Whatever political stripes you wear here in Canada, you have to recognize the skills of Trudeau and the Liberals in selling Canadian public his new military investment and making it look like “we in fact wanted to take this medicine and we don’t mind!!”
I am referring to the well-covered story from June 7 that reports that Canada is “stepping into the gap created by the U.S.” and investing billions in new military spending.
The narrative thread spun by the Liberals hangs on these core ideas:
- Trump (the isolationist US President) and the US team are pulling back from positive worldwide engagement as the leading democracy and global policeman
- We see a great opportunity to step into this gap
- So, we will invest billions in our military all of our own doing just because we feel an obligation and see a chance to have an impact
- Ergo – we are the good people!
The corollary is that we are not in fact wanting to be militarists or appearing to be that (since in point of fact we risk being seen this way), but we are doing this as “good guys” to save the world.
Here is my translation of the above facts to a reality-based position:
- Trump is demanding all NATO members pay up or else (and the else might be that it impacts our NAFTA re-negotiation, etc.).
- We don’t want to look like we are co-operating just because we have to, so lets package this to the Canadian people as “we have to do this to save the world”!
Whatever side of the issue you argue from, one has to accept that the truth of what is going on here and understand that the Trudeau team is selling something they have to sell and has found a plausible way to avoid admitting they have no choice.
In support of this narrative is that this spending happens over such a long time period that when Trump is gone or NAFTA is re-negotiated they can plead poverty in the name of budget balance and freeze all future increases (when the heat is off).
This actions allows Trudeau to say to Trump – “we stepped up” …while convincing Canadians that he did it for other reasons.
Well played Trudeau – but you haven’t fooled us!