Friday, February 8, 2008

Canada 'applying leverage' upon allies

Roger Annis of writes on the Rabble site, summing up the latest developments in the politics of Canada's war. Excerpt:

... A game of diplomatic chicken with NATO

[The role of European NATO countries] in Afghanistan is a central focus of Manley's recommendation, and a controversial one. The report says Canada should vigorously pressure and shame its allies in Europe to commit more troops to Afghanistan and engage more actively in combat.

In a January 23 editorial, the Globe and Mail writes, "What Mr. Manley proposes is a game of diplomatic chicken, but it is one that Mr. Harper cannot avoid."

The editorial continues, "…it is a pitiful abdication of responsibility for larger countries such as France and Germany to refuse to assign another 1,000 [soldiers]…"

But what if the "allies" are not persuaded, or if they don't take kindly to being blamed for the war's failings? It's a dilemma of which Manley and the government are acutely aware. They are careful to avoid describing their demands on NATO as blackmail or threats. Manley says the preferred term is "applying leverage."

The failure of Canadian "aid"

... Senator Colin Kenny, chairperson of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, says getting explanations from CIDA is like grasping at air. He told CBC Radio's The Current on January 22, "We haven't been able to find out what they [CIDA] are doing," despite extensive research by his committee. When members of his committee went to Afghanistan to examine aid projects firsthand, they were prevented from doing so by the Canadian military, who said it was "too dangerous" to venture outside the barbed wire military compound where they were housed.

Kenny said that when his committee met the government minister for CIDA, Beverley Oda, last year, they heard nothing but "gobbledegook" and "didn't get a straight answer from her in an hour and half." ... (Part 1 here; Part 2 here.)

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