Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Never Poke A Bear

John Ivison has a very good piece on the manufactured Russian threat. Ivison expands on a point raised by the Liberals today, namely that this government is jeopardizing international relations, in the name of political expediency:

This is understood only too well by Canada’s bureaucrats in the Department of Foreign Affairs, many of whom have been left holding their heads in their hands in despair after the latest intervention by the PMO.

Sources inside the department said there is increasing frustration at a hostility toward Russia that is manufactured for entirely domestic political purposes. The relationship between this government and its bureaucracy is showing signs of fraying to breaking point. Conservative politicians might joke that a public service strike would bring government to a standstill, if it were not for the fact that it is already. They might not be laughing so hard if they tested the theory. “More and more, the system is starting to resist,” said one senior Conservative, who lamented the aggressive approach taken by the PMO.

...But it is fair to suggest that there should be a more mature, sophisticated approach taken by the Prime Minister’s Office. To speak in the style of a wannabe Top Gun is not grown-up government.

It is entirely reckless and irresponsible for Dmitri Soudas to issue a provocative press release, just so this government can justify their F35 fighter expenditure. If we really need these planes, then a reasonable case can be made, and Canadians will accept the purchase. What is entirely offside, the notion that this government can manufacture a threat, and in so doing offend the Russians needlessly. Where is the diplomatic upside, creating tension where no reasonable person says exists?

This is the second time the government has pushed Russian bombers close to our airspace. Quite something, that in between these two "incidents", Canada and Russian planes took part in joint exercises, making the "threat" presentation all the more unnecessary.

Rather than get sucked into this debate about the F35's, the real issue here is the behaviour of this government, who so easily use Russia as a pawn to sell their domestic agenda. Not only is it ill conceived, but it is a bit dangerous and denotes ZERO comprehension of foreign relations- a fact which will surprise no one, given the abysmal track record of the Conservatives. Today's press release bordered on tacky and bizarre. It would be comical, if not for the simple fact there could be real reprecussions, that could actually setback Canada/Russia relations.


Tof KW said...

The cold war phoned ...they want their Soviet fear mongering back.

As a Pole, I don't trust ANY Russian government much, but they have changed significantly since the Berlin Wall fell. Not to say I don't have concerns about their last election, but Russia does have four different political parties elected in the Duma; and does anyone doubt that even without the heavy-handed tactics that Putin wouldn't have won the election? Russia has embraced capitalism and consumerism. They trade stocks in Moscow. Russia is one of the G8 nations. When the world economy went down the toilet so did Russia's, they are not isolated.

Make no mistake, the USSR is long dead and communism is a miserable failure. I guess Dimitri Soudas didn't get the memo.

double nickel said...

Unfortunately, a good many of the Tim Horton's crowd probably didn't get it either.

RuralSandi said...

As a Canadian, I am totally embarrassed by Harper - unbelievably immature and obviously no statesman.

Harper is a paranoid, sees enemies everywhere, and if there aren't enough, he'll sure to make some more.

Mark Dowling said...

Yesterday's incident and the Cons trumpeting of it only made a case for replacing the CF-18As with new F-18E/Fs, not more expensive and single engined F-35s. The Tu-95, after all, first flew in 1956.

Tof KW said...

You're quite right Mark, with the cold war being history Canada has no need of single-engine interceptors, especially stealth fighters. The '4.5 generation' of fighters is quite sufficient for search & rescue, border patrol and have proven themselves in combat (the F-15E Strike Eagle and F-18E Super Hornets have been used in such capacities already). They are also a hell of a lot cheaper. It's the stealth technology that makes planes like the F-22 or F-35 cost billions.

Another possibility (though it would tick the Yanks) is to take a look at the Eurofighter Typhoon. Now that's provided that Canadian aviation companies would participate in the Eurofighter conglomerate.

Steve V said...

" The Tu-95, after all, first flew in 1956."

Great point, didn't know that.

Tof KW said...

Steve, Tu-95's are big 4-engine turboprop bombers - think of them as the Soviet answer to the B-52 (I mean the original Boeing model 462 with 4 turboprops). All B-52s from the mid-50's onwards came with jets, and like the Tu-95 both are still the main bombers since the mid-50's to this very day.

Though I'll give the Russians some credit, they are the fastest propeller-driven planes ever built, and they plan on keeping them until 2040.

For that matter the US may be keeping their B-52's in the air that long too. All the successor bombers developed seem to be inferior to 1950's technology.

Steve V said...

Why thank you :)