Trudeau to celebrate NATO anniversary amid questions over future of military alliance – Abbotsford News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is traveling to London where he will spend the next few days trying to boost the NATO military alliance amid existential questions about its future, while championing Canada’s commitment to respect.
Leaders of NATO’s 29 member states are meeting in London this week to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the alliance, which was created at the start of the Cold War to defend North America and Western Europe from the ‘Soviet Union.
More recently, the alliance has fought in Afghanistan, ousted the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, patrolled for pirates off the Horn of Africa and established a line of defense in Eastern Europe against Russian aggression. .
Canada has participated in all of these efforts and more, including leading a NATO training mission in Iraq and providing fighter jets to patrol Romanian airspace and frigates to patrol the Mediterranean and the sea. Black.
Yet NATO has also come under pressure in recent years, with members grappling with how best to deal with Russia and China even as US President Donald Trump raised questions about his country’s commitment to the campaign. the alliance.
Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron sparked a heated debate over the future of NATO when he suggested that the military alliance was “brain dead” due to a lack of coordination and communication between the members.
He specifically cited the US military withdrawal from northeast Syria and Turkey’s subsequent invasion of the region – both without any consultation with other NATO members – as examples of alliance breakdown.
There have also been arguments over the amount of money individual members invest in their armies, with Trump leading the charge in calling on European allies as well as Canada to increase their spending.
China is also expected to feature prominently in the talks, as it has become more assertive in its neighborhood and around the world – and due to U.S. demands that Canada and others ban Huawei from its 5G networks.
The alliance is also at odds over how best to deal with Russia, with some members suggesting more dialogue even as others, like Canada, take a hard line with it over its actions in Ukraine and elsewhere.
There are also concerns about NATO member Turkey, which has become close to Russia under its increasingly autocratic president, yet occupies a strategically important location linking Europe to Asia and the Middle East. -East.
It is in this minefield that Trudeau will engage, starting with a discussion alongside his Dutch counterpart on Tuesday where the Canadian Prime Minister is expected to extol the importance of NATO for North American, European and global security. .
âTogether, North America and Europe represent half the world’s economic power and half the world’s military power,â NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week.
âIn times of uncertainty, we need strong multilateral institutions like NATO. We must therefore continue to strengthen them every day. To ensure the safety of all our citizens.
I spoke with @OTAN General secretary, @jensstoltenberg today ahead of next week’s leaders’ meeting in London, which will be an important opportunity to reaffirm NATO’s importance to Euro-Atlantic security and defense. Learn more about our call here: https://t.co/E8ARC5tbLG
– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 29, 2019
It’s a message Trudeau should echo.
Yet senior government officials have warned that Trudeau will not make any announcements until he returns to Canada on Wednesday evening, in time for Parliament to reconvene on Thursday.
On the contrary, ensuring that the alliance not only survives, but adapts and positions itself to face the threats of today and tomorrow is seen as essential to Canada’s own security, given its relative size. small and somewhat isolated position atop the United States.
Trudeau will also praise Canada’s many contributions to the alliance in the face of concerns from the United States and others over its defense spending, which accounts for 1.31% of gross domestic product, below the agreed target of 2%. of NATO.
Rather, the government has repeatedly pointed out that Canada is leading a battle group in Latvia and providing military trainers in Iraq, fighter jets in Romania and a frigate in the Mediterranean as a better measure of its contributions.
Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press