Another week, another defense procurement blunder by the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC). This time it is the much-maligned jet procurement file. After unwisely canning the F-35 acquisition plans as per their election promise, the government found itself in a bind. Trudeau’s puzzling electoral announcement came back to bite them in the hind parts. While a free and fair competition would be held, the F-35 would not be included in such competition (for whatever reason). This commitment was nothing more than blatant electioneering, an attempt by the then third party to capitalize on the generally negative public perception of the F-35 file helped along by a healthy dose of disinformation by our state media. Excluding the contradictory aspect of this statement (how can a competition arbitrarily exclude one product and still be called fair and transparent), it created a rather complex problem for Harjit Sajjan’s DND. While the F-35 is likely the only reasonable option if we wish to operate a fifth-generation fighter and keep Canada current in the air power department, the boss just eliminated that option for the sake of differentiating himself from the opposition.
Photo credit: A night time shot of the Toronto skyline. Photo/Timur Gabaidulin. Follow Timur’s work here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tgiam/7756964304/in/dateposted/
One of the results of North America’s security between two oceans has been a lack of geopolitical thinking. There is even a school of thought – encouraged by Alexander Dugin and similar writers – that America and the Anglosphere receive cultural traits like individualism and ideological thinking from their oceanic existence. On the flipside, Russia and other land civilizations think religiously and geopolitically, analyzing in terms of power and not ideology. But let’s dig beyond that. In fact, Canada has always by necessity thought more geopolitically than its southern neighbour. This is to no small extent because of the proximity of said neighbour – we are Pierre Trudeau’s mouse in the shadow of the elephant. Our whole policy from the American Rebellion, through the Imperial era, up until the turning focus on Pacific relations, has been forwarded with the fact of our continental neighbourhood in mind. Unfortunately, geopolitics in the Canadian mind has been reduced primarily to military and economic matters. Since the end of the cold war, the latter has dominated. But in this age of strife across global borders, we must increasingly consider a more civilizational approach to geopolitics. In this piece, we will consider Canada’s position as an opportunity.