The Edmonton Sun, 18 April 2017
The world is becoming a more dangerous place. Yet Canada’s defence spending is on the decline, this doesn’t add up and it has to change.
The Senate committee on national security and defence last week released an alarming report revealing our defence spending is lower as a percentage of GDP than it’s ever been. Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we’re down to spending 0.88% of GDP.
The number’s been declining ever since the 1960s, when it was 4%. This is a problem because our commitment to NATO is that we’ll spend 2% on military matters.
Coincidentally, the Senate report came out the day after U.S. President Donald Trump walked back his past statements on NATO being obsolete and reiterated his calls for member countries to increase their military spending.
For a brief period, the world enjoyed calm in the post-Cold War era.
As the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union drew to a close, it seemed the days of nuclear proliferation were behind us and liberal democracy would dominate the new world order. That time was short-lived.
A little over a decade later, Osama bin Laden began planning for 9/11 and international terrorism kicked into high gear. Meanwhile, countries like Iran and North Korea developed an appetite for nuclear weapons. A new arms race, involving unstable regimes and even terrorist groups, has emerged.
Former U.S. president Barack Obama created a power vacuum in the geopolitical sphere when he failed in 2013 to enforce the “red line” he drew in Syria over its development and use of chemical weapons. Trump is clearly barreling ahead to correct that mistake. Recently, he dropped dozens of Tomahawk missiles in a targeted strike on a Syrian airfield.
And he dropped a MOAB (Mother of All Bombs), the largest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, on an ISIS fighting position in Afghanistan. America is in fighting form again, ready to beat back the rising forces of evil in the world.
Canada will decide, case by case, which fights we will join the U.S. in prosecuting.
But if our defence spending continues to erode, we won’t be in shape to join any fight.
The time to increase our military spending is now.