Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Blair's backbone?

Babble on.

Some would say Tony Blair never had a backbone, that he simply borrowed one for the Iraq intervention and has since returned it to its rightful owner. Continuing reports out of Britain of severe military cutbacks certainly seem to support this accusation.

Former Chiefs of Staff relate how, after visiting the Prime Minister to persuade him of service needs, they have won his agreement but been told that they must persuade the Chancellor.

Passing the buck to a subordinate is the antithesis of leadership. And turning defence policy over to a bean-counter amidst blossoming threats at home and abroad is dangerously short-sighted.

Besides, as John Keegan so astutely observes, it's not like they're really 'saving' any money.

Defence economies merely save money to be wasted elsewhere.

If you're getting an uncomfortable feeling of deja vu, it's because this is textbook Chretien/Martin from the 90's.

Jack Granatstein has an interesting explanation for Canada's unwillingness to invest in defence that may lend insight into the current problems in Britain.

I suggest that Canadians have never lost the Colonial attitude that they had at the foundations of European settlement and well into the 20th century. I regret to say we are a people who ordinarily expect someone else to do the fighting for us. First France. Then Britain. Now the United States. Protected by three oceans. Linked with the great powers. Except in the two World Wars and in the unique decades of the early Cold War Canadians have always been prepared to let someone else make the strategic decisions, pay most of the bills and do most of the dying. This by definition is a Colonial attitude.

Which leads me to wonder: has Great Britain subconsciously become a colony of the U.S.?

I sincerely hope not. The U.S. - and in fact, the West - has no need for American sattelite states. What are required are strong and independent friends and allies. Great Britain has filled that role admirably for sixty years, and shouldn't demur now. Tony needs to grow a backbone of his own.

Babble off.


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