About three months ago I commented on some speculation that the Trudeau cabinet, under pressure from the Trump Administration, was going to boost defence spending from just under 1% of GDP to about 1,2%. Now, it’s no secret that I think President Trump is far, far less than an adequate leader … I seriously doubt that he can really manage anything important much less lead the “free world,” in fact I think he’s what we, in the military, used to call a “ding-a-ling.” That being said, I concluded, back in March, that “President Trump may have pushed Canada in the right directions.“
In an editorial, the Globe and Mail more or less agrees, noting that spending will rise to about 1.3% of GDP (depending on the measures used), and:
- “Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan unveiled his long-awaited review of defence policy. The spin around it is finely spun, but beneath, the Liberal government’s new military clothing is exceedingly modest;”
- “Even if the Trudeau government wins a second majority government mandate, and then a third, Canada will still be nowhere close to meeting the NATO defence spending target of two per cent of GDP;”
- “The aim of the defence plan laid out on Wednesday is to allow the Canadian Forces, a decade from now, to be able to do roughly what the Canadian Forces were doing, a decade ago;” and
- “The Trudeau government nevertheless is promising to spend more on defence – not less. It is promising to reverse the decline in the Canadian Forces, not accelerate it. And it’s promising to greenlight the two biggest tickets items, fighter jets and combat ships, despite huge price tags and massive cost escalation. This is not nothing.“
I agree. It’s not nothing; it does arrest the ongoing decline in Canada’s “hard power,” which must happen if we ever want to be able to use whatever “soft power” we can have. That’s something, but, as the Globe and Mail says, it’s a very, very modest something.
So, I suppose thinking, responsible Canadians need to say and equally modest “thank you” to the
village idiot president of the USA for pushing Prime Minister Trudeau into doing the right thing, even if the right thing is for the wrong reasons …
… and goes against his own preferences and beliefs.