I sense from reactions in the Twitterverse that John Ivison’s newly-posted column is creating a bit of a buzz – Pax Americana alliance at heart of Harper government’s F-35 posture.
Left-loving media and partisans are going batsh*t crazy over Ivison’s report about a letter from Laurie Hawn to a `concerned citizen’ that apparently questioned the figures of the AG. It would appear that criticizing the AG is suddenly a sacrilege. Funny that.
But Ivison does try to throw a little calming breeze into the tempestuous teapot by offering this tidbit:
The wider international backdrop to the F-35 purchase is an America concerned about the rise of China in the Pacific. The Canadian government’s decision to go with the F-35 appears to be part of a tacit political agreement between the United States and key allies like Japan and Australia to contain China’s ambitions.
Critics have ridiculed the need for first strike stealth capability patrolling for Canada’s North or for taking part in conflicts like the recent Libyan mission. Yet the unwritten statement of requirement is for planes that could counter the threat posed by Chinese aircraft carriers at some point 30 years hence.
If, with a nod and a wink, you sign up for a Western alliance that sees the rise of China as a destabilizing and potentially existential threat, then the cost of the F-35 ceases to be of paramount concern.
Yet Ivison doesn’t excuse what he sees to be a breakdown in the process:
The government’s disdain for the niceties of normal process make more sense when seen through this prism. It makes more sense, but becomes no more acceptable.
And this is where democracies are vulnerable. It is that very strength of demand for transparency that gives the other forms of government (eg. dictatorships) the upper hand.
Most political parties plan for the short-term – to win the next election.
However as with the OAS changes, this government seems to be actually thinking long-term and what is best for the country down the road.
That could be a commendable, but fatal goal.
* * * *
Excellent post by Springer – Ivison had some credibility until:
…I would speculate that a lot of long second looks were cast upon the F-35 with regard to what might expected of its role over the next four decades. And that likely resulted in at least some of the lessons learned with the F-22 being brought to the table in order to upgrade the plane’s capabilities.
Governments, for reasons obvious to anyone but a goddamned fool, don’t talk about this stuff…
Exactly. As I said before this is where democracies are vulnerable.
From Defence Minister Peter MacKay via the Globe:
“As we sit in this boardroom, there are CF-18 pilots whom we are paying. There’s maintenance crews on the runways filling them with fuel in Cold Lake and Bagotville and whatever aircraft we bought, these costs are going to be operational costs, no matter what we fly and so it’s not part of the acquisition of a particular aircraft,” Mr. MacKay said.
“Just as we pay our military personnel, whether they’re training on the base or in a place like Afghanistan. Their salaries are fixed, they’re sunk costs.”
Nevertheless, Mr. MacKay said, the department will provide these fixed costs for future acquisitions.