Canada and U.S Relations over the Iraq War

Introduction

For many years, the United States’ military power has remained unshakable and more powerful as compared to all other armies across the world. Since the defeat of the Soviet Union, the United States shapes the world into its preferences both politically and economically. In the year 2003, the US plotted an invasion on Iraq, which was under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. At the time, the US administration was under President George Bush.1

According to the United States, Saddam Hussein was enriching Uranium and hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and any form of coercion to abandon such practices had failed. Therefore, President Bush’s administration was fully convinced that an attack was the only way out of stopping Saddam Hussein from threatening the world peace by using WMDs. Through the attack, the US would seize the WMDs and topple Saddam’s reign, thus eliminating the threat. Nevertheless, the United States suspected that the war against Iraq would be costly and it would affect its international relations with other world countries. However, the US believed that Saddam Hussein was in possession of WMDs, and thus e had to be dealt with in the shortest time possible. The US claimed that Saddam Hussein had a dangerous past record of using chemical weapons against his people (kudus), and thus he would probably use the WMDs to attack his people or nations across the world.

Therefore, the US resorted to using war threat as a way of coercing Saddam Hussein to allow an international body to inspect his chemical weapons and Uranium enrichment program. However, Saddam declined any peaceful approach to the issue and thus the US had to attack. During the invasion against Iraq, the United States sought support from Canada. Even though controversies arose, the relationship between the United States and Canada changed. This paper will highlight how the US- Canada relationship was affected politically and economically.

Economic and political perspectives of Canada and the US

The Iraqi war brought many political frictions to both Canada and the US. During the war, the Minister of National Defense, Hackness, alerted the Canadian forces about his political superiority and exhibited how the United States composed a tool of national security and defense to them.2 The Canadian citizens and political leaders were divided on the support of the war since they had direct links to both Canada and the US. Nevertheless, the US pressed further to seek the Canadian support and promised to guard Canada politically against any internationally unpopular invasion. By agreeing to support the US, Canada would reduce the political and economic burden of the United States, which then would end up using fewer resources in the war. However, the Canada’s refusal to support the United States meant that more defense costs would be incurred3.

Canada did not decline the offer to support the United States openly, but it was politically unwilling to support the idea. The friction regarding the support of the war arose because Canada was very democratic on the issue whilst the United States had already made its objectives to topple Saddam’s administration and thwart any possibility of using the alleged WMDs.4

Canada uses a bureaucratic leadership, thus making swift political decisions was a challenge, as it would not be embraced nationally. In the considerations for the support of the war, Canada had to shed light on the structural establishments coupled with detailing how such structures would create politically motivated outcomes. Outwardly, the Canadian politics and society embrace multiparty governance. The citizens and political leaders were liberal with respect to their national party, viz. the Liberal Party of Canada.

Conventionally, the Canadian political spectrum is composed of different governmental decisions with justifiable political effects to the country. Therefore, the difference in the two political systems creates rifts and a clear distinction of ideas politically. The United States’ democratic political regime appeared politically unfavorable to some Canadians who did not want to agree with the Bush administration’s policies. On the other hand, the United States felt like Canada did not fathom the graveness of the Iraqi situation. Apparently, Canada could not see the necessity of full-scale aggression against Saddam Hussein at the time. Perhaps, the Canadian administration held that the involved parties had time to resolve disputes using the set international dispute resolution mechanisms like economic sanctions among other avenues.

During the war, the US economy was adversely affected due to the excessive spending and resource allocation to the military. Before the war, many citizens feared that prices of basic commodities would go up after the conflict with Iraq. Therefore, the economy was expected to enter a recession mode after the conflict. This aspect would affect the livelihood of the involved nations’ citizens. During the war, oil fluctuated greatly and in some cases, Iraq would go for weeks without exporting oil. The army conflict in Iraq caused concerns over crude oil and in the global market.5 Iraq is one of the largest oil exporters in the world, but due to mismanagement and lack of the adoption of technology, the country has not been in a position to assert its influence in the crude oil international markets.6

However, even though Canada did support the war fully, it could not miss out of the spectacle, and thus it offered to offer assistance, albeit minimal. For the United States, there was a relief in the costs of military spending. The Canadian military department provided personnel, carried the refueling of war airplanes, deployed their own troops, and provided two war jets during the war.7 The Canadian move to offer support was a great relieve to the United States, which needed such help badly. Any form of war is highly costly and thus it can have far-reaching ramifications for a nation’s future economic prospects.

Economic implications for both countries

Economically, before and after the war, the situation changed drastically. The relationship between Canada and the United States changed economically. Apparently, Canada had bargained its way securing more business with the US. After the war, Canada started military exports to the United States. This opportunity was only occasioned by the war; otherwise, Canada stood no chance of securing such a deal before the war. Currently, Canada annually exports billion of dollars worth of goods and services to the United States. In Canada, several companies sell weapons similar to those used during the Iraq war. For instance, SNC-TEC, which is an ammunition manufacturer, sold millions of bullets to the United States’ military forces residing in Iraq after the war.8 Moreover, Canada, through the Canada Pension Plan, demanded to supply weapons to 16 out of the 20 best war industries. Canada also supplies missile defense systems and arms from the main producers.

For the United States, general costs in the military expenditure gradually reduced. The Canadians supplied weapons and ammunitions to the United States’ military troops and contracts at a relatively cheaper price. The cost of running military operations reduced, and thus the economic stability of the state was not affected adversely. In addition, the United States signed an oil agreement for the United Nations in order to benefit from the low oil prices apparently because Saddam Hussein had been overthrown. Therefore, the United States had the authority and power to control the crude oil industry and oil deposits and its markets globally under the signed treaty. Generally, the war strengthened the relationship between United States and Canada. Apparently, each country benefits from the other economically.9

The war had great economic effects for the Canada’s economy has stabilized and the United States territory expanded. Currently the economic stability of Canada is stable and steady. Canada is capable of preparing and managing own budget without capital outsourcing as opposed to earlier years when it had not signed and agreement with the United States. International relationships are riddled with controversies and suspicion. Conventionally, a state would not be involved if it stands to gain nothing. For instance, Canada would not have supported the United States in the Iraqi war if it had nothing to gain. Such relationships are based on win-win agreements. In this case, Canada gained economic footing, while the US asserted its authority as the world’s superpower coupled with gaining access and control of the oil industry in the region.

Challenges and strengths for the Canada-US relationship

Challenges/weaknesses

The emerging challenging issues in the Canada-US relation is the development strategy in the 21st century, rebuilding its capabilities in defense system, and diplomacy development. The Canadian government is not certain to maintain the current world status that it gained after the Iraq war in 2003. Keeping the pace with the current world defense standards will be highly demanding in terms of economic and human resources.

The main challenge for Canada is the reluctance to support the United States in curbing anti-terrorism. Currently, the US is involved extensively in the efforts to counter terrorism and contain threats before attacks happen. This aspect implies that the US has to invest extensively in its military, and thus it may require economic and military help from Canada. This requirement might be a challenge to Canada given that it may lack the requisite resources for the task. Similarly, the United States has affected many of its relations with other world countries due to the general negative perspective of the Iraq war. The United States has to restate its strategic agendas with its allies on the issue of fighting terrorism and invading nations that appear as terrorism sympathizers.

Strengths

Canada has the capability to grow economically as it is secure following the US protection agreement. This relationship exposes Canada to growth channel politically, economically, and socially. Being in contract of military services and products with the US, Canada has two-fold advantages. First, it is assured of protection from the US and second, it has lucrative military deals, which rakes in millions of dollars every year. This aspect is a boost to its economy. Moreover, the United States has the best equipments, products, and expertise in terms of war preparedness.10 In addition, a strong foundation of the relationship was formed based on oil control in Iraq. The United States controls and manages the oil deposits indirectly for its benefit. Canada also benefits from this deal, which boosts its economic prospects. The United States has deployed troops in Iraq to monitor and detect any planned attack by the Iraqi military and insurgents.11

General outcome of Canada-us relation

The relationship that developed during the Iraq war has affected specific countries both negatively and positively. Firstly, it took time for the United States’ policymakers to establish new policies in approaching a war. The United States required time to adjust its perspectives and customs to another war.12 After the Iraq War, the U.S-Canada relationship was cemented. The two nations are now working together to produce the best performance in political and economic terms. However, the United States came out as a domineering regime especially after the failure to prove the existence of WMDs in Iraq. In the face of many antagonists, the war on Iraq was simply a supremacy battle with the US seeking to assert its influence in the Middle East.13

Fortunately, for Canada, the war presented an opportunity to boost its economic prospects. The Bush administration contracted ammunitions, services, bullets, and a myriad of other weapons, and this move was an opener for the Canada’s economy. Unfortunately, the Canadian administration faced backlash from the antagonists of the war on Iraq. People demonstrated extensively across the nation to sanction the country’s involvement in the war. Political differences in the liberal democratic political regime dominated the war debate.

The Canada-US relationship was founded on a controversial environment. The war between the United States and Iraq came out as a political agenda founded on lies of the existence of WMDs in Iraq. The main goal was to destroy Saddam Hussein’s regime under the pretext of acquiring and destroying the alleged WMDs, since the Americans felt unsafe. Allegedly, the weapons included WMDs and explosions that the dictator used in past years against his people. The Canadian government did not accept to support the United States politically. Instead, it cooperated in the execution plan against Iraq. The Canadians showed solidarity through acceptance of their support. The United States portrayed its superpower mentality and prevailed in convincing its allies that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world peace. The war initiated a healthy relationship between Canada and the United States for economic development.14

Conclusion

The Iraq war had a great impact on Canada, Iraq, and the United States. However, the demerits outweighed the merits in many aspects. Iraq lost its leader, Saddam Hussein, after the invasion and many military troops were killed. Huge costs were incurred during the war, but this aspect did not matter, since it was politically motivated.

Canada benefitted a lot from the incursion because it entered a security and economic partnership with the US. However, the decision to support the US came under criticism from the antagonists of the war across Canada. On its side, the US strengthened the much-needed relationship with Canada, as it cannot win wars without the support of its allies.15 The US can prevail over its perceived enemies singlehandedly. However, it needs the moral and political support from the international community and thus Canada was a befitting ally in this venture. Given the post-war agreements between the US and Canada, the latter will most probably support the former in any war venture in the future due to the stakes involved in their relationship.

Bibliography

Acheson, Dean. Present at the Creation: My Years at the State Department. New York: Norton Publishers, 1969. Web.

Adams, Michael. Fire and Ice. The United States, Canada, and the Myth of Converging Values. New York: Penguin, 2003. Web.

Beatty, David. The Canada-United States Permanent Joint Board on Defense. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1969. Web.

Bothwell, Robert. Canada and the United States: The Politics of Partnership. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992. Web.

Donald, Barry. “Chrétien, Bush, and the War in Iraq.” American Review of Canadian Studies 35, no. 2 (2005): 215-245. Web.

Jokolsky, Joel. The Americanization of Peacekeeping. Kingston: Queens Centre for International Studies, 1996. Web.

Smith, Rupert. The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World. London: Penguin, 2005. Web.

Footnotes

1 Robert Bothwell, Canada and the United States: The politics of Partnership (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992), 84.

2 Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (London: Penguin, 2005), 106.

3 Barry Donald, “Chrétien, Bush, and the War in Iraq,” American Review of Canadian Studies 35, no. 2 (2005): 215-245.

4 Bothwell, 91.

5 Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years at the State Department (New York: Norton Publishers, 1969), 67.

6 Bothwell, 106.

7 Smith, 54.

8 David Beatty, The Canada-United States Permanent Joint Board on Defense (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1969), 24.

9 Michael Adams, Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada, and the Myth of Converging Values (New York: Penguin, 2003), 73.

10 Beatty, 32.

11 Bothwell, 121.

12 Adams, 48.

13 Beatty, 88.

14 Acheson, 112.

15 Adams, 95.