He has a rather odd understanding of foreign affairs. This essay reads like a fever dream from a disillusioned neocon. Oh, wait ...
No, seriously, go read it. It is very odd. In its world, an allied Russia and China are backing the Syrian regime against the United States. You would get the impression that Bashir Assad is Ho Chi Minh. You wouldn’t learn that Russian “support” for Assad consists of, well, nothing. Sure, the Russian Federation has sold the Syrian Arab Republic a lot of weapons in the recent past, but that’s not the same thing as conducting “a proxy war between the Great Powers.”
Seriously, three attack helicopters is nothing compared to the massive amounts of materiel that went through Haiphong or over the Chinese border. Here is a CIA estimate of around 2,000 Soviet air defense personnel in North Vietnam circa 1965. There is also a frustratingly vague CIA estimate of Soviet military aid at the beginning of the war, but it gives some sense of the scale, and it dwarfs anything going to Syria. More information is in this 1968 CIA report about Sino-Soviet conflicts regarding military aid to the DRV. The discussion is over trainloads, for months, and massive airlifts, and shipments through Haiphong ... including potential Soviet military responses to a U.S. blockade.
And then the money document from 1968: go down to the last two pages. 2,230 artillery pieces in 1967! 70,000 tons of ammunition! 3,810 surface-to-air missiles! 123 armored vehicles! 700 vehicles from China, another 24,000 tons of ammunition, and 61 MiG fighter jets!
(By the way, did you know the U.S. operated unmanned drones in Vietnam? Page 2.)
Dude, that was a proxy war. This is Russia and China being annoying.
If you want some more serious intel about the Syrian civil war, this report is a good place to start. You also might want to check out this report about the Russian equipment used by the Syrian government. But Ignatieff’s essay is just completely goofy. Good thing he didn’t become Prime Minister. At least Canada doesn’t have the capability to act on the ahistorical bizarro-world musings of its head of government.