23 November, 2009 — IPS
While the world’s top military elites gather inside a fortified hotel to discuss NATO’s future, protesters question the organisation’s legitimacy, secrecy, and the lack of democratic debate about the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan.
An imposing ‘United States of America’-emblazoned aircraft greeted visitors on the tarmac of Halifax International Airport Friday, as more than 250 of the Western world’s top military leaders and their brain trust descended on the city for the inaugural Halifax International Security Forum.
Co-sponsored by the government of Canada and the U.S.-based German Marshall Fund think tank, over 60 percent of the attendees hailed from these host nations for what is being dubbed a World Economic Forum-style conference for militarists.
Announcing the Forum last July, German Marshall Fund President Craig Kennedy called it “a step in the process of changing the conversation” about Canada’s role in the ‘trans-Atlantic community,’ toward a recognition of its being a top-tier power in its own right that is worthy of a seat at the table with the globe’s most powerful war-fighting nations.
Canada’s transformation to a counterinsurgency-capable expeditionary force and its contribution to the war in southern Afghanistan has earned it the respect of NATO’s key power, the United States, which, in turn, has boosted its global profile among other NATO allies.