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Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject: Andrew Coyne: Freeland's speech is clear -- and radical. Reply with quote

Quote:
Andrew Coyne: Defiant anti-Trump message in Freeland’s speech is clear — and radical
Andrew Coyne | June 7, 2017 8:31 PM ET

It is the context, not the content of Chrystia Freeland’s speech to Parliament Tuesday that makes it radical.

In any other context but the present, the foreign policy the minister laid out, in what was clearly intended to be taken as a Major Statement, would be regarded mostly as an anodyne recitation of liberal/Liberal nostrums: multilateralism, a rules-based international order, free trade, all laced with the usual “the world needs more Canada” self-congratulation and moral preening.

Indeed, by tying foreign policy to “upholding progressive Canadian values,” the minister was able to repackage every other Liberal chestnut — multiculturalism, feminism, bilingualism — as an emanation, not of that party’s particular brand of clientelism, but of Canada itself. Again, pretty much par for the course.

To be sure, the speech’s assertion of the irreplaceable role of “hard power,” its clear-eyed endorsement of the “principled use of force,” where necessary, as part of our foreign policy, its stress on “pulling our weight” and “doing our fair share” in international military councils, rather than accepting the “client state” status implied by relying solely on the U.S. to defend us, are not the sorts of notes we have been accustomed to hearing from Liberal ministers. But I would suppose they sound like common sense to most Canadians.

It is the times we live in, rather, that made the speech of note. In an age in which virtually every one of the institutions and assumptions of the postwar international order are under strain, if not under attack, the mere assertion of their enduring worth, together with a determination to work with others in their defence, can be made to sound like a radical departure.

And while the minister listed several challenges to that order — “Russian military adventurism,” ISIL terrorism, the rise of China and the South as counterweights to the Western powers, and the “crisis of confidence” in globalization among the West’s electorates — her primary concern was unmistakable: the abdication of American leadership, under a president she declined to name.

The minister was right not to make it personal, or to imply that Donald Trump was somehow sui generis: he was, after all, elected, by millions of voters who were “animated in part by a desire to shrug off the burden of world leadership.” So, too, she was right to acknowledge the reality of that burden, the vastly disproportionate contribution of the United States, “in blood, in treasure, in strategic vision.”

But there was no sugar-coating the message: if the United States was unwilling to lead, its erstwhile allies would have to pick up the slack, Canada included. With America having “come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership,” she said, the task now was “for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course.” For Canada’s part, it would seek to play “an active role in the preservation and strengthening of the global order.”[emphais added]

Indeed, though she did not say so, the task is much more than that: not just to repair the gap in the international order left by the departing Americans, but to repel Trump’s attacks on it. Whether refusing to endorse Article Five of the NATO treaty — the collective defence clause at the heart of the alliance — or threatening to tear up NAFTA, or encouraging the breakup of the European Union, or pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump is in some ways a more significant challenge to the West than Russia or China. We do not, after all, expect the threat to come from within.

Still, for the Canadian government to so publicly signal a break with the U.S. administration, however gently, regretfully, or temporarily (“with open hands and open hearts extended to our American friends”), is breathtaking. Coming on the heels of similar comments from Germany’s Angela Merkel, and the exasperated, even mocking reports of Trump’s performance at the recent G7 meeting, it suggests the appeasement phase of international diplomacy vis-a-vis Trump, in which world leaders, our own among them, competed to court his favour, is over. The containment phase has begun.[emphasis added]

The question is, why now? What’s changed? It is surely not coincidental that this external common front should have emerged just as Trump’s internal woes have multiplied. His legislative agenda, such as it is, stalled; hundreds of senior offices unfilled; cabinet officers directly contradicting his own statements; multiple investigations into his associates’ dealings with the Putin regime, and his efforts to suppress those investigations, closing in; and most seriously of all, a plummeting popular approval rating, to levels never seen so early in a presidency: the signs of Trump’s growing weakness are everywhere.

I don’t think we’d see this sort of insubordination if Trump were polling in the 60s. As it is, Trump’s opponents, domestic and foreign, have been emboldened. Indeed, Freeland’s speech contained an extraordinary pledge: to work directly with Trump’s critics, “at all levels of government and with partners in business, labour and civil society,” to circumvent his administration’s opposition to action on climate change.

I don’t want to overstate this. It’s worth noting that the promised “substantial investment” in military capacity, fleshed out in the following day’s defence policy review, fits neatly with Trump’s demands for NATO partners to ante up more. A cynic might say the minister’s statement had the virtue of dressing up compliance as defiance.

Still, there is no doubting the change of tone, if not direction. For the time being, at least, the world is prepared to get along without America.
http://news.nationalpost.com/f.....nd-radical


Andrew is right to give us this warning. It seems like Freeland is going to war with Trump. Not smart, in my book. Part of the speech prepared Canadians for an increased military burden. But there is no way we can pay enough to defend ourselves. We have the second biggest land mass in the world to defend, to start with, with a thin population. We need the military protection of the USA, just as they need to keep other powers out of Canada. For me, this is fantasyland creeping into our foreign policy analysis of the situation.

If he is right, and she is going after Trump because he's down at the moment, I think she's making a big mistake. She should be getting information about what he wants from Canada, and then we can discuss fixing the problem. Believe me, Canada is the smallest of offenders! She should be dissociating Canada from Mexico in this, and trying to get on Trump's "problem solved" list.

This isn't a negotiation between two equals. This is a negotiation between a superpower with a huge economy, and a country with 10% (or less) of its size and heft. It's not a time to get all puffed up, as Justin is wont to do.
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freeland made her speech to please the drum-banging base at home;

Then the very next day Harjit Sajjan makes an announcement doing exactly what the President demanded of NATO allies.

This Government is doing a very effective Jean Chrétien two step.
Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you really think the additional military spending will allow us to 'chart our own sovereign course'? We can't even put one division on the ground, to defend the second biggest territory on earth! North Korea, with a smaller population than Canada's, has 400,000 people in its army alone. We will be as dependent on the Americans as ever.

It is, however, one of Trump's most legitimate points. Most of NATO has underfunded their military commitment for decades, going back to the 1950ies.
Bugs





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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I reflect on this, I think I agree with you, Trudeau's government is complying while mouthing the words of challenge. I suspect the wiser course would be to comply verbally, but drag your feet on the actual procurement, and wait out the eight years. (I say this despite my own preference for a strong military for Canada.)

(As for Freeland pandering to the homies ... I dunno, on that one. I think she comes to verbal aggression very easily. I think she genuinely sees Trump as a political enemy that she is willing to do her part to destroy. Don't forget, she came back from the US for a big political job, just like Iggy.)

People have to stop thinking Trump doesn't represent an important part of America. He does. He is the one chosen to be president because he gave voice to an attitude that exists in the country. He rallied the elements of a new coalition, but that coalition is now one of the most stable formations in the electorate. Nothing seems to shake his bedrock support except charges of racism.

A lot of Americans feel that the way things were being run in the Bush-Obama era -- sixteen years -- was against their interests. Now they have a president who genuinely wants to 'fix' America, by which he means to make it efficient, strong, and fiscally stable. He means to reclaim American industry, nothing less. What the public likes about Trump is that, compared to professional politicians, he's a plain-talker who keeps his promises. When he;s gone, they'll look for another.

He will probably ultimately fail. Most politicians do. But it is important for Canadians to understand that this is a tipping point in history. Things aren't going to go back to 1990's America, no matter what. On the otHer hand, they are our only foreign customer, and that's the root problem. We don't have choices.

Canadians have to start a conversation about how to react to that. We should be thinking in terms of what we can salvage out of NAFTA, and what we are willing to concede. The smart guys should be laying out the alternatives so we know what our choices are likely to involve.

This is a time when we should be up on our toes, flexible, fast, and opportunistic rather than trying to be ponderously attached to an ideology -- environmentalism -- that is part of the problem Trump is trying to find a solve.
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
Do you really think the additional military spending will allow us to 'chart our own sovereign course'? We can't even put one division on the ground, to defend the second biggest territory on earth! North Korea, with a smaller population than Canada's, has 400,000 people in its army alone. We will be as dependent on the Americans as ever.

It is, however, one of Trump's most legitimate points. Most of NATO has underfunded their military commitment for decades, going back to the 1950ies.


Can we chart our own sovereign course?
Not a chance.

However, I would argue that is why we were so eager to sign onto NATO day one after it became clear our previous colonial overlords didn't have the interest in protecting our interests any longer.

We get a lot of the benefit of being a NATO nation and a minimal cost;
Moving our Military commitment closer to the 2% of GDP is a step in the right direction.
Bugs





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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mean this as anything else but an exploration of alternatives, at a layman level.

You will notice that China -- China! -- is placating Trump and signalling that it is open to proposals. It has opened its domestic markets to American beef. Good for China. But the point is that, if China sees the importance in bending a little, why not Canada?

I both agree and disagree with Cosmo's comments about Canada talking one way and acting another. I think Ms Freeland's reflexive attitude is one to stand up to the bully. That's these trade deals are always presented in the media -- the wronged little nation standing up to the bullying one.

A system of trade is supposed to benefit both parties in the transaction. This one has been 'gamed' to the point where the USA has to look at changing things. $Trillions have been pumped out of their economy, with no end to those trends in sight. The permanent 'gains' have gone elsewhere, while the transient pleasures of consumption leave only a disposal problem at the end.

Canada should help to solve the problem. The permanent gains haven't gone to Canada, after all. We should also 'get something' out of the changes. If we end supply management, and get the subsidies out of lumber, what have they got to offer in return? How about free access to their labour markets?

Fundamentally, we are not the problem. Jobs are not leaving America to go north.

That's how I feel. I also resonate to the 'Oh yeah?" feelings Ms Freeland expresses, but I just don't see how that gets us anywhere. How can you be a nationalist at the same time you're promoting an international trade system?
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Andrew Coyne: Freeland's speech is clear -- and radical.

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