Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada Will Do Its Part to Confront Islamic State

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada Will Do Its Part to Confront Islamic State

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Canada will do its part to confront Islamic State


An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Nov. 19:

As the Star's Bruce Campion-Smith reports, Obama had kind words for Trudeau. He called Canada "a very strong partner," suggested Trudeau would bring "a great boost of energy and reform" to the political scene, and invited him to the White House. After a season of chilly relations under Stephen Harper over the Keystone XL pipeline, climate change and other irritants, it's good to see this reboot.

Certainly, Obama gave no indication that he thinks Trudeau is "cutting and running" by refocusing our military mission. If anything, Trudeau's vow that Canada will do "more than its part" to help degrade and defeat the Islamic State by beefing up our small military training effort in Iraq will be music to the president's ears. So is Trudeau's recognition that "this is not going be a short engagement."

A robust, experienced Canadian training force on the ground -- one role we shouldered to good effect in Afghanistan, where we deployed 800 trainers after our combat mission ended -- would be more valuable, politically and militarily, than a modest six-pack of warplanes.

Obama clearly views Trudeau as a more supportive partner on climate change, and expects the new Liberal government will endorse the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, after some public consultation and parliamentary study. Obama and Trudeau also agree on the need to provide asylum to refugees from Syria's civil war.

But in the shadow of jihadist attacks on Paris and a Russian jet, which signal that the Islamic State is carrying its war afield, there's an urgent need to train the ramshackle Iraqi army and other forces to take on the jihadists on their home turf. The Iraqi military crumbled last year in the face of a jihadist onslaught. Training them to fight is a role that Canada and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, including Britain, France and Germany, are well-suited to undertake. …

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