Trudeau Sails a Warship Through Taiwan Strait While Begging Xi to Meet With Him at G20
Trudeau demonstrates again precisely the behaviour that has caused the Chinese to decline communication with his government
Related: Justin Trudeau Has Been Trying to Get the Chinese to Take His Call Since January
Canada recently became the latest nation to sail a frigate through the Taiwan Strait, a move which government officials have indicated was not intended to be taken as Ottawa making a statement against China.
The HMCS Regina, one of 12 frigates operated by the Canadian navy, and the Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix sailed through the contested waterway on Tuesday after departing from Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam.
Website Marine Traffic shows the frigate traveling from the South China Sea through the Taiwan Strait in the direction of the East China Sea. According to Navy Recognition, both the HMCS Regina and the Asterix are part of Operation NEON, a mission to ensure that UN sanctions against North Korea are being enforced.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense has stated that the passage of both ships was carried out as part of a freedom of navigation operation.
Jessica Lamirande, spokesperson for Canada’s Department of National Defense, told the Globe and Mail that the only reason the ships sailed through the area was because it was simply “the most practical route between Cam Ranh Bay and Northeast Asia.”
“Transit through the Taiwan Strait is not related to making any statement,” Lamirande noted.
Although Taiwan has been a self-governing island nation since 1949, China sees the country as a wayward province needing to be brought back into the fold – even by means of force, if necessary. Taiwan has repeatedly rejected China’s stance.
Per China, ships looking to pass through the region should request permission first, despite the fact that international law indicates that the area is an open waterway. [Actually Sputnik is wrong, a country that is located on both sides of a strait may insist it not be used if an alternative route exists.]
The ships’ transit comes at a time when tensions between China and Canada are simmering over the recent arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and subsequent detainment of two Canadians in China.
Although Lamirande did say that the transit wasn’t meant to send a message to China, experts are on the fence regarding the matter.
Stephen Nagy, a senior associate professor of politics and international studies at International Christian University in Tokyo, told military website Stars and Stripes in an article published Thursday that Taiwan Strait transits are “very indirect signals” of disapproval toward China’s claims in the region.
“Middle powers [like Canada] are about bolstering international institutions and international law so they can restrain the power of very big countries,” Nagy told the outlet. “They view that China is going to present a bigger risk going forward, and they have to demonstrate some resolve through ships in the region.”
“I think sailing through the Taiwanese strait is part of a broader expansion of Canadian naval activities in the Indo-Pacific,” he added.
Similarly, Guy Saint-Jacques, a former Canadian ambassador to China, told the Globe and Mail that Ottawa’s move is the start of the “new Canadian position towards China.”
“The Trudeau government is starting to assert itself more, and questions like freedom of navigation are important ones,” Saint-Jacques said. “It sends the signal that Canada is aligning with the US and with other countries like Australia and France that have sent ships to the Taiwan Strait – that freedom of navigation is important and that we don’t recognize Chinese claims to sovereignty in that part of the world.”
The US is no stranger to freedom of navigation passages through the Taiwan Strait. In fact, the US has conducted one each month in 2019, except for the month of June. The most recent transit occurred on May 22 and involved the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Preble and the Navy oil tanker USNS Walter S. Diehl.
[…] Trudeau Sails a Warship Through Taiwan Strait While Begging Xi to Meet With Him at G20 […]
‘Taiwan Strait transits are “very indirect signals” of disapproval toward China’s claims in the region.
‘“Middle powers [like Canada] are about bolstering international institutions and international law so they can restrain the power of very big countries,” Nagy told the outlet. “They view that China is going to present a bigger risk going forward, and they have to demonstrate some resolve through ships in the region.”’
Those words of Professor Stephen Nagy strike me as being rather deceptive, only superficially plausible as is the case for much disinformation.
After all, he does work at a “Christian university” in Asia, and his words were first published on that distinguished website, “Stars and Stripes,” the old internal house organ for the American armed forces.
Sadly, from my point of view, Canada today does everything possible to support the United States in foreign affairs. That might be okay if the policies were above board and had genuinely good intent, but they very much do not have those characteristics. Quite the opposite, they reflect the American establishment’s effort at dominating the globe.
Under such circumstances, Canada would be in a fairly hard place no matter what, sharing one of the world’s longest borders, having no other adjacent nations, and sharing a massive trade in goods and services. But I don’t think it was hugely different for Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, who took many opportunities to oppose peaceably the worst American policies of his day.
Pierre Trudeau ignored Washington’s bitter, intense, and violent Cuba policy and worked to establish a genuine relationship with Castro. Canadian investment and regular tourist travel were positive results.
At the height of America’s holocaust in Vietnam, Pierre Trudeau told Canada’s border services to throw open the gates for all American war resisters of any description, even deserters. They did, and tens of thousands of young Americans came, many eventually making good lives in Canada.
Justin is simply not able, by his very nature, to take bold steps like those. He has a pleasant, go-along-to-get-along personality, actually pretty much lacking any real force of character. He smiles a lot. He apologizes a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against smiles or needed apologies, but when it comes to leadership, a bit more is required. Those things are only the froth of the brew.
Interestingly, the Liberal Party was very keen on having Justin run and tried over a considerable period of time to persuade him to do so, knowing his last name literally was magic in the country.
But Justin shied away – except for smiling and lending support and attending party fund-raisers, his name always able to sell tickets. He stayed with what he was doing, and I believe perhaps because he quietly understood his own limits. However, the point was reached in the last part of Stephen Harper’s government when Trudeau gave in to all the behind-the-scenes pleadings and blandishments.
He did handily defeat Stephen Harper, a rather dark and unpleasant figure who enjoyed a long-running minority government precisely because the Liberals had become involved with in-fighting and scandal. And they went through some poorly-chosen leaders, most notably the politically-inept academic, Michael Ignatieff, who was lured by the Party’s talent scouts from Harvard University in the belief he could bring new luster to the Liberal brand. As events proved, he did quite the opposite.
From leading America’s contrived Lima Group (for the overthrow of Venezuela and, in future, some other Latin American governments) to harassing Russia with tanks in one of the Baltic states and from its compliance with an American extradition request for an important citizen of China on trumped-up charges to sailing through the Taiwan Strait, Canada’s current government has set unpleasant precedents for a Liberal Party government.
Even Washington’s unwarranted jibes against Russia or Iran or China are echoed by Trudeau’s disagreeable Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, albeit in somewhat quieter tones than the bellowing that comes from blowhards like Bolton and Pompeo, but the essential content is the same.
Canada seems to be tightly hugging American policy everywhere, which is what we might expect from a Conservative Party government, and particularly the Conservative Party of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a man notoriously in line with all things right-wing and American, very much including its Neocons.
The great traditions which gave Canada the international reputation it enjoyed through much of the 20th century were largely the work of leaders in the Liberal Party.
Figures like Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau (father of the current Prime Minister), Paul Martin, and still others all came from the Liberal Party. We had some decent, respected Conservatives, too, but they have almost disappeared in a party which is the handiwork of Stephen Harper.
Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister and Chrystia Freeland as his Foreign Minister, the cabinet member he most depends upon, have left those large traditions behind. Almost entirely.
I think it has a great deal to do with the fact that Justin is not a terribly clever or resourceful man, his previous big job having been as a kindergarten teacher. His father, by contrast, was genuinely brilliant, highly educated, with a mind aptly described as Jesuitical.
Justin suffers also from a rather bland personality, one that tries pleasing everyone. Again, by contrast, his father was fiercely independent-minded, once telling a heckler, “Mangez la merde!” and once challenging someone questioning what he was about to do with, “Just watch me.” Justin does a lot of apologizing and uses a great deal of Millennialist yoga-land language that often says very little of substance.
I believe those qualities in Justin Trudeau have caused him to lean heavily upon Freeland. He is photographed with her far, far more than with any other cabinet minister.
She is smart and has a much tougher personality than he does (although one lacking almost any sparkle or charm), hence his dependence.
But, of course, being smart alone does not save anyone from doing wrong or inappropriate things.
Values, integrity and a certain genuine force of character are required to avoid that. Just look at Mike Pompeo or Hillary Clinton or George Bush pere or Canada’s Stephen Harper – smart people all of them.
There is a need for something a little resembling what Flaubert called a sentimental education, and Freeland completely lacks it.
Freeland has made the wrong calls in almost everything she’s done, dragging Trudeau into the fallout. She is regarded by some as a closet American Neocon, and I pretty much agree with that assessment. Her husband even writes for the New York Times, a paper that has been aptly described as the house organ for America’s power establishment.
Her obvious, and inappropriate, anti-Russian prejudice likely comes from being brought up in Ukrainian-Canadian traditions, which, in my experience, were heavily colored by extreme anti-Soviet attitudes.
Today, Canada supports the overthrow of an elected government in Latin America, and never says a truly critical word about such an appalling government as that of Saudi Arabia. Of course, the Crown Prince is a pampered American favorite for his generous help in the task of spreading the blessings of freedom throughout the Middle East.
Even the legacy of Trudeau’s father is fading as Canada recently reduced services at its embassy in Cuba about the time of new American restrictions against Cuba being announced in Washington. The pathetic excuse was offered that some embassy employees had been hurt by unknown “sonic weapons,” a gimmick the United States came up with a couple of years ago, something with absolutely no science to it.
So, it is all quite disappointing. As far as foreign affairs are concerned, Canada might just as well have a Harperite Conservative government. I don’t know, maybe things on the inside with Washington have become a great deal harsher than they were in Pierre Trudeau’s time, but we see not the least effort at independent thought or principle from our present Liberal government.
“Cognitive dissonance, the mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The unease or tension that the conflict arouses in people is relieved by one of several defensive maneuvers: they reject, explain away, or avoid the new information; persuade themselves that no conflict really exists; reconcile the differences; or resort to any other defensive means of preserving stability or order in their conceptions of the world and of themselves. The concept was developed in the 1950s by American psychologist Leon Festinger and became a major point of discussion and research.”
Be interesting if China sails its’ war ships through Bass Strait that separates Tasmania from mainland Australia. Australia would be crying blue murder.
I believe it’s about Canada….. >