02.23.2011 12:15 PM

My theory

He now realizes that meeting with Qadaffi was a huge, huge mistake. Can’t admit that. So, what to do?

Dial up the reaction. Demand the toughest response, so he can point to it when criticized.

He’s done this before. Said no to ballistic missile defence, was worried how the Americans would react. So he sent us to the most dangerous part of Afghanistan, so he could point to it when criticized.

The more things stay the same, the more they stay the same.

22 Comments

  1. tim says:

    Can’t really argue with your analysis but, to be fair, Gaddafi did make the overtures at the time that we would generally like to reward/acknowledge. If all dictators did what he did at the time and got ignored, there would be little incentive to improve their behaviour.

  2. Brendan Kane says:

    According to Ivison the other day, Canada lifted economic sanctions on Libya in 1999.
    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/02/22/john-ivison-embracing-gaddafi-was-canadas-shame/
    Is that true? If it is, how were they lifted without the PM’s knowledge?

  3. wilson says:

    Paul Martin points out that Harper lost chance at UN Security Council seat,
    is Gadhafi’s term as pres at that council up yet?

    January 2008 Libya took over the rotating post as president of the U.N. Security Council.
    http://articles.cnn.com/2008-01-03/world/libya.un_1_foreign-minister-abdel-rahman-shalqam-libyan-counterpart-security-council?_s=PM:WORLD

  4. wsam says:

    I’m not sure you meant to imply Canada sent troops to Kandahar because of our non-participation in (unworkable) Misssle Defence, but Janice Stein’s The Unexpected War gives the full account. A great read that makes bureacratic manoevering facinating.

    At the time Kandahar was considered safe.

    • Warren says:

      That sure isn’t what Rick Hillier said in his book.

    • wilson says:

      Correct me if I am wrong,
      didn’t Ms Stein also say in that book that Chretien did not refuse to send troops into Iraq,
      Bush never asked, Canada never refused.
      Ignoring too that we already had our top soldier in Iraq, literally running the war along side the US, in their HQ.

      • Warren says:

        You are making crap up. Prove it.

        • wsam says:

          I don’t remember Stein’s book having anything on Chretien not refusing to send Canadian troops in Iraq. I think the record is clear he was trying to negotiate a tricky situation.
          She does document how sensitive Martin’s government became to the charge we were not being good allies (which could include our not endorsing the American’s wasting billions on missile defence – though I don’t remember that specifically) – despite, as Stein finds, the absence of any real pressure from the Bush Administration to make us pay for not participating. I think Paul Martin Liberals had internalized Conservative claims that Canada had become a bad ally and was untrustworthy.

          I know we’re not supposed to criticize St Rick Hillier, but he isn’t exactly unbiased. The Unexpected War does an excellent job documenting how the Canadian forces attempted to strong-arm Canada into Iraq – primarily by setting up institutional contacts, i.e. patrolling the Gulf for nukes, in an attempt to make Canadian non-participation impossible (remember that debate?)

          Read the book. It’s a fascinating look at a pivotal period in Canadian life. And great on Canadian civil-military relations, which you rarely read about.

        • wilson says:

          the most senior Canadian officer on exchange was a brigadier general, Walt Natynczuk, who was directly involved in planning the invasion of Iraq from the American headquarters in Kuwait.

          Had Natynczuk’s precise role become publicly known, there would have been even more intense criticism of the government in Parliament, in the press and in the public. But the government managed to keep his presence out of the news.

          In an almost schizophrenic way, the government bragged publicly about its decision to stand aside from the war in Iraq because it violated core principles of multilateral-ism and support for the United Nations. At the same time, senior Canadian officials, military officers and politicians were currying favour in Washington, privately telling anyone in the State Department or the Pentagon who would listen that, by some measures, Canada’s indirect contribution to the American war effort in Iraq — three ships and 100 exchange officers — exceeded that of all but three other countries that were formally part of the coalition.
          http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/issuesideas/story.html?id=d968e7a8-52e1-49d7-b7e6-0932d94e0da4&p=1

          • Warren says:

            Uh-huh. So where, exactly, is your the proof of your allegation about Chretien?

          • wsam says:

            The Americans didn’t care about our ships and crap. Rumsfeld was pretty clear about how little the US cared about its allies contributions when he slagged off the British. What the US wanted was for everyone to agree invading Iraq was a good idea. They wanted political cover. But they didn?t really even care about that. As evidenced by the lack of pressure they put on Canada. Mainly only the media cared.

            I feel like I?m Janice Stein?s publicity agent. But you should (re) read The Unexpected War. It?s pretty clear Natynczuk et al in the Canadian Forces tried to force Chretien?s government to participate in the invasion of Iraq. That was the point of the flurry of joint projects which they agreed to in the run-up to the invasion.

            Canadian Forces leadership were attempting to structure the situation so that if Canada didn?t participate in the invasion of Iraq we would have to renege on commitments the Canadian forces had made to the American Military ? creating a political crap storm for the Liberals.

            A crap storm Chretien negotiated and Martin dealt with by agreeing to Kandahar — which was assumed safe, why we agreed.

          • Namesake says:

            Interesting article, but that’s a pretty slanted reading & misleadingly selective excerpting of that passage from Stein’s book there, wilson:

            because the real message of it was that it was the DND that got us into that situation by being too gung-ho & by sucking up too much to the Pentagon, to the point that they were deliberately keeping the Defense Minister in the dark and even lobbying other countries to lobby our government to come round to their point of view.

            Kinda like, oh, the way they’ve been driving the inappropriate F35 purchase under this one.

          • wsam says:

            Hey!! No fair! That excerpt is from the Unexpected War.

          • wilson says:

            ps. Warren, the link I wanted no longer works, excuse the very long link,
            but if I remember correctly, the book referenced this meeting, Chretien not asked to send troops into Iraq.
            Bush and Chretien met end of Jan following the above noted meeting

          • Namesake says:

            WK: the very long link wrecked the formatting for the thread;

            plz delete that post, which I’ll replicate with a shrunk replacement link, here:

            “wilson says:
            February 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

            [in “A Special Military Relationship? Canada?s Role in Constructing US Military Power by
            Stephen Clarkson and Erin Fitzgerald, Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1, FALL 2009]
            http://urlm.in/hcjq
            at Page 13,

            Rumsfeld made it clear Jan 9, 2003 meeting with MacCallum, Canada should stay in Afghanistan, US was not seeking Canadian troops for Iraq

            That said, so what? Everybody knew — even dumb ol’ ‘W’ — that Chretien just wasn’t buying that little dog & pony ‘See the WMDs?’ slide show that Colin Powell ruined his career over, and that there was no way he was going to send any troops unless it was a UN-sanctioned mission, which is why it’s possible he was never asked.

            But to try to conclude “Wasn’t asked – so didn’t refuse — so can’t claim to have been against it” is the same sort of depths of hair-splitting dishonesty that this gov’t of sleazy lawyers tricks has been lowlighting in the Oda Ado.

      • wsam says:

        I guess I have to read the book again

  5. Bill King says:

    Mr. Dithers has earned his rightful place in the history books.

    Cheers,

  6. Namesake says:

    Damn. Aren’t the more, you know, statesman-like ex-PM’s & Presidents supposed to withhold such public criticisms & spotlight-stealing attempts to interfere with their successors’ foreign policy stances, out of respect for the office (even though they may offer that advice quietly through diplomatic channels to the new leader’s office itself, if it’s really just the welfare of the country or the people affected by policy issue they’re concerned about)?

    Ah, well: at least it illustrates the point I made earlier today before this broke, that with a pre-existing leadership as hawkish as that (and with even his main rival candidate, Bob Rae, skewing that way, as well, at least w/r/t remaining in Af’n), then we should scarcely be criticizing Ignatieff as being too blue to be a Liberal.

    http://warrenkinsella.com/2011/02/question-ive-been-asked-by-many-libs-to-ask-many-times/#comment-27425

  7. V. Malaise says:

    Why is Mr. Dithers trying to say concrete, meaningful things now that he is no longer is office? I think I’m going to play my Asleep At The Wheel LP “A Day Late and a Dollar Short.”

  8. Or says:

    Qazafi is similar charcter Arab crazy like Sadam Hussain Iraqi president

    the only person or country can influce him to stop him is Italy
    Qazafi must leave or made him worst than Sadam

    but he can not accept to leave and most likly he will kill lot before he get killed

    why because he killed his own people like Sadam

    some one can stop him may be Iran or Italy or his family can stop him to get him out of country for ever
    he is danger man worst than Sadam in killing his people and he may be do some revenge in West like mafia method
    They must be carfull when deal with Qazafi to not made him more Arab mad

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