Mark Collins – Justin Trudeau vs the Jihadis: All You Need is Love

Further to the “Comments” at this post on Canada’s not being invited to the “core” anti-ISIS coalition meeting in Paris January 20, and further to the two stories at the end of this post, the Globe and Mail’s Québec columnist gets to the heart of our new prime minister’s policy Weltanschauung (and note at the end Italian and Australian troop numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan):

Where is the PM when Quebec needs him?

Terrorism doesn’t fit into Justin Trudeau’s sunny views. The Prime Minister didn’t see fit to join the hundreds of Quebeckers who gathered on Monday to honour the memory of the six Quebeckers killed by Islamist terrorists in Ouagadougou, although the day before he made a point of visiting a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., that had been damaged by arson…

The Paris attacks [by ISIS last November, more here] were not enough to change his plan to recall Canadian fighter jets from the coalition fighting the Islamic State. He stuck to his candid pacifist stand [see ‘Canada vs ISIS: “we sanctimoniously pat ourselves on the back for our pacifism”‘] even as the other members of the coalition were stepping up their military efforts. The result is that Canada has lost its standing among its allies.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was shut out of a high-level strategic meeting between the coalition partners being held Wednesday [Jan. 20] in Paris. Even Italy and the Netherlands will be represented, but Canada’s chair will be empty [“…U.S. military leaders believe that the coalition is gaining ground on IS. And they are hoping that the six core nations (plus the US) can reach out to other countries to encourage them to contribute to the operations to capitalize on the progress…”].

The government hasn’t yet announced the plan that is supposed to replace the fighter jets’ mission [see Operation IMPACT]…

Former prime minister Stephen Harper was too warlike. Now, we have the other extreme: a prime minister who hates conflicts and sees the world through a New Age prism in which everything can be solved with love and understanding. Unfortunately, the country he leads doesn’t live in a dream world…

Now what the US defense secretary just said in Paris:

US, allies agree to intensify fight against Islamic State

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday that defense ministers from France and five other nations have agreed to intensify the campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and that the coalition will work together to fill the military requirements as the fight unfolds over the coming months.

Speaking at a news conference with France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Carter said there was broad agreement on a coordinated plan to battle IS over the next year and take back key cities in Iraq and Syria from the militants.
“We agreed that we all must do more,” Carter said shortly after a working lunch with Le Drian and defense ministers from France, Australia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Carter also announced that the 26 nations in the anti-IS coalition, as well as Iraq, will meet in Brussels next month to continue the talks [our national defence minister plans to be there]. Carter urged the coalition to seize the opportunity now to hasten the Islamic State group’s defeat…

Carter has said he wouldn’t hesitate to challenge the core nations [no Canada] to do more in the fight in the coming year…

U.S. military leaders say the coalition is gaining ground on IS. And they are hoping that the six core nations can encourage others to contribute.

While European nations have been heavily involved, the U.S. would like to see more direct military contributions — both equipment and training — from Arab and Asian countries. Arab nations joined the coalition’s airstrike campaign early on, but their participation has waned a bit over time, particularly as the fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran-backed rebels in Yemen has increased…

The U.S. has already asked allies to increase their contributions, including special operations forces, fighter jet and reconnaissance aircraft, weapons and munitions, training and other combat support. But the key needs are trainers and surveillance assets, such as drones [Canada still doesn’t have any]

Canada currently has some 69 trainers in Kurdistan; meanwhile Australia and New Zealand (!) have 300 and 100 troops respectively training the Iraqi regular army.  Italy, for its part, has said it will send 450 more troops in addition to the 750 it already has in Iraq.  Moreover Italy has 760 troops in Afghanistan where there have been no Canadians since 2014–and Australia in increasing its forces in that country to 270.  Guess which countries the Americans will take seriously.


Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


14 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Justin Trudeau vs the Jihadis: All You Need is Love”

  1. Hmm:

    “George Petrolekas

    Is Canada becoming a freeloader again?

    ,,,to preserve our country’s credibility, it is now paramount that the governement announce something instead of continuing to vascillate on its future plans. Whether that plan includes expanded training, a new mission with the British in Libya, assistance to the French in Mali, it matters not. The important thing is to make Canada’s future intentions known soonest, lest the perception of being a freeloader again take root.”



    Mark Collins

  2. While you can make a case that the new government might be slow rolling it’s plan. There is absolutely no evidence any where that Trudeau has said he is going to fight Daesh with flowers and rainbows. That is just a conservative talking point.

    What needs to be asked before Canada commits to any thing is what is the American plan? If you follow what is really happening on the ground in Syria and Iraq several things become quite clear.

    First even the MSM has slowly (but hardly fully) woken up to the fact that Assad/Russia have basically won in Syria. Daesh and AQ are loosing badly and the US, KSA and Turkey and Qatar really don’t have much left to say on the matter.–enough-to-put-peace-talks-in-doubt/2016/01/19/64127084-beb2-11e5-98c8-7fab78677d51_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    But it looks like Washington is still thinking regime change in Syria.

    None of us know for sure what the government is thinking right now but if Canada doesn’t agree with Washington’s assessment of what to do, are we supposed to just send weapons and money even if it goes against what Canada believes is the right thing to do?

    If you listen carefully to what the Defense Minister is actually saying especially on PnP last week it sounds a lot like they don’t believe the Americans have necessarily assessed the situation correctly. If that is the case and I can’t say for sure it is, then Canada should be sitting this one out or looking at other ways to achieve our goals..

    Keep in mind that 2/3 of NATO and all of the GCC aren’t doing any thing at all. NATO partner Turkey is actually working against us. When asked by The US to do more Australia said no. It is far from clear that there is a consensus that the US knows what it is doing. The new government was not given a mandate to be America’s lap dog.

    The Harper government took the path of doing any thing the Americans asked with out question what did we get in return? No Keystone, no softwood deal, we pay the full price for the new bridge over the Saint Lawrence including improvements on the US side. Look at countries that say no to the US on a regular basis (Isreal, KSA etc) and the US falls all over them selves to appease them. Maybe being lackeys isn’t in our best interest.

  3. More on the reasons for Liberal policy:

    If you read between the lines of Trudeau’s own statements and the party’s policy, it’s entirely clear why the Liberals want to bring our planes home: They hold fast to the mystique of blue helmets and white knights, of Canada as a peaceful, neutral middle power beloved by all the world.

    Given this smug self-conception, bombing the Middle East just doesn’t feel right. ..

    …we’re stuck with this half-baked logic of involving ourselves only with the stuff that seems morally upstanding and relatively non-violent to the Liberal base…”

    Base indeed.

    Mark Collins

  4. PM Trudeau and MND Sajjan take note (further links at original–did any senior Canadian meet with the US SecDef at Davos?):

    Carter penned an op-ed in Politico this morning [Jan 22] to bullhorn his call to ramp up coalition operations against ISIS. He lays out three chief U.S. objectives in the fight against the group: “One, destroy the ISIL parent tumor in Iraq and Syria by collapsing its two power centers in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqah, Syria… Two, combat the emerging metastases of the ISIL tumor worldwide wherever it appears. Three, our most important mission: Protect the homeland.” But it was that second one that’s been garnering more attention in recent days—particularly after the Wall Street Journal report earlier this week on new U.S. military authorization to go after ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan (known as ISIL-K).

    Writes Carter: “We must also recognize that ISIL is metastasizing in areas such as North Africa, Afghanistan and Yemen… We have organized U.S. military personnel at key locations stretching from Southern Europe and East Africa across the Middle East to Afghanistan as a network to counter transnational and transregional threats like ISIL… We are now prepared to step up pressure on ISIL in Afghanistan to check their ambitions there as well.” Read the rest, here.

    Carter also knocked out a lightning round of TV interviews this morning from Davos, including CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg. So far, links are available only for CNBC…’

    Mark Collins

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