting valuable lessons and signals from chaos and noise.

by Richard Martin

I don’t have enough information to recommend any particular course of action or predict specifics of what could unfold. However, history, geopolitical and strategic analysis can provide some indicators.

At the level of ends

Ultimate goal: Putin is seeking to reconstitute the Russian empire to at least the Cold War extent, possibly even pre-WW1 Romanov Empire.

Intermediate goal: Force reintegration of Ukraine with Russia, either formally, or as a Russian “ally,” like Belarus.

Immediate goal: Destabilize Ukraine with a view to annexing all of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts, possibly other areas, such as Mariupol, to reunite the entire Donbass.

Other than that, specific objectives and timelines will depend on circumstances and opportunity. In the current instance, I believe Putin is going to push as far as he can go while keeping the US and allies out of Ukraine.

Ukraine has been trying to get into Nato for years, but Russia wants to avoid that at all costs. Once Ukraine is in Nato, then it is linked by mutual defence pact with 30 other nations and comes under the US strategic deterrent, thus making any further Russian moves against Ukraine much riskier, if not impossible.

At the level of ways and means, any combination in whole or in part of kinetic operations, ideological struggle, psychological operations, cyberattacks against government/military communications and C2 networks, intelligence gathering, subversion, clandestine financing, disruption of utilities and banking, destruction of financial and academic networks, disinformation, deception, misdirection, etc.

This war is already on, and we are in the rear area, as far as Russia is concerned. Canada is under attack as we speak. Russia did not cause the truckers’ convoy nor the stupidity of our federal government decrees which are the proximate cause of the revolt, but they have been taking advantage of it. We are seeing massive disinformation on social media and being fed to traditional media, some of it so ham handed that it should be obvious. Unfortunately, so many people are running around with their hair on fire right now that they can’t even see what is happening.

I believe that Canada has been under sustained cyberattack of our governmental, infrastructural, and financial networks for at least 3-4 weeks. There is probably direct funnelling of funds to some of the protesters or groups, most of whom probably don’t even realize who the source is. This is not a bunch of “Trump supporters” in MAGA hats, the World Economic Forum, or far-right neo-Nazis. The disruption is being deliberately orchestrated and conducted by state-level power(s) with tremendous resources. The attack on Canada is aimed at driving a wedge between us and our allies, especially Ukraine. Either it’s because Russia sees us as a conduit to harass other countries, or we really get under their skin. Probably it’s both.

Trudeau proclaimed a public order emergency on 14 Feb under the federal Emergencies Act. The act gives two specific criteria for this type of emergency, one of which pertains to grave threats against our sovereignty, national security, and security of Canadians. We’re not talking about people waving banners. I am no fan of Trudeau but I think he took this action as a means of regaining control of the situation, from a geopolitical standpoint. It may prove in hindsight to be an overreaction. Time will tell. The reasons he is giving for maintaining the emergency appear lame and indefensible.

I have discussed with like-minded friends and colleagues why he doesn’t just come out and say what is happening, but that would be even more speculation than already.

Whatever happens in Ukraine or even Canada, just remember that most of the news is noise.

I hope that helps to understand the situation from a strategic standpoint.

© Richard Martin

Richard Martin is President, Alcera Consulting Inc. He focuses on extracting signals from all the noise.

Strategic Readiness Bulletin Number 1 – 1 March 2017

By Richard Martin, founder and president, Alcera Consulting Inc.

Richard Martin issues Strategic Readiness Bulletins on an as needed basis to clients, key decision-makers, and other influencers, to highlight recent or evolving risks, threats, and opportunities for companies and organizations resulting from chaotic change as well as international and national situations of a political, economic, technological, or social nature.

What Is the Strategic Readiness Issue?

Asylum on Canadian flag.

Asylum on Canadian flag.

Recent events and fears in the United States are apparently pushing many resident aliens and immigrants in that country to reconsider their future there. In recent weeks, we have learned that hundreds of individuals and families, sometimes with very young children, have braved cold weather and harsh conditions to cross the border into Canada. They are arrested and detained, and then presumably further processed by Canadian government agencies after requesting refugee status. As many commentators have already pointed out, if there is a mini-surge of “walk-in” refugee claimants in the winter, what will happen when the weather improves up north (literally), and it gets worse down south (figuratively)?

We can think what we want of this situation, but the important question to ask is: Is this a risk, a threat, an opportunity, or some combination of these? Readers may believe that I’m being alarmist, but this is furthest from the truth. The essence of readiness—whether for defence or for profit—is anticipation. As the old military saying goes, “Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted.” We can extend this by adding anticipation and planning as well. Readiness is a function of awareness, which in turn requires surveying your surroundings and making projections, highlighting potential outcomes and effects, and developing scenarios and contingency plans to react or act in a timely and effective manner.

Who Can Be Affected?

This is nothing but a quick list of businesses, organizations, and agencies that could be affected by a refugee or border crisis of some kind in coming months:

  • Manufacturers and other businesses that depend on imports and exports
  • Transportation and logistics companies
  • Federal, provincial, and local government agencies and departments
  • Ports and border-crossing facilities
  • Towns and villages near border crossings, official and unofficial, including their fire departments, schools, hospitals, and other medical facilities
  • Charitable and/or community organizations such as the Red Cross, the YMCA, local associations, NGOs, etc.

What Are the Risks and/or Opportunities?

Here are two simple scenarios to show how companies and organizations can be affected by a surge in refugee crossings and claimants.

Scenario 1: A small town near the Quebec border with the US is overwhelmed with refugees in the early summer. Available facilities are rapidly claimed by federal and provincial government agencies. There is a need to lodge, feed, and care for a relatively large influx people seeking to enter Canada as refugees. The town’s administration is overwhelmed by the influx and local citizens are increasingly enraged by the “threat to law and order,” people crossing their property, and perhaps even squatting.

Think this is far-fetched? Consider the following headline in a Globe and Mail article of 7 February 2017: “Manitoba town pleads for federal help with refugee influx.”

Scenario 2: A transportation company depends on cross-border shipping and logistics for a bulk of its business. The refugee influx gives rise to political actions by the federal government to control border access better. Even though people are crossing at secondary and tertiary border locations, or even unmanned areas, CBSA steps up searches and security at official crossings. This introduces long lineups and delays at border crossings. American officials do the same in the other direction for no logical reason.

Assessing Your Situation

You can look at any kind of disruptive scenario from two perspectives: defensive (as risk or threat) or offensive (as opportunity).

Defensive Assessment: Risk is the product of probability and consequence/impact. Reducing or eliminating the risk probability falls under the rubric of prevention. Responding to, containing, eliminating and recovering from the risk impact is called mitigation. I’ve illustrated this in the following diagram. As you can see, contingency planning is any preparation and planning you conduct to be ready for a risk should prevention fail. If prevention is your 1st line of defence against a risk scenario, contingency planning is your 2nd line of defence (recovery is the 3rd line).

assessing-risks-and-threats

Offensive Assessment: On the offensive side, it can sometimes be difficult to see what could be an opportunity, but it follows the same basic logic as defensive risk and threat readiness. Opportunities are thus the product of the probability of a positive event occurring and the beneficial consequences. In that case, your first wave of attack is the scouting and reconnaissance you carry out to detect the opportunities. These are then assessed as to their expected value (probability times benefit) and you can create various initiatives to develop them into full-blown offensive thrusts—the 2nd wave of attack—reinforcing successful ones and pulling back from unsuccessful ones—the 3rd wave of attack.

In this Strategic Readiness Bulletin, I wanted to point out the potential risks, threats, and opportunities that loom for companies, organizations, and agencies as they look at the unfolding refugee situation. It’s up to you to take steps to increase your offensive and defensive readiness.

picture1Richard Martin is an expert in identifying, assessing, and preparing for strategic risks, threats, … AND opportunities, so companies and organizations can exploit change, instead of passively reacting or succumbing to it.

Richard.Martin@alcera.ca

www.alcera.ca

www.exploitingchange.com

(514) 453-3993