Author Topic: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy  (Read 104668 times)

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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« on: October 21, 2015, 07:34:22 »
We'll be UNing it for sure within 12 months....in Africa.


I agree, this, rather than CF-18s in Iraq ...

                   

                         ... plus throwing a wee bit of money and lots and lots of warm words at climate change, seems to be the likely first "foundation stones" of a new Liberal foreign policy.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2015, 07:52:04 »
Why fight this....



When you can fight this  ;D

« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 11:26:09 by Humphrey Bogart »

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2015, 11:39:12 »
Foreign Policy takes a look at Canada's new, Liberal, foreign policy in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from that journal:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/21/justin-trudeau-liberal-canadian-foreign-policy-syria-climate-change/?utm_content=buffer28616&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Quote

ARGUMENT
Justin Trudeau Is Putting the ‘Liberal’ Back in ‘Canadian Foreign Policy’

After nine years of Stephen Harper’s neocon act, a new, inexperienced prime minister is going to dial back Canada’s hard power ambitions on the world stage.

BY MATTHEW BONDY

OCTOBER 21, 2015

This story will feel familiar to Americans.

A young, idealistic, inexperienced liberal rides a wave of hope and change all the way up the polls and in to the halls of power. He seems genuinely embarrassed by the last guy’s conduct in office — at least in the realm of foreign affairs. Seeing his predecessor exercise hard power on the world stage, he ascribes to him not merely imprudence, but a disregard for the nation’s best traditions of global conduct. The credentials the new leader brings to the job are specious at best. But under the surface and in between the gaffes that emerging leaders are wont to make, is the outline of a new statesman, or at least the possibility of one.



Yes, nearly seven years after Obama came to power, Canada is following America’s liberal lead in foreign affairs. On Oct. 19, Canada’s center-left Liberal party, led by 43-year-old Justin Trudeau from Quebec, surged from the ruins of its disastrous 2011 election showing to earn a majority of Canada’s federal parliamentary seats in the nation’s longest campaign since 1872. With an iron grip on the legislature and a clear mandate from Canadian voters, Trudeau, the eldest son of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau — whose liberal legacy still looms large in Canada — is on track to be appointed Canada’s 23rd prime minister and form a government. In doing so, he’ll pick up where the Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper left off after nearly a decade in office, departing from his predecessor in rhetorical nuance but building on the Conservative’s strong record on global affairs and economic management.

Under Harper, Canada’s foreign policy adopted a harsh tone, putting a greater emphasis on hard power over soft power and elevating economic diplomacy and free trade to the top of the agenda. At times, this was unpopular. But by and large, it was a success.

Canada’s economy arguably fared best among G7 nations during and after the great recession, due partially to Harper’s support for the nation’s huge energy sector. Under Conservative rule, Canada was deemed the second-best country in the world to do business owing in part to the Tories’ low-tax agenda. And in addition to maintaining one of the strongest financial sectors in the world, Harper enhanced Canada’s global economic engagement with a succession of new trade deals. (Some of them — like the Canada-European Union trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership — are still in pre-implementation phases.) Though Harper has been the object of unusual animus from his own country’s elites and his domestic political opponents for “staining” Canada’s international good name, in 2015 the Reputation Institute reported that Canada is the most admired country in the world.

This might be why, despite some heated and substantive exchanges between Harper and Trudeau during an election debate focused on foreign affairs, there is actually significant overlap between the two leaders in terms of substance, if not style. Both advocate for strong bilateral ties with the United States and both believe the Keystone XL pipeline should be part of that relationship. Both leaders are free traders — Trudeau all but came out in favor of the TPP as the Harper administration negotiated it. Both, in wildly different ways, believe humanitarian considerations should animate Canadian foreign policy, whether through Harper’s maternal health initiatives or, for Trudeau, through enhanced development goals.

Where Trudeau and Harper have most differed is in the use of military force, or hard power, in pursuit of Canada’s interests and values. In particular, the two leaders squared off on Canada’s role in the fight against the Islamic State.

On March 30, the Conservative government used its majority in the House to approve an expanded Canadian combat mission against the Islamic State, as part of the U.S.-led coalition effort. Soon after, Royal Canadian Air Force fighter jets were authorized to attack the terrorists not only in Iraq, but also in Syria, to prevent the latter from becoming a “safe haven” for terror, according to Harper.

Trudeau’s parliamentary address before the mission extension vote was credible and balanced in its tone. While his comments are not always so mature — he’s stumbled by jokingly praising China’s authoritarianism and accusing Harper of chronically “whipping out our CF-18s [fighter jets] to show how big they are” — his parliamentary comments on the Iraq-Syria mission expansion conveyed a serious, if perhaps idealistic, view of international law and global affairs. He laid out the conditions under which the Liberals would support military missions. (As of last night, according to Agence France-Presse, Trudeau has already notified President Obama that he’s withdrawing Canadian air power from the fight in Iraq and Syria, though Canadian trainers will likely remain in northern Iraq.)

Trudeau’s four “core principles” on military deployments should provide some insight into his approach once he fully takes the reins of power.

Per his statement on the vote:

     –One, Canada has a role to play in confronting humanitarian crises in the world.

     –Two, when a government considers deploying our men and women in uniform, there must be a clear mission and a clear role for Canada.

     –Three, that the case for deploying [Canadian] forces must be made openly and transparently, based on clear and reliable, dispassionately presented facts.

     –Four, Canada’s role must reflect the broad scope of Canadian capabilities and how best we can help.


Placing humanitarian considerations at the top of the decision tree is notable — Trudeau has relentlessly slammed Harper on his predecessor’s management of the Syrian refugee crisis, calling for a much more ambitious Canadian response than the tentative, security-focused measures Harper authorized. Trudeau is justified in including mission clarity and reliable intelligence among his party’s conditions, since those factors should be table stakes for any discussion of military action anyway. The final factor, that Canadian missions need to best reflect the resources at the nation’s disposal, is the most politically fraught for a leader who has consistently taken a softer line on security issues than his predecessor. To advocates of a foreign policy rooted in hard power, it will look like an escape clause to potentially undermine any military action under any circumstances. After all, determining how “best we can help” will never be a merely utilitarian judgment in practice, but a political one. Until Trudeau grows into the role of prime minister and builds fluency in military affairs, he will need to remain on guard against that potential criticism from Conservatives.

To establish early credibility and his own foreign policy bona fides with Canadians and his global peers, though, Trudeau may choose not to play to the Conservatives’ strength on military issues. The decision to quit the airstrike campaign suggests as much. If the rookie PM can seize two upcoming diplomatic opportunities in particular, he could make serious progress tilting Canada back toward the peaceful, multilateralist power of his vision.

As fellow Canadian Geoff Dembicki argued in Foreign Policy earlier this month, Canada has an opportunity to shift the global dialogue on climate policy at December’s Paris summit. Politically, ushering in global policy progress at the summit could be a big, quick win for the new leader. The logic goes that Canada, as an advanced industrial economy with capacity for more ambitious climate action than it’s shown to date, is giving fossil fuel-dependent emerging economies an excuse to lag on climate control policies. By bringing Trudeau’s progressive environmental views to bear at the Paris summit, Canada could affect a tectonic shift in global climate politics.

Second, the United States recently achieved a diplomatic breakthrough to put peacekeeping back on the global agenda. Through intense lobbying, the Obama administration secured broad-based international support to enhance U.N. member states’ support for peacekeeping efforts by providing more troops and materiel. That’s music to Trudeau’s ears.

Canada is one of the principal architects of peacekeeping. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, took over as prime minister from Nobel Peace Prize winner Lester B. Pearson, who helped broker a solution to the Suez Crisis in 1956. From then on, Canada’s global brand — and the Liberal party’s conception of Canada’s role in the world — became deeply intertwined with the concept of peacekeeping. This new U.S.-led effort could give Canada a high profile international role that, in Trudeau’s view, “must reflect the broad scope of Canadian capabilities and how best we can help.”

By picking up the mantle of global leadership on these issues, while also building on his predecessor’s achievements on free trade, Trudeau could get a fast start on foreign affairs and fashion a global role for himself and for Canada that fits with his values and his party’s historic strengths.

And he wouldn’t even have to whip out his CF-18s.

Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2015, 12:21:36 »
In an article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Glove and Mail, Derek Burney and Fen Osler Hampson look at the foreign policy challenges facing our new, Liberal government:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/trudeau-to-get-a-quick-lesson-in-global-realities/article26912779/
Quote

Trudeau to get a quick lesson in global realities

DEREK BURNEY AND FEN OSLER HAMPSON
Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015

Derek H. Burney was Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. from 1989-1993. Fen Osler Hampson is a distinguished fellow and director of Global Security at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University. They are the authors of Brave New Canada: Meeting the Challenge of a Changing World.

The world is highly volatile and Canada’s prime-minister-designate will quickly confront a series of challenges to our national interests. As the harsh global realities and potentially combustible situations assert centre stage, nostalgic sentiments about peacekeeping and United Nations-centred multilateralism will not provide much of a prescription for relevance or effect.

As Henry Kissinger pointed out last week in The Wall Street Journal, the geopolitical order of the past 40 years is in shambles. Following his essentially unchallenged dismemberment of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now, for the first time, engaging militarily in a political and security vacuum in the Middle East. He intends to become the regional kingmaker, supplanting the United States. Mr. Kissinger rightly says that Islamic State now poses the greatest immediate threat to stability, and its destruction “is more urgent than the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad, who has already lost over half of the area he once controlled.”

But the U.S.-led coalition effort against IS is in disarray. Prime-minister-designate Justin Trudeau has signalled a “responsible” withdrawal from the combat mission against IS, and given the meagre results of the mission to date, that may not be too difficult to finesse. But it will do little to eradicate the terrorist menace. Along with the cancellation of Canada’s participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program, this recall will not sit well in Washington, and will not square with Mr. Trudeau’s statements that Canada seeks deeper and closer relations with the U.S.

Mr. Trudeau’s formal debut on the world stage will come at the G20 Leaders Summit in Turkey on Nov. 15. He will get a first-hand glimpse at the refugee crisis that is engulfing and threatening to destabilize the social and political fabric of Europe. That gathering will be followed in rapid succession by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Manila Nov. 18-19.

Mr. Trudeau will then head to Paris for the UN climate change conference that begins Nov. 30. He promised that he would convene a First Ministers meeting to iron out Canada’s position before Paris, but time is short, and forging a national consensus on meaningful carbon reductions is a tall order. Canada should not repeat the mistake it made at the Kyoto climate summit many years ago, which was to agree to hastily improvised targets without calculating the costs or consequences of implementation. Given the fragile state of the Canadian economy and the weak price of oil, which the International Energy Agency forecasts will remain low throughout 2016, Mr. Trudeau will also have to act prudently.

But it is the bilateral agenda with Washington that will be Mr. Trudeau’s most immediate challenge. High on the list is the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, signed by the outgoing Harper government; Mr. Trudeau will now be privy to the details. He will have to decide sooner rather than later that this is an agreement that he is prepared to endorse. If ratified – an open question in Washington – it will supersede NAFTA, and there is no going back.

Mr. Trudeau also confronts a list of thorny, bilateral irritants – U.S. restrictions on Canadian beef and on softwood lumber (the latest accord expired on Oct. 12), and Buy American provisions that discriminate against Canadian manufacturers. His challenge is not simply to change the tone of Ottawa’s dealings with Washington, but also to get Washington to change its own behaviour. If, as expected, Mr. Obama vetoes the Keystone XL pipeline, which Mr. Trudeau openly supports, that will become his problem. He would be wise to counter such a veto with a full endorsement of the Energy East pipeline that would at least give our oil exports more than a single, discount market. Americans understand leverage more than sentiment.

The prime-minister-designate would be well advised to initiate a strategic outreach to China in part to achieve a similar objective.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trudeau was a stunning success. But his energy, determination, sunny disposition and skills as a boxer will be even more in demand now. Foreign policy is a contact sport, and one that requires a clear strategy to win. As Sugar Ray Leonard once said, “I was painfully initiated into boxing, because the guys I fought were a lot bigger than me.” Welcome to the global ring, Mr. Trudeau, and, above all, don’t lead with your chin.


I wish we had a leader with more "bottom," but ...
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2015, 12:30:20 »
Quote
Trudeau’s four “core principles” on military deployments should provide some insight into his approach once he fully takes the reins of power.

Per his statement on the vote:
–One, Canada has a role to play in confronting humanitarian crises in the world.
–Two, when a government considers deploying our men and women in uniform, there must be a clear mission and a clear role for Canada.
–Three, that the case for deploying [Canadian] forces must be made openly and transparently, based on clear and reliable, dispassionately presented facts.
–Four, Canada’s role must reflect the broad scope of Canadian capabilities and how best we can help.

Since point four will be mostly vapourware, limited manpower and time expired equipment, this makes points one through three moot.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2015, 12:36:34 »
British journalist and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Dan Hannan, writing in the Washinton Examiner, says that, "The free world has lost its leader. In the absence of a vigorous American foreign policy, Canada's Stephen Harper supplied his own. For the better part of a decade, he energetically championed Western interests. He was serious about fighting terrorism, keen on free trade and prepared to deploy proportionate force in defense of freedom ... His defeat in last week's Canadian general election will be felt far beyond that sparse, chilly country. When other Western leaders fretted about Israel's 2006 Lebanon war, he gave his full backing to the Jewish state. When others dithered over Putin's invasion of Ukraine, he led international condemnation. Obliged to meet Vladimir Putin at a summit meeting, he was admirably curt ..."

We'll have to wait to see how the world, the big one outside of the beautiful young people in Montreal' and Toronto's café society, like Prime Minister designate Trudeau's foreign policies.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2015, 22:48:23 »
They like "Virtue Signalling", which is what most of the promises amount to.

They are much less interested in actual results, or the resources and work that needs to be done to achieve results, so long as they can always say they are for doing the right thing. So long as they can remain isolated from the results of their actions (or inactions in this case), they can continue to virtue signal their purity and belonging to the "correct kind" of people.

I wonder what they will do when George Orwell's "rough men" are no longer around to insulate them from the results of their choices?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline recceguy

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 13:21:58 »
British journalist and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Dan Hannan, writing in the Washinton Examiner, says that, "The free world has lost its leader. In the absence of a vigorous American foreign policy, Canada's Stephen Harper supplied his own. For the better part of a decade, he energetically championed Western interests. He was serious about fighting terrorism, keen on free trade and prepared to deploy proportionate force in defense of freedom ... His defeat in last week's Canadian general election will be felt far beyond that sparse, chilly country. When other Western leaders fretted about Israel's 2006 Lebanon war, he gave his full backing to the Jewish state. When others dithered over Putin's invasion of Ukraine, he led international condemnation. Obliged to meet Vladimir Putin at a summit meeting, he was admirably curt ..."

We'll have to wait to see how the world, the big one outside of the beautiful young people in Montreal' and Toronto's café society, like Prime Minister designate Trudeau's foreign policies.


Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.

Why is that so much of the world's political pundits & MSM (outside Canada) voice similar prose? Yet the Canadian MSM says opposite? ???

Must be that the world view is wrong ::)
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John G. Diefenbaker

Offline Colin P

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2015, 15:00:44 »
They like "Virtue Signalling", which is what most of the promises amount to.

They are much less interested in actual results, or the resources and work that needs to be done to achieve results, so long as they can always say they are for doing the right thing. So long as they can remain isolated from the results of their actions (or inactions in this case), they can continue to virtue signal their purity and belonging to the "correct kind" of people.

I wonder what they will do when George Orwell's "rough men" are no longer around to insulate them from the results of their choices?

I always tell people; "The Liberals were always much better liars than the Conservatives"

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2015, 14:53:33 »
In this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, John Ibbitson looks at how the new ministers might shape Canada's new, Liberal foreign policy:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/globe-politics-insider/what-trudeaus-cabinet-appointments-signal-for-canadas-foreign-policy/article27102079/
Quote

What Trudeau’s cabinet appointments signal for Canada’s foreign policy

SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

John Ibbitson
The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Nov. 04, 2015

Justin Trudeau intends to blend past Conservative and Liberal foreign policies into a single stream, with Canada once again a responsible environmental actor but also an aggressive free-trader.

By choosing Stéphane Dion as Foreign Minister, the new Prime Minister sends three messages. First, as a veteran of the Chrétien era and as a Quebecker, Mr. Dion’s appointment signals a return to a more pacific strain in Canadian foreign policy and a reluctance to become involved in foreign military entanglements. Mr. Dion will, with conviction, withdraw Canadian forces from the fight against the Islamic State. Future American presidents should expect a skeptical response when asking whether Canada is ready to join in the next military venture.

Unless, of course, that venture has been approved by the United Nations Security Council. Supporting the UN will once again be a priority of Canadian foreign policy, along with other multilateral forums such as the Commonwealth and la Francophonie. As well, expect a gradual rebalancing over time between the equal right of Israel to a secure existence and the Palestinian people to their own state.

Above all, combatting climate change is now a top foreign as well as domestic priority. In Paris next month, Mr. Dion will negotiate Canada’s renewed commitment to combat global warming. He, not Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, will head the cabinet committee on climate change. Fighting global warming has gone from last priority to first, as the federal government transitions from Conservative to Liberal.

Colin Robertson, a former diplomatic and current foreign-affairs analyst, observes that Canadian foreign policy has always balanced national interest with constructive internationalism. Under Mr. Harper, national interest held sway. “Stéphane Dion represents constructive internationalism,” said Mr. Robertson: a broad commitment to multilateral engagement, foreign aid (though little is known about the Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau) and collective security.

But Canada’s stance won’t be entirely Pearsonian—far from it. Mr. Trudeau has signalled in the past his strong support for the new government in Ukraine, a position strongly buttressed by Chrystia Freeland, the new Minister of International Trade, whose background is partly Ukrainian. Canada under the Liberals will remain firmly committed to confronting Russian aggression and defending NATO’s eastern flank, a key priority under Stephen Harper.

(And by the way, Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan has four tours of duty under his belt as a member of the Canadian Forces – three in Afghanistan and one in Bosnia – and will hardly be an isolationist voice in cabinet.)

Ms. Freeland can also be expected to aggressively pursue and expand upon the trade priorities of the Harper government. Her first order of business will be to ratify the trade agreements the Conservatives negotiated with the European Union and the 11 nations of the Trans Pacific Partnership. She will seek to improve trade relations with China, while also pursuing other Asian and Pacific opportunities.

“He’s picked a very high-profile trade minister, who is articulate, savvy, with an international reputation,” observes Fen Hampson, director of the Global Security and Politics program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Many diplomats privately complained that, under the Conservatives, trade issues overwhelmed foreign policy. They hoped that with the Liberals back in charge trade would be returned to the back burner, Mr. Hampson observed. But by combining the veteran Mr. Dion with the aggressive newcomer Mr. Freeland, Mr. Trudeau is choosing not to choose between the Chrétien and Harper legacies.

“I think it’s going to be a bit of both,” said Mr. Hampson. “It’s going to be salt and pepper.”

Along with substance, expect also a change of style, an urbane cosmopolitanism that had gone missing in the Harper years and that will emphatically be back under this new team. Everyone who is anyone will be visiting Ottawa for an earnest discussion with (or lecture from) Mr. Dion, a scintillating debate with Ms. Freeland, and a quiet but elegant dinner with Mr. Trudeau.

If style matters as much as substance in foreign affairs, then that could be the biggest change of all.


So, more of this, which is inexpensive and low risk ...

     

          ... and of this, which is a good thing ...

               

                  ... but less of this ...

                         and this: 
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
----------
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2015, 20:59:55 »
Since few people understand the relationships between the first two pictures and the second two, they will be left astonished at why there is a decline in all four of them together.....
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2015, 11:50:32 »
Former Canadian diplomat (1967 to 2003), scholar and Liberal activist* Michael Bell offers a Liberal triumphalist view of Canada's new foreign policy in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/canadas-new-foreign-policy-the-end-of-ideological-fantasies/article27248484/
Quote

Canada’s new foreign policy: the end of ‘ideological fantasies’

MICHAEL BELL
Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Nov. 13, 2015

Michael Bell teaches at Carleton University. He served as Canada’s ambassador to Jordan, Egypt and Israel.

We are at the beginning of a new era in Canadian diplomacy with the election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister. Our place in the international community is about to undergo a dramatic and positive change. The appointment of Stéphane Dion as the Minister of Foreign Affairs is a harbinger.

Although there will be many challenges, often insurmountable, and mistakes will inevitably be made, the new Prime Minister’s world view and his commitment to international norms could not be more different than that of his predecessor.

Stephen Harper, the world’s last neo-conservative leader, is no longer with us. His modus operandi in foreign affairs viewed the international community, most markedly characterized in his eyes by the United Nations, as a threat to his deeply held but exclusionist ideology. For him, the very concept of accommodation with others constituted moral relativism: a sellout.

The result: Canada was viewed abroad as an outlier, as a contrarian, as a force for disruption. Mr. Harper’s colleagues abroad found him most often difficult, if not impossible, to deal with. For the first time in our history, and to our great shame, Canada was voted down for a seat on the UN Security Council, so much had we lost the respect of others.

Life was miserable for Canadian diplomats at home and abroad, including those charged with UN affairs; we lost the chairmanship of UN committees traditionally ours for asking; we lost any role in its consultative processes. Mr. Harper and his long-time foreign minister, John Baird, snubbed the institution. Their political staffs: “The boys in short pants” were the enforcers.

With Mr. Trudeau’s election, those days are now past. For instance, after a single day in office, he called on Canadian ambassadors abroad to engage fully with the governments, civil society and media in their countries of accreditation.

In retrospect, it is astounding that the Canadian government’s aversion to evidence-based decision-making lasted as long as it did. It is astounding that diplomacy (most often a backstage craft) was confined to the dustbin. It was depressing that truth could never speak to power. It was intolerable that bureaucrats felt it necessary to ensure that analytical assessments were censored so that the ire of the man in power was not brought down on them.

With Mr. Harper’s electoral defeat, it now seems obvious that Canadians need engagement in a very complex world in which effective policies depend on a deep understanding of foreign cultures and reliable barometers of impending difficulties. We need more reliable eyes and ears out there, not fewer. My hunch is that Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Dion will give us just that.

The quiet exceptionalism of Canada, a country almost all others in the past had respected and valued, has returned, harking back to the days even beyond those of the Prime Minister’s father, Pierre, to the internationalism that characterized the work and persona of Lester Pearson.

Canada will re-embrace its most natural calling of multilateralism. Whether over climate change, a policy that the Conservative government had gutted, or the work of the G20, where Mr. Harper defied consensus decision-making, or the United Nations, which he regularly castigated.

Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Dion seem determined to act. They should provide leadership and innovation and play the facilitating role that used to be this country’s hallmark; this would enhance, not sacrifice, the pursuit of our national interests. Canada’s culture of pragmatic and pluralistic politics will probably become the natural counter to rising extremism around a world, where positive exemplars are desperately needed.

Increasingly dangerous geopolitics in Ukraine, the Middle East and the South China Sea and the increasing need for multilateral co-operation on global health, economic and environmental issues mean that Canada’s role as a diplomat and facilitator is needed now more than ever. We are unlikely again to see the gratuitous insults directed by Mr. Harper toward Russian President Vladimir Putin. There are much more effective ways to make the point and change the setting.

On more specific issues – such as peacekeeping in Africa, taking in refugees, nuclear proliferation or the Israel-Palestine conflict – the change may not be rapid, but a recalibration will take place. More Syrian refugees will be accepted, a dialogue with Iran will be pursued and Canada once again, without sacrificing our friendship with Israel, will probably play a useful middle ground on Israel-Palestine. We will devote our efforts to constructive answers for suffering regions rather than ideological fantasies.

Some things will go wrong, but there are countries out there, such as Brazil and India or even those in the limping European Union, that will see much utility with an actor such as our new Prime Minster and his ministry; re-engaging, ready to play an active role, rather than sitting on the sidelines and barking while global affairs deteriorate.

A self-confident, socially adept and thoughtful Prime Minister with a feel for issues and a commitment to socially enlightened change. An intelligent, erudite Foreign Minister with a compelling, Cartesian intellect.

What a change.


In my opinion ~ worth exactly what you're paying for it ~ Mr Bell exemplifies a 'school of thought' that one former senior civil servant and university fellow characterised as having "a soft heart and a head to match."

His view of Prime Minister Harper's policy ~ "[he] viewed the international community, most markedly characterized in his eyes by the United Nations, as a threat to his deeply held but exclusionist ideology. For him, the very concept of accommodation with others constituted moral relativism: a sellout," ~ is, in fact pretty accurate, but how I wonder should one view an organization, like the UN, that allows a Saudi Arabian delegate to lead a key human rights panel? Is it consistent with Canadian values? Or is it just plain crazy and proves only that we should we keep the UN at arm's length?

His view of Prime Minister Trudeau is that he is a "self-confident, socially adept and thoughtful Prime Minister with a feel for issues and a commitment to socially enlightened change." And that may be both fair and accurate, time will tell.

But his hope that "Canada will re-embrace its most natural calling of multilateralism. Whether over climate change, a policy that the Conservative government had gutted, or the work of the G20, where Mr. Harper defied consensus decision-making, or the United Nations, which he regularly castigated," is premature.

____
* Mr Bell was a member of Prime Minister Trudeau's campaign foreign affairs advisory team.


Edit: format
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 12:24:02 by E.R. Campbell »
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2015, 12:17:35 »
Former Canadian diplomat (1967 to 2003), scholar and Liberal activist* Michael Bell offers a Liberal triumphalist view of Canada's new foreign policy in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/canadas-new-foreign-policy-the-end-of-ideological-fantasies/article27248484/

In my opinion ~ worth exactly what you're paying for it ~ Mr Bell exemplifies a 'school of thought' that one former senior civil servant and university fellow characterised as having "a soft heart and a head to match."

His view of Prime Minister Harper's policy ~ "[he] viewed the international community, most markedly characterized in his eyes by the United Nations, as a threat to his deeply held but exclusionist ideology. For him, the very concept of accommodation with others constituted moral relativism: a sellout," ~ is, in fact pretty accurate, but how I wonder should one view an organization, like the UN, that allows a Saudi Arabian delegate to lead a key human rights panel? Is it consistent with Canadian values? Or is it just plain crazy and proves only that we should we keep the UN at arm's length?

His view of Prime Minister Trudeau is that he is a "self-confident, socially adept and thoughtful Prime Minister with a feel for issues and a commitment to socially enlightened change." And that may be both fair and accurate, time will tell.

But his hope that "Canada will re-embrace its most natural calling of multilateralism. Whether over climate change, a policy that the Conservative government had gutted, or the work of the G20, where Mr. Harper defied consensus decision-making, or the United Nations, which he regularly castigated," is premature.

____
* Mr Bell was a member of ]url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/trudeau-enlists-ex-military-officers-ambassadors-to-advise-on-foreign-policy/article22107500/]Prime Minister Trudeau's campaign foreign affairs advisory team[/url].

Sort of like Barack Hussein Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

The past few weeks have felt like I've been watching a Daytona 500 victory ceremony, you know, the part where Jeff Gordon gets covered in champagne.

There is so much self-flagellation going on it isn't even funny.

Offline GAP

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2015, 12:19:05 »
Lloyd Axworthy Ver. 2
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe

Offline Jed

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2015, 23:00:33 »
As the old man used to say: " I used to be a coyote, but I'm alright nooooOOOOWWW!"

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2015, 01:27:31 »
Bell's thoughts basically affirm my thought that it's back to "go along to get along".  Making the right, hard choices is beside the point.

>For the first time in our history, and to our great shame, Canada was voted down for a seat on the UN Security Council, so much had we lost the respect of others.

Apparently that really got up the nose of the palace courtier establishment.  I suppose they'll be admitted back into the circle of cool kids again, which is the really important thing.
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2015, 12:27:52 »
                  ... but less of this ...

                         and this: 

That was Mackenzie King's plan in 1938-39 as well.  Events in Paris, or something similar, may not give anyone the choice....
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2015, 13:36:19 »
Events my dear boy, events.

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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2015, 20:48:38 »
In this column, which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, Lawrence Martin, no friend to Prime Minister Stephen Harper or the Conservatives, suggests that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may need to abandon or, at least, modify some of the polices on which he campaigned and move closer to the Harper/Conservative foreign policy:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/after-paris-attacks-trudeaus-soft-power-already-under-fire/article27264347/?click=sf_globefb
Quote

After Paris attacks, Trudeau’s soft power already under fire

LAWRENCE MARTIN
Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015

The credibility of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy has taken a serious hit just as he embarks on his first foray to world capitals.

The Paris terror attacks are seen by many as testament to the need for hard power when dealing with the Islamic State – this while the new Canadian Prime Minister has been preaching, and was elected on, a soft power Liberal line.

Mr. Trudeau has pledged to withdraw Canada’s fighter jets from the U.S.-led mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. His plan instead is to increase humanitarian aid as well the number of Canadian soldiers training local forces like the Kurdish Peshmerga.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper frequently mocked this approach, saying at one campaign stop that “if your policy is humanitarian assistance without military support, all you’re doing is dropping aid on dead people.”

With 129 dead in Paris as a result of one of the worst terror outbreaks in decades, the pressure on Mr. Trudeau to change his position will now be enormous.

Canada’s contribution to the air strike campaign is a small one that does not put our military personnel in grave danger. It was hardly a big ask from the Conservatives to have the opposition parties come on board, but neither Liberals nor the NDP did so.

The Paris attacks also serve to put in question the Liberal government’s plan to quickly bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees. The Conservatives did not wish to go near that number in the short term, citing security concerns. Those concerns have just been dramatically heightened and if the Liberals push ahead with their plan, they are going to have a much harder time convincing the public that it is wise to move so quickly.

From the tone of comments posted on online news articles, public opinion is running strongly against the dovish Liberal plans. “Canada stands with the French people and is now in the process of gathering up all of our unicorns, rainbows and hugs to send to the French people,” said one poster. “Just don’t expect us to do anything, you know, like whip out our F18s or fight for our freedom.” Another wrote: “Good to know the Trudeau government and unmuzzled scientists and first ministers will be heading to Paris at the end of the month to talk about climate change, sunshine and butterflies.”

There were many calls for Mr. Harper, who may well be feeling a sense of vindication over what has happened, to return to the job.

An argument for Mr. Trudeau sticking to his pledges is that is that by a larger engagement against IS Canada becomes a higher priority target for its terror. The motive cited by one of the Paris terrorists was retaliation for the French government’s actions against Muslims. There is also the legacy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Neither are favourably viewed by Canadians.

Mr. Trudeau’s position is particularly sensitive because he is a newcomer on the world stage. In the campaign there were questions about whether he had the foreign policy chops. He put some of those fears to rest with his performance at the Munk debate on foreign policy.

The Paris attacks took place on the very day the Trudeau government publicized its mandate letters for newly appointed cabinet members. For Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan there was little in the way of specifics, but the letter spelled out one top top priority – end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq and Syria. Conservatives were quick to call for a debate and a vote in Parliament on the issue. That was hours before the Paris attacks.

A top adviser to Mr. Trudeau says his position on the airstrikes and the refugees will not change in view of the Paris bloodbath. But as the pressures ramp up, as they surely will, the new prime minister might indeed alter course. He won’t want to be seen as a flip-flopper. But when circumstances change, leaders of statesmanlike quality need to show a readiness to change with them. With the terror from Islamic State escalating, and with France promising to expand the war against the terror network, circumstances have indeed changed.

Yes, indeed, "events, dear boy, events."
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2015, 20:51:16 »
Yes, indeed, "events, dear boy, events."
And, as you've said elsewhere, a week can be a looooooong time ....
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2015, 05:55:07 »
There is some worry in the Liberal/Laurentian Elites anti-Harper camps about these events forcing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to back-peddle on his promises to make Canada, once again the peaceable, peace loving and peacekeeping country some dream it was, including, even, that staunch critic of Prime Minister Harper Terry Milewski who wrote this, which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from CBC News, for the CBC:

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/politics/paris-attacks-trudeau-isis-1.3319277
Quote

Trudeau and ISIS: Is the bombing still a bad idea?
After Paris, prime minister ponders his pledge to end the air war on Islamic State

Terry Milewski · Politics

14 November 2015


On Thursday, eight days after Justin Trudeau took office, two CF-18 fighters with laser-guided bombs screamed above the desert city of Sinjar, in northern Iraq.

Below lay a crucial artery for the so-called Islamic State: Highway 47, the main east-west route between ISIS headquarters in Raqqah, Syria, and the ISIS-held city of Mosul, Iraq.

On the ground, Kurdish forces were mounting an assault on the ISIS garrison at Sinjar in a bid to cut its supply line. The Canadian pilots' task was to take out an obstacle to the Kurdish advance: an Islamic State unit dug in to the east of Sinjar at Tal Afar. A second target was an ISIS ammunition store close to Sinjar itself.

Both targets were hit. The counteroffensive worked. With the aid of the Canadian, as well as U.S., pilots, plus Canadian special forces trainers on the ground, the Kurdish forces drove ISIS out of Sinjar. It was hailed as a "liberation" by the remaining Yazidi community, who had been massacred and enslaved by the Islamic State.

But... what happened to Justin Trudeau's pledge to bring the CF-18s home and end their participation in the war on ISIS? And will that pledge survive the massacre in Paris?

1,700 sorties, and still flying

Canada's six warplanes, with an airborne Polaris tanker and two Aurora surveillance planes, arrived at a base in Kuwait just over a year ago, on Oct. 30, 2014. Since then, their contribution to the coalition has been modest but certainly not insignificant.

As of Wednesday — Remembrance Day — Canadian planes had flown 1,731 sorties, according to the Department of National Defence. Of those, 1,109 were combat missions by CF-18 fighters, although they take a cautious approach to releasing their bombs and return without dropping them about two-thirds of the time.

In addition, the C-150 Polaris tanker flew 302 sorties, pouring nearly 8,160 tonnes of jet fuel into coalition aircraft. The two Auroras conducted a further 320 reconnaissance missions, gathering intelligence on ISIS movements.

So they've been busy. Their mission was laid out by the Conservative government in a resolution authorizing it in October 2014. "Unless confronted with strong and direct force, the threat ISIL poses to international peace and security, including to Canadian communities, will continue to grow," it said, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

Since then, has the threat diminished? The bloodbath in Paris says no.

An easy solution?

Upon his departure from Canada for the G20 summit in Turkey, Justin Trudeau ducked the question of whether he would reconsider his plan to bring the CF-18s home.

"It's too soon to jump to any conclusions," he told reporters at the Ottawa airport.

Previously, though, he has struggled to explain just why he opposed the bombing mission. In an interview on CBC's Power and Politics on June 23, he said the Harper government had failed "miserably" to show why it was the right mission for Canada. Instead, he preferred to enhance humanitarian efforts and to beef up the training mission by Canadian special forces in Iraq.

Trudeau was asked, ​"If you don't want to bomb a group as ghastly as ISIS, when would you ever support real military action as opposed to just training?"

Trudeau dismissed the question.

"That's a nonsensical question and you know that very well," he said. "The Liberal Party has always — and I have always — been supportive of Canada standing up for its values and taking action when necessary."

Trudeau went on, "The question I have for this government, which has failed miserably to do this, is to demonstrate why the best mission for Canada is to participate in a bombing mission."

He also noted that Western military intervention often doesn't end well. "Whether it's Libya or whether it's Iraq, it doesn't necessarily contribute to the kind of outcomes that people would responsibly like to see, and what I've committed to stay away from is the kind of easy solutions in a very complex area that this [Conservative] government has specialized in."

Less than five months later, what now? Is the bombing still just an "easy solution"? Asked repeatedly when the CF-18s will come home, Trudeau has sidestepped the question, saying he will withdraw them sometime, but "responsibly" and in consultation with Canada's allies. He never says when.

Does that mean Trudeau will break his promise? Not necessarily.

Oddly enough, he could keep it by sticking with Stephen Harper's plan. As it stands, the deployment ordered by the Conservative government extends to the end of March 2016. Trudeau, then, could honour his pledge by simply saying they will come home after that.

And after Paris, who will complain that it's not soon enough?

Not packing yet

Canada's pilots, and 600 supporting troops based in Kuwait, sure don't sound like they're packing up. The mission "continues for the time being under the mandate previously directed by government," says a statement by National Defence spokesman Capt. Kirk Sullivan.

The Armed Forces, Sullivan goes on, "stand ready to implement government of Canada direction when it comes and will liaise with coalition partners to investigate options and transition our military operations in the region."

So we're not going to leave our allies in the lurch. We're integrated into a coalition and we're not going to bail out suddenly.

"We are part of an alliance," the statement concludes, "and we will want to ensure this is done in a co-ordinated manner."

Bugging out — or stepping up?

But it's hard to imagine that the alliance, under U.S. leadership, will scale back its assault on ISIS in the wake of the Paris massacre.

Already, the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, has told the New York Times that, "If this doesn't create in the world a fierce determination to rid ourselves of this scourge, I don't know what will."

Nor does it seem that ISIS is in retreat after the defeat at Sinjar. Rather, it's going global, bragging that worse is to come.

"This attack is the first of the storm," said an Islamic State statement hailing the Paris horror, "and a warning to those who wish to learn. Allahu Akbar!"

Trudeau, then, has an out. Withdrawing the planes now won't look good. But, for at least another four months, he can keep them flying — and still keep a promise that now seems like a liability.

And in March? A lot can change by then.

So the hope ~ and, yes, boys and girls, hope is a viable COA for political analysts ~ is that those "events" will only pressure the prime minister to see this "roto" of the mission through, for a few more months, and that other "events" will occur that will give him reasons to return to the days of yore, from ...

   
                                                          This                                                                                          to                                                            this
                    Which has been a staple of Canadian foreign policy                                               which is what Canadians imagine their foreign policy might have been
                          since Jean Chrétien was prime minister
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2015, 06:44:58 »
But, Bill Curry, writing in the Globe and Mail, says, quite categorically that: "The deadly terror attacks in Paris will not lead Canada to change course on its two main policies in relation to Syria: welcoming 25,000 refugees this year and ending Canada’s bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria." He quotes a "senior official" from the PMO as saying that "the government stands by its refugee plan and its position on the role Canada should play in the Syrian conflict."
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2015, 06:53:51 »
He quotes a "senior official" from the PMO as saying that "the government stands by its refugee plan and its position on the role Canada should play in the Syrian conflict."
But that's what PMO's will say until The Boss decides otherwise - wait & see ....
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2015, 07:04:39 »
But that's what PMO's will say until The Boss decides otherwise - wait & see ....


Yes, but as I said elsewhere:

     The promise was and remains politically important: it's about hope and change ... the reason so many people voted for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; but

     Keeping the promise could unleash a political disaster ~ a terrorist admitted under the programme sets off a bomb in Montreal, killing Canadians ~ which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government cannot hope to survive.

If I had to guess, at this very moment, I would suspect that he might (can I be any less indefinite?) delay the refugee thing (maybe for quite a long time, hoping that the fickle public will forget the promise) and blame the security services but, still, pull the CF-18s out when this "roto" is finished.
It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Canada's New, Liberal, Foreign Policy
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2015, 07:14:10 »
If I had to guess, at this very moment, I would suspect that he might (can I be any less indefinite?) delay the refugee thing (maybe for quite a long time, hoping that the fickle public will forget the promise) and blame the security services but, still, pull the CF-18s out when this "roto" is finished.
And for maxiumum "we're not walking away effect," have plans firmly in place (and shared w/the public) about cranking up the training part of the mission against ISIS, also as promised:
Quote
.... We will refocus Canada’s military contribution in the region on the training of local forces ....
Meanwhile, David Akin has this from on the road w/PMJT:
Quote
We’d love to ask him that but 2nd day in a row: Trudeau not talking to travelling press here.
New boss, same as the old boss(es), when it's convenient?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 07:16:46 by milnews.ca »
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