Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Harper Knows How to Walk Away from International Commitments, Why Is He Stuck On the F-35?

Steve Harper knows how to weasel out of commitments.   Remember how we were in Afghanistan "to stay" until we had the Taliban crushed and the country safe for democracy?   Harper wrung every drop of political gravy he could squeeze out of that one and then walked way.  Then he upped and walked out on the Kyoto climate change pact, making Canada the first and only signatory to bail.

Yet he still claims to be firmly behind the proposed purchase of the Lockheed Martin F-35.   Italy has just announced it will be paring its order, if and when that comes, by 30%.  Then again, Italy claimed it was going to get 131 F-35s for 15 billion Euros. That was wishful thinking.  Britain has cut its intended buy and has said it will hold its decision on a go ahead until 2015.  Australia is holding.   Even America, which was to have ordered 2,400 of the damned things has postponed an initial order of 175 aircraft to allow "more time for testing."

Each delay, each cancellation bumps the price of F-35s that are ordered, eventually, sometime, maybe.   Lockheed has told Canada that the US postponement of its initial order will increase our price by an unspecified "single digit."   Single digit indeed.

Now, in a sane world, the supplier who delays delivery gets dinged for the costs of not performing.  The buyer doesn't pay for that.  He's pissed off enough already because he hasn't got his stuff.  But, when it comes to the F-35, Lockheed somehow gets to add its screw ups to the customer's tab?

Just last week the Pentagon's purchasing agent, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Frank Kendall, lambasted the F-35 programme as "acquisition malpractice."  He said America will pay a bloated price for ordering the F-35 into production years before its first test flight.   And they'll be passing along that bloated price for their malpractice to other nations still willing to buy the F-35, nations such as Canada.

Question.   If the American military-industrial complex screwed up, why should it get to lay part of the costs of that onto its allies?  Why should we be asked to clean up the Pentagon's mess?  Isn't that sort of like asking the patient to help pay for the doctor's malpractice?

Bear in mind that bloated costs are just one problem for the F-35 buyers.   Anytime you're paying a big premium for the "latest and greatest" technology, you're buying a thoroughbred race horse.  It only has a limited number of years when it can possibly be a winner and, after that, it has to be put out to pasture (or worse).   The F-35 is already getting long in the tooth for a technology that was supposed to be delivered and in service years ago.  It's still years off, possibly many years distant.   That gives its potential adversaries all the time in the world to prepare for the day it does pose them any threat.

But time is not on Harper's or the F-35's side.  We're already hearing faint rumblings about maybe cutting Canada's order.   Fewer jets for the same money.  That sounds like a bargain doesn't it?  That makes a joke out of Harper's claim that the 65-aircraft were just enough to do the job.   Hell, if the Arctic does heat up as expected, 265 probably won't be enough.   This is as farcical as trying to control Kandahar province with just 1,000 fighting soldiers and we all know how well that turned out.

The big question now is what country is going to run cover for Harper?   He hasn't got the guts to do this himself, notwithstanding Kyoto.   No, this means messing with the Americanos, the same bunch he's been beating over the head with threats to divert Athabasca bitumen to China.   Leading a F-35 walkout would make Harper look like the most anti-American Canadian prime minister of all time.  


Anonymous said...

Poor Mr. Harper and who cares what the Americans think...we have enough to care about in this country...which seems to be going to hell in a hand basket.

Anonymous said...

We were only getting 65 to start with and now we're getting less? Those won't have a hope of defending the country from the communist boogieman.

Even imagining invincible stealthy F35s we'll run out of missiles long before China runs out of targets.

Lacking invulnerable aircraft, it's even worse. The saying about quantity having a quality all of its own is true. More analytically, Lanchester's Square Law states that the power of a military force exchanging aimed fire is proportional to the square of the number of its units. Numbers count more than effectiveness does.

Anonymous said...

Those jets don't have a very far range, because of their fuel capacity. Canada is a vast country to protect.

The jets also only have one engine. With two engines, the pilot can land the jet with one engine, if there are problems. With one engine, the pilot has to eject and the plane is lost. Those jets have far too many, on going dangerous problems.

We want our military pilots to be as safe as possible. I just don't see, how a jet with one engine is safe for them.

As far as Communist China goes, they can have a two hundred million member military. China also has Russia as an ally. They can overrun many country's at the same time, with pure people power.

Harper has been itching to attack Iran. However, both Russia and China are supporting Iran. Harper has been quiet about that lately. He wants to sell China, the dirty tar sands oil. Harper will do nothing to oppose China. Russia has said, it would be a mistake to attack Iran.

China has been crowding, the South China seas. The Philippines have islands rich in resources. Seems China wants those resources. The Philippines have asked the U.S. to arm them, so they can protect their resources from China.

China and Russia have blocked any assistance of country's, wanting to step into Syria to stop the killing.

Since Harper's majority, Canada has steadily gone downhill. Other country's don't like Harper. The New Trans Pacific trade group, have blocked Harper out. Harper was not permitted a seat in the U.N.

Other country's see Harper destroying Democracy in Canada. He has taken our Civil Rights and Liberties away from us. Now he wants to take Canadians Freedom of Speech away from us, by snooping on the internet.

The Mound of Sound said...

There is much in what you say, Anon. The F-35 is really a poor choice for Canada's needs. Range, single engine, agility and payload all suffer for a supposed stealth capability that will likely be neutralized.

The Chinese situation is complex and fluid. Those are two qualities that are difficult for Harper's character. He doesn't have much appetite for nuance. Then again, if he won't let facts prevail over his instincts, what use could he have for nuance?

Trudeau's credo was "reason over passion." Instincts inform passion, facts inform reason. Hence Harper's credo would be "passion before reason." It's a very immature and selfish way of thinking but that's plainly to Harper's liking.

I agree that Harper is undermining Canadian democracy but, again, he's following the lead of his idols in the radical Republican movement to the south.