In Multipolarity

Article authored by Scott Gilmore, published on Maclean’s Magazine, March 8, 2017

[Article lead in Maclean’s]:  The smear job on Chrystia Freeland is only the start. Why Canada is a logical next target in Moscow’s desperate clandestine war

Daydream video in March 2017 by editors of Canada’s Maclean’s Magazine

Moscow has been waging an increasingly daring clandestine war against western democracies. Under the direction of President Vladmir Putin, Russia is targeting most of the major members of the western alliance. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned of Russian attempts at cyber attacks. In France, Moscow has funded right-wing populist Marine Le Pen and is alleged to be spreading false propaganda about her opponents. There are now reports from British parliamentarians that Russia may have meddled with the Brexit campaign. And, of course, Putin’s interference in the U.S. Presidential election has lit a tire fire in Washington that may bring down the Trump administration, and at the very least has left America’s political institutions reeling, and its alliances weakened.

See Maclean’s article for this short video: ‘Five ways Russia might attack Canada’, complete with Russia-themed music

Moscow is being forced to play these aggressive and risky games out of desperation. The country is in bad shape and it is getting worse. The once great superpower now has an economy smaller than Canada’s and it continues to shrink. Even though they spend 5 per cent of their GDP on defence, Russia’s military forces have grown so rusted out they can barely get their last aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean and back without breaking down. Even the ragtag Ukrainians have fought them to a standstill. Diplomatically, Moscow has never been so isolated and powerless. You can count its friends on one hand, and it’s not an impressive list: Syria, Iran, Belarus.

Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna and husband journalist Scott Gilmore, pictured in 2011 (Caroline Phillips, Ottawa Citizen)

In a rules-based international system where your influence is measured by the size of your economy, your cultural soft-power, and your stature in multilateralism, Moscow has become an afterthought. And, if Russia didn’t still have a cold war nuclear arsenal, it would garner even less attention. So, losing the international game of chess, Putin is seeking to knock over the board itself—to discredit the multilateral world order, and destabilize the comparably strong western alliance.

Canada is a logical target. We are a G7 member, a strong supporter of NATO (if not a strong contributor), an advocate for a values-based international system, and a vocal critic of Moscow and its interference in other countries. We have to expect Russia will focus more of its clandestine efforts on us, especially as we approach the next election cycle…

Scott Gilmore is a columnist at the now monthly Maclean’s Magazine in Canada and is married to Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna.

Background:
Update on false ‘Russia disinformation’ story promulgated by Canada’s foreign affairs minister, news update by New Cold War.org, March 10, 2017

 

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