Thursday, August 26, 2004

The world needs more Canada

Babble on.

Anyone interested in the prospects for Canada's military under a Paul Martin minority government should read Dave Rudd's article in its entirety. I'd like to focus, however, on two points I found particularly fascinating.

The first is that Rudd, without fanfare or fuss, completely disregards all propaganda spewing from the mouths of politicians - elected and uniformed alike.

General Henault's denial of a major re-alignment is unlikely to survive his final year as CDS. The cuts are coming -- perhaps not next year, but soon after. They will be driven by the imminent obsolescence of major equipment sets and competing fiscal priorities.

Given the history of General-speak out of NDHQ supporting Liberal-speak out of Parliament, Rudd's casual, offhand cynicism is wholly justified. (To offer a personal example, as a cadet at the Royal Military College in the early 90's, I remember a Commandant trying to stamp out persistent rumours he was simply punching his ticket at the College on his way to the top. He told us he would never get another promotion because he wasn't willing to compromise his principles or play politics. His name was Jean Boyle, and he resigned three full ranks higher as Chief of the Defence Staff - in disgrace.)

The second point goes to the heart of the Liberals' thoughts on national defence. Rudd speculates the Liberals believe Canadians - deep in their heart of hearts - don't really want a military capable of operating internationally.

Does this notional realignment of Canada's armed forces reflect a hidden strategic agenda, an effort to surreptitiously re-orient the Canadian military toward a domestic or, at best, continental defence posture? Perhaps. Ottawa may be betting that 'safe' tasks -- sovereignty protection and the policing of our maritime approaches -- are all that Canadians want their military to do. (Babbler's emphasis)

It's a credible line of thought, but I think the issue is a little more complex. I think Canadians want to be players on the world stage - inspiring, independent, and influencial. Witness the popularity of Indigo's "The world needs more Canada" slogan. I just don't think anyone has forced my fellow citizens to consider the price of influence. It's a coherent foreign policy that addresses our national interests through foreign aid, commerce, diplomacy, and military force. And it's a foreign policy that we pay for. John Manley put it quite well when he said "You can't just sit at the G8 table and then, when the bill comes, go to the washroom." (Steyn thinks so too.)

Canadians still haven't figured that out, largely because the Liberals and our leftist-establishment media elite don't want us to make the connection. Why not? Because then we'd be forced to make some tough decisions, instead of blithely running off in all directions at once. We'd be forced to acknowledge the fact that the mostly-Liberal federal governments of the past forty years have gutted our military to the point where our foreign policy options have been severely and irreparably curtailed for at least the next decade, and our pompous, derelict media has studiously ignored this issue of vital national interest.

If Paul Martin and his gang of elected crooks truly want Canada to have "A Role of Pride and Influence in the World" then turning the once-formidable Canadian military into a glorified corps of border guards is the last thing they should do.

Babble off.


At 4:29 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damian, your assessment of our military "leadership" in Ottawa is about right. Appointments to the top job are highly political and are not made with the expectation that the incumbent will not toe the party line. And speaking of Jean Boyle, I crossed paths with him when he Commanded CFB Baden-Soellingen, Germany in the late 1980's. He struck me then as a careerist climber and I wasn't surprised by his rise nor disappointed by his eventual fall from grace. His particular fate may not have been typical but the way he got to the top certainly was.

Your points on Liberal non-commitment to defence are on the mark also. Remember guns are a strict no-no - not in tune with Canadian (Liberal) values. Anyway, we can mooch any defences we might need from the Americans (all the while bad-mouthing them to boost our image abroad).


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