Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Babbler and Tiger in Winter defend the patriotism of Conservatives in Canada

I've posted on this same subject several weeks ago, you can find it here. Ben at Tiger in Winter sounds off on the rather despicable hypocrasy of Canada's foreign policy. We desperately want a seat at the table, however, as John Manely once put it "every time the check comes we have to go to the bathroom".

I think the most telling thing about his article is that he points out we could not have made a significant contribution to the war in Iraq if we had wanted too.

We have cut our military spending to the bone. But we then want as much recognition for what we scrape together as we had in the first half of the twentieth century, when we contributed proportionately more to the war effort than almost any part of the English-speaking world (save for New Zealand). If we were to provide a force for a campaign like Iraq in proportion to what the Americans and the British have sent, there would be three brigades of Canadian soldiers on the ground (that's fifteen thousand men and women). Can you imagine a Canada that would be able to contribute as much to any operation? And yet we were a nation-state that had almost a million men and women in uniform during the Second World War out of a population of eleven million.

I also think this is a bang on assessment of our role internationally. It also tends to observe that we should see Canada for what it is, warts and all. This being as opposed to a reflexive defense of the status quo just because.

No, we do not have to be yes-men to the Americans. But we have to say what we mean and mean what we say, and we need to make more than a token contribution if we want to be taken seriously. This means that we should go back to proportionate contributions to the actions in which we choose to participate -- or even back to our historical role of punching above our weight -- if we wish to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror and feel good about what we see.

Damian at Babbling Brooks added -

You'll frequently hear in leftish circles that conservatives - or classical liberals (just for Ben & Shannon) - are constantly tearing down Canada. That we want to be the 51st state, that somehow we're not as patriotic as the average Liberal-voting, Star-reading Joe and Jane Canuck.

That sort of garbage makes me so mad, I could spit.

The truth is that we're more patriotic in many cases. We want Canada to live up to its potential, both domestically and internationally, so bad it hurts. That means making Canada stronger - economically, socially, and yes - militarily. The Canadian left likes to talk about charting an independent foreign policy from the U.S., but how can you remain independent with no assets to devote to your international goals - foreign aid, consulates and embassies, and yes again - military? How do you maintain true sovereignty over Canadian domestic issues without a strong and expanding economy - one that's competitive worldwide without the crutch of a weak dollar?

Two assessments which are quite simply right on the money.


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