“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means” is a famous quote by none other than Ronald Reagan. The quote summarizes how Canada and the UN peacekeepers solved their situations. They wanted to handle conflict peacefully which they did and was a vital solution to how Canada resolved many conflicts. The UN peacekeepers helped resolve some of Canada’s biggest wars such as the Suez Crisis, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Suez Crisis was a conflict between Egypt, The U.S, Great Britain, and later Canada was introduced into the situation in which they inputted the UN peacekeepers. The Cuban Missile Crisis was another situation where Canada also introduced the UN peacekeepers to try and create peace due to the fact that both Canada and the U.S were both threatened by the Soviet Missiles. John Diefenbaker was a significant person throughout the Cold War for Canada. He made many decisions that would change Canada into the peacekeeping nation we are known as today. During the Cold War, Canada’s role quickly transitioned into the peacekeeping nation that it is known as today through their contribution in the Suez Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the decisions made by the Canadian Prime Minister at the time, John Diefenbaker.
The Suez Crisis was a military and political conflict between Egypt, the United States and Great Britain, and soon enough the Canada became involved by sending the UN peacekeepers to try and create peace between the countries. Around that time, Lester B. Pearson was Canada’s secretary of state for external affairs and he then spent both the summer and fall of 1956 working toward a thoughtful solution to the Suez Crisis. When that unfortunately failed, and the bombing began, Pearson decided to change his tactics. While in the midst of the Suez Crisis, In New York, addressing the UN General Assembly, Pearson then followed up his case for a “peace and police force” by saying: “Peace is far more than ceasing to fire.” A couple of weeks passed by and a cease-fire was arranged, beginning on the 6th of November, and UN peacekeepers later entered the canal area. Pearson’s peacekeeping solution allowed the countries that were involved, Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw their forces without the appearance of having been defeated. The UN was the first major international peacekeeping force, which included 6,000 men from ten countries all under the command of Canadian General E.L.M. Burns, who helped keep peace in the Middle East until Egypt demanded that it leave the area in 1967. Canada’s involvement during the Suez Canal Crisis is often regarded as a turning point in Canadian history, the moment when the country came of age and displayed its true colours on the global stage.
During 1962, the stationing of Soviet missiles in Cuba posed a huge threat to both the United States and Canada as those missiles were capable of hitting anywhere in the United States or Canada and that ultimately brought the world to the edge of nuclear war. At the time, the U.S President was John F. Kennedy and the Canadian Prime Minister was John Diefenbaker, neither of them got along and disliked each other which lead to disagreements and arguments. While both of them were on the phone, Diefenbaker was sceptical about the Soviet Union’s intentions, and so he recommended Kennedy to send a team of United Nations inspectors to Cuba to verify what the Soviets were truly doing. The only major issue was if the Canadian Government was able to comply with the U.S request to move Canadian forces to a high alert condition known as
“DEFCON-3”. The Cuban Missile Crisis then continued on for thirteen intense days as the two atomic superpowers arguably came to close to a nuclear war but, tensions were later cooled down as the Crisis was later avoided and ended on the 28th of October, when the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev agreed to dismantle and take down the Soviet Missiles and as a promise, Kennedy would not invade Cuba. This marked the Cuban Missile Crisis as one of the most heated wars during the Cold War and Canada played a big role by sending a team of UN peacekeepers to go and resolve the issue with the huge role the Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker made with his decisions.
During Canada’s involvement in the Cold War, the Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker had a big role as he made huge decisions for Canada at the time. Around the Cuban Missile Crisis, John Diefenbaker had made a decision that would go past what the U.S and their president, John F. Kennedy wanted to do by requesting to send a team of UN inspectors to go survey what the Soviets were doing due to the fact that he was suspicious of them. John Diefenbaker also made the decision to go to the high alert status otherwise known as “DEFCON-3”. The only problem as that they had was to comply with the U.S which at the time, both Diefenbaker and Kennedy both disliked each other. Despite all of these concerns and delays, the NDM, Douglas Harkless allowed the Canadian military units to silently raise their readiness alert level to “DEFCON-3” due to the fact that the Canadian government was concerned that if it placed it’s military on alert, it might have provoked the Soviet Union. Even though this decision made relationships worse with both John Diefenbaker and John F. Kennedy, the decision of John Diefenbaker to send the UN peacekeepers worked as the Crisis was avoided on October 28th, when the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to dismantle and disarm the missile and as promised by John F. Kennedy, he could not invade Cuba. John Diefenbaker would then go on to use the UN peacekeepers more as he used them during the Suez Crisis and that was situation was resolved due to the brilliance of his decision to use them to help keep peace in the Middle East till Egypt demanded that it leave. John Diefenbaker’s decisions would then define Canada as a peacekeeping country with the use of the UN peacekeepers.
Throughout the Cold War, Canada’s role quickly transitioned into the peacekeeping nation that we know to date with their contribution in the Suez Crisis, in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and by the decisions made by the Canadian Prime Minister at the time, John Diefenbaker. The Suez Crisis was a military and political conflict that the UN peacekeepers had been inputted into and were sent by Canada and used to resolve conflict and create peace for the Middle East which they did and this is often regarded as a turning point in Canadian history when the country came of age and displayed its true colours on the global stage. The Cuban Missile Crisis was another conflict where Canada also inputted the UN peacekeepers where they did their job by resolving the conflict with the Soviet Union with them dismantling the Soviet Missiles and in return, the United States could not invade Cuba. Last but not least, John Diefenbaker’s decision-making was a vital part of what lead Canada into the peacekeeping nation were known as today. His decisions to involve the UN peacekeepers into these situations created peace between the countries and ultimately defined Canada as the peacekeeping nation we are known as to date. Canada’s peacekeeping technique made us global as the UN peacekeepers were inputted into many situations. The way the UN peacekeepers worked to resolve peace was vital as it stopped a nuclear war from happening with the Soviet Union and the United States. The UN peacekeepers teach us how war is not the answer to every situation and how there are other alternatives. The use of the UN peacekeepers was the turning point in Canadian history and defines Canada as the peacekeeping nation we know to date.