The overpriced, overdue and under-performing F-35 could actually weaken the defences of America and her allies, including Canada. Even pretending, for the sake of argument, that the Lockheed light attack bomber could meet the expectations we all had for it at its inception, the sheer cost of the project, especially at a time of austerity, is crippling.
The hard-right Washington Examiner compares the F-35 to France's Maginot Line.
Between the two world wars, France chose to build an impregnable defense against the sort of invasions it suffered in 1870 and 1914. The Maginot Line was over 900 miles long, took 10 years and cost billions of francs to build. The Germans rendered it irrelevant in 1940 by driving their tanks around it.
When it comes to defence budgets, the F-35 is a money magnet. It sucks money that could be put to better use for other things. Some purchasers, like the Netherlands, have tried to cope by paring their orders. The Dutch initially planned to buy 85 light bombers. They're now in for just 37. Perhaps 37 would do less damage to the Dutch than being on the hook for 85.
As an untried and unproven weapon system, the F-35 is a potential basket full of surprises. We're told what it can do but that's a lot like listening to a salesman pitch a car he won't let you take for a drive. Every other warplane on the market is available for testing and evaluation. Only the most expensive allows you to kick the tires only after your cheque has cleared the bank.
The Germans knew the Maginot Line was too tough to crack but they also knew that didn't matter if they were willing to send their tanks pouring through the Ardennes forest. And so they did and so France fell.
The F-35 boasts the invincibility of stealth technology. While the airplane has been mired in development challenges and setbacks, its intended adversaries, Russia and China, have made good use of their time unlocking the secrets of America's stealth technology, developing and fielding counter-stealth systems and even producing their own stealth warplanes that, quite by coincidence I'm sure, will be operational about the same time as the F-35 (if we're lucky).
A few years ago it was reported that the Chinese were pleased at the acceptance of the F-35 as the default warplane for the West. They were happy because they were confident it could be countered and would, like the Maginot Line and the French, drain the defence budgets of America and her allies.