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The dispute between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau over Canada’s monetary contribution to NATO is a sideshow. The true story is that Canada is being drawn more and more into America’s wars.
That’s the import of Trudeau’s announcement final week on Iraq. Canada is already coaching Iraqi troops within the north of the nation, in addition to working in an unspecified method with Kurdish militias there.
Wednesday’s announcement commits Ottawa to working a brand new NATO coaching mission in Baghdad. The job of about half of the 250 Canadians despatched on this mission will likely be to offer pressure safety — that’s making an attempt to forestall different troopers from being blown up within the streets by militants.
All in all, Trudeau’s Liberal authorities has approved the deployment of as much as 850 Canadian troopers in Iraq to work in numerous coaching missions, in addition to present air transport and medical companies to others within the U.S.-led coalition in opposition to Daesh terrorists.
Needless to say that is all going down within the context of a battle that Canada labored laborious to keep away from when the U.S. first invaded Iraq in 2003.
On the time, then Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien was lauded for holding Canada out of a warfare that destroyed Iraq and led to the formation of armed terror teams like Daesh.
However now, quietly, we’re being drawn again in.
Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper was roundly condemned when he first despatched Canadian troops into Iraq 4 years in the past. In contrast, Trudeau appears to be getting a cross.
Nor does the Liberal authorities face a lot opposition to its extraordinary navy choice to position so-called peacekeepers in Mali.
Technically, this can be a United Nations mission aimed toward brokering peace between numerous armed factions. However the actual goal of the Mali operation is counterterrorism. There is no such thing as a peace to maintain.
On this case, the French are essentially the most seen leaders of the counterterror coalition. The People, in contrast, keep a low profile and like to function out of neighbouring Niger.
Not less than 250 Canadian troopers will likely be despatched to Mali the place they’re anticipated to offer logistical, medical and transportation assist to forces working on the bottom.
The third warfare that Canada is being drawn into is the brand new Chilly Struggle in opposition to Russia. Trump himself could not assume Russia a menace. However the U.S. navy institution actually does — notably after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The U.S. is utilizing NATO, which now consists of former Soviet satellites comparable to Romania and Bulgaria, to include Russia alongside its western border. It’s also offering coaching and arms to Ukrainian forces and has deployed troops to Poland.
Canada is gleefully participating on this new Chilly Struggle. It has despatched roughly 200 troopers to Ukraine to coach that nation’s troopers. It leads a battle group, together with 540 Canadian troopers, in Latvia. It has taken half in air workout routines in Romania.
Beneath Trudeau’s father, Pierre, Canada drastically scaled again its NATO operations in Europe. Beneath Justin Trudeau it’s ramping them proper again up.
The present prime minister has dismissed Trump’s calls for that Canada and different NATO members spend not less than two per cent of their whole financial output on defence — and rightly so. For Canada, that sum quantities to roughly $44 billion — $5 billion greater than the federal authorities spends on medicare every year.
However no matter percentages, Canada continues to wholeheartedly assist America’s navy agenda — within the Center East, Africa and Europe.
Trudeau says Canada is fulfilling its worldwide obligations. In a method he’s proper. By and huge Canada is doing every thing the U.S. desires. Certainly that’s sufficient.
Thomas Walkom is a Toronto-based columnist overlaying politics. Observe him on Twitter: @tomwalkom