DefMin Pete MacKay is gung-ho for Canada to join America's "pivot" to the Far East, a.k.a. the contaiment of China mission or, as I like to call it, Cold War II. Part of that requires the foreign basing rights MacKay is seeking to negotiate with Singapore and, of course, a handful of dandy, possibly somewhat stealthy, light bombers, the F-35. That's great but what about us, what about Canada?
The Harper regime may call its defence policy, "Canada First", but that seems, true to form, pretty misleading.
Canada once again faces a direct military threat. The opening up of the Arctic due to the steady loss of Arctic sea ice is escalating military tensions in the far north.
"A buildup of military forces around the Arctic amid growing excitement about its oil wealth has the ability to undermine stability in the region, a research paper has warned.
"According to the report – called Climate Change and International Security: the Arctic as a Bellwether – the military buildup is neither advisable nor a sensible peacekeeping measure, as it is increasingly designed for combat rather than policing.
"The paper, published by the US not-for-profit organisation, the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), warns: "Although the pursuit of co-operation is the stated priority, most of the Arctic states have begun to rebuild and modernise their military capabilities in the region. The new military programs have been geared towards combat capabilities that exceed mere constabulary capacity."
"It adds: "States such as Norway and Russia are building new naval units designed to engage in high-intensity conflicts. While this capability may be understood as prudent, the ability of rivals to intimidate or subdue with sophisticated weapons systems could, if collegiality falters, undermine diplomacy and stability in the region."
"The paper, authored by Rob Huebert from the University of Calgary and Heather Exner-Pirot of the University of Saskatchewan among others, said one of the biggest worries about the far north area was the enormous uncertainty of everything from the speed of sea ice melting to the price of commodities that could determine the pace of extraction."
As PostMedia reported yesterday, despite all his militaristic chest thumping, Harper knows he can't afford to make good his promises. The money simply isn't there. Something has to give. You might think that the costly and generally fruitless effort to serve as America's foreign legion might be something worth cutting especially if it diverts funds, personnel and attention from domestic defence requirements. Shiny trinkets like the F-35 that are essentially useless in Canada's north should be left on the toy store shelves and we should look for something both cheaper and that can do a better job of securing our homeland.
It's time to really put Canada First.