Getting it right

A few days ago I said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had gotten things wrong, again, regarding India. Now I see, in an article in the South China Morning Post, that the British Prime Minister has gotten things right. The article says that “British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited India, South Korea and Australia to the Group of Seven summit meeting next year, as the US and Europe seek to build a wider alliance against China’s growing power … [and] … Johnson’s office announced that he had extended the offer to Indian, South Korean and Australian leaders to take part in the meeting, scheduled next year in Britain, “delivering the prime minister’s ambition to work with a group of like-minded democracies to advance shared interests and tackle common challenges”.

The biggest “common challenge” is how to contain China in the next two or three decades.

Australia, India and South Korea all belong in any sort of useful G-X. IF, as I believe it should, some sort of a G-X, some Brits are calling it the D-10, is to represent “like-minded democracies” then I think that the European Union ought not to be invited, and France and Italy should probably be excluded, because both are, at best, illiberal democracies, but either or both of those, I suspect, would be impossible. But a nw group should include the Netherlands, which is one of the world’s top 20 economies ~ Canada is #10, and Singapore and, maybe, for broader representation and as an entrée into the Muslim world, Jordan, too. That might make it a D12 or 13: America, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, but that’s a quibble. The D-10 is enough, for now.

So, well done Prime Minister Johnson!

But, commenting on this welcome development, on social media, former senior policy advisor to Canada’s prime minister and former Canadian Ambassador to China, David Mulroney, said:

And that gets us to the nub of Canada’s foreign policy problem: we keep showing up at the wrong meeting. Canada does that because we have failed to keep up, politically and strategically, with the world. Canada appears to think that these meetings are held so that our political leaders can do some domestic electioneering. I have a message for Canadians: None of Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison or Xi Jinping care that Justin Trudeau is prime minister if Canada ~ some of them care so little that they probably have to stop and think about who the prime minister of Canada actually is. They don’t care about his domestic agenda. They do care, all of them, about Canada, because we are a rich and potentially important country, and they all want to know what Canada plans to do about this, that and the other pressing issue of the day. They just don’t care about Justin Trudeau ~ in fact indications are that many of them hold him, personally, as a leader, in low esteem.

But the problem is not just Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In fact Canada’s foreign policy problems go back decades, all the way back to his father’s decisions to replace Canada’s coherent grand strategy, which had served both Conservative and Liberal governments for over 20 years, with a mish-mash of silk-stocking-socialist, anti-American and isolationist clap-trap. At about the same time, Pierre Trudeau set about dismantling reforming remodelling the Canadian foreign service, once the envy of the world, which he appears to have considered narrow-minded, elitist and less that representative of Canada, as he wanted it to be and to be seen.

The Puppet Trudeau Blank Template - Imgflip

Later, Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin Jr and, most recently, Stephen Harper all tried to move Canada’s foreign policy back towards the St Laurent model, in which Canada played the role of a leading middle power, but none was able to muster the resources, especially not the political capital, needed for the task. Canadians wanted to be “entitled to their entitlements,” and they didn’t want to spend blood and treasure unless there was a direct, measurable threat to their own standard of living. That, removing Canada from the “corridors of global power” and making us a “bit player” on the world stage, was Pierre Trudeau’s legacy. His son, and, more importantly, the people who pull his strings, seem to think it is the only appropriate role for Canada.

So, while Boris Johnson and Joe Biden and Scott Morrison and other leaders …

… will be trying to build a coalition of “like-minded democracies” ~ a “committee to save the world,” which may be possible now that Donald J Trump is poised to leave the corridors of global power, what will Justin Trudeau be doing? If we go by past experience he will be at the wrong meeting. Oh, he’ll be in the room, of course, but he’ll not quite understand why he’s there and everyone else will know that he doesn’t know, so …

… and neither will François-Philippe Champagne or Chrystia Freeland or Katie Telford know why he’s there …

… all of them will assume the the Laurentian Elites‘ domestic election agenda is all that matters. Many, far too many Canadians will likely agree.

So, while President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson and EU President Ursula von der Leyen are building a new group which will be senior (in importance) to the G-20 and more effective than the United Nations Security Council, Canada’s vital interests will be, largely ignored unless they happen to coincide with those of e.g. Australia, India and South Korea.

Of course, there’s a possible alternative to that. Canada could get it right, for a change. IF Prime Minister Trudeau takes Canada into a general election in the Spring (and assuming that Prime Minister Johnson doesn’t convene the D-10 meeting until late summer or early fall, when it can, likely, be held face-to-face) then Canadian voters could put their national interest ahead of whatever Justin Trudeau promises ~ which we must all know, by now, that he will not even try to keep ~ and elect a competent, ethical Conservative team headed by Erin O’Toole:

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

4 thoughts on “Getting it right

  1. Key word “like minded country’s “. Unless Trudeau is gone and gone soon we are toast. Think about that eastern Canada. Next step for parts of the West is going it alone if he’s elected again.

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