It is being reported that one of Trudeau’s first moves as new PM has been to inform Barack Obama that Canada plans to pull its fighter jets from the air strikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, taking Canada out of the fight again the terrorist group. Some media outlets such as the Toronto Sun are bashing the move as dictatorial since Trudeau did not consult other members of government such as his cabinet or the Minister of Defence, both of which have yet to be officially named. While the decision is admittedly unilateral (given that the rest of the government has yet to be formed), it is still a necessary first step towards undoing some of the geopolitical follies of the Harper government.
Rather than simply lament what some see as a negative move, Canadian media should take a far step back and critically examine how ISIS came to be in Syria in the first place. This requires moving beyond myopic historical and geopolitical amnesia. The situation in Syria is very complex and is not always accurately portrayed, not least given that the US and its allies (including Canada and other NATO states) are currently, and ironically, attempting to take out a terrorist group that they helped—through military aid, training, armaments, border access through fellow NATO member Turkey, etc—put in Syria (as a way to undermine it) in the first place. While Canada was not directly involved, given the Harper regimes acquiescence to US foreign policy in the region and its agenda there, Canada is indirectly linked at the very least. Continue reading