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Martin has a brief brush with reality

This weekend the Washington Post treated us to an interesting insight into the meeting between Paul Martin and George Bush last month. An 'top Canadian official' relates this exchange between the two on the subject of missile defence:

"(Bush) leaned across the table and said: `I'm not taking this position, but some future president is going to say, Why are we paying to defend Canada?' '' the official was quoted as saying.
And then, after Martin and his handlers went on about the polls, the NDP, and the dangers of negative editorials from the Toronto Star, Bush replied bluntly:
...Bush "waved his hands and said, 'I don't understand this. Are you saying that if you got up and said this is necessary for the defense of Canada it wouldn't be accepted?' "
The Washington Post story (and the story on the story in the National Post) both played up how undiplomatic Bush was to have actually questioned Martin on his position. Bush was 'a bully', according to them. But I think it's great that maybe every year or so, when one of these summits comes around, our Prime Minister gets to talk to someone that lives in the real world.

Bush was rough on Martin over his stand on missile defence. Well too bad, he deserves it. The government's position is a disgrace -- because it doesn't have one. Martin has had more than a year to come up with a policy and attempt to sell it to the Canadian people. But instead he's hedged and dithered and made contradictory statements. The best he's been able to come up with is a slogan: "We are against the weaponization of space." Slogans, posturings, and mission statements are all this government is capable of producing. He's called inquiries into anything that might require a leader's direction, held Oprah-like, 'I-feel-your-pain' ceremonies, and passed on the responsibilities of his office to bureaucrats. The only thing he's managed to take a strong stand on is this gay-marriage issue. That's probably because it's absolutely inconsequential.

Leadership means leading. Paul Martin is not a leader. He makes John Kerry look like Churchill.

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Comments

I don't get PM the PM's reticence at all.

We've already weaponized land, sea, and air, what's the big objection to doing it in space? Surely the same security considerations that compel us to defend our turf down here are equally compelling in orbit.

For that matter space is already weaponized, in a way. There are countless military satellites up there -- recon, communication, and guidance systems (hello, GPS!).

I don't see a big rhetorical difference between an armed orbital platform and a B-2 bomber using precision-guided bombs. The B-2 can hit anywhere on Earth within several hours right now, and its munitions would be satellite-guided. The only thing orbital weapons would do is shorten the strike time and lower the logistical burden.

It's okay to conduct recon from space, to perform military coordination and communication from space, and to guide weapons from space, to but it's not okay to actually put them there? Why? And why don't security arguments for terra firma translate into space? Don't we need somebody up there to defend those super-expensive (and utterly defenseless) satellite assets?

The real reason for Martin's dithering is that it is politically expensive for him to appear to be cooperating with Bush on a military project. It has nothing to do with reality, just appearances. Martin fears the editorialists from the Globe and Star far more than he fears nukes from rogue states.

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