Trudeau to mark NATO’s birthday amid questions on army alliance’s future

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Printed Monday, December 2, 2019 7:19AM EST


Final Up to date Monday, December 2, 2019 eight:48AM EST

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is off to London the place he’ll spend the following few days attempting to provide the NATO army alliance a lift amid existential questions on its future — whereas defending Canada’s personal dedication to it.

Leaders from all 29 NATO member states are gathering in London this week to have fun the 70th birthday of the alliance, which was created in the beginning of the Chilly Warfare to defend North America and Western Europe from the Soviet Union.


Extra lately, the alliance has fought in Afghanistan, ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, patrolled for pirates off the Horn of Africa and established a line of defence in Japanese Europe in opposition to Russian aggression.

Canada has been concerned in all these efforts and extra, together with main a NATO coaching mission in Iraq and contributing fighter jets to patrol Romanian airspace and frigates to patrol the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

But NATO has additionally confronted stress lately, with members grappling over how you can greatest take care of Russia and China at the same time as U.S. President Donald Trump has raised questions on his nation’s dedication to the alliance.


Final month, French President Emmanuel Macron kicked off a pointy debate over NATO’s future when he prompt the army alliance was affected by “mind loss of life” attributable to a scarcity of co-ordination and communication between members.

He particularly cited the U.S. army withdrawal from northeast Syria and Turkey’s subsequent invasion of the realm — each with none session with fellow NATO members — as examples of a breakdown within the alliance.

There have additionally been arguments over the amount of cash particular person members are investing of their militaries, with Trump main the cost in calling on European allies in addition to Canada to step up their spending.


China can also be set to determine prominently throughout the discussions because it has grow to be extra assertive in its neighbourhood and world wide — and due to U.S. calls for that Canada and others ban Huawei from its 5G networks.

The alliance can also be at odds over the easiest way to take care of Russia, with some members suggesting extra dialogue at the same time as others resembling Canada take a tough line with it over its actions in Ukraine and elsewhere.

There are additionally considerations about NATO member Turkey, which has grow to be near Russia below its more and more autocratic president, but sits in a strategically vital location bridging Europe with Asia and the Center East.


It’s into this minefield that Trudeau will step, beginning with a dialogue alongside his Dutch counterpart on Tuesday the place the Canadian prime minister is anticipated to tout the significance of NATO to North American, European and international safety.

“Standing collectively, North America and Europe symbolize half of the world’s financial may and half of the world’s army may,” NATO Secretary Common Jens Stoltenberg stated final week.

“In unsure instances, we’d like sturdy multilateral establishments like NATO. So we should proceed to strengthen them daily. To maintain all our residents protected.”


It is a message Trudeau is anticipated to echo.

But senior authorities officers have warned in opposition to anticipating Trudeau to make any bulletins earlier than he returns to Canada on Wednesday night time in time for the resumption of Parliament on Thursday.

Moderately, making certain the alliance not solely survives however adapts and positions itself to face the threats of at the moment and tomorrow is seen as important to Canada’s personal safety, given its comparatively small dimension and considerably remoted place atop the U.S.


Trudeau will even tout Canada’s many contributions to the alliance within the face of U.S. and different considerations about its defence spending, which stands at 1.31 per cent of gross home product — lower than NATO’s agreed-upon goal of two per cent.

The federal government has as an alternative repeatedly pointed to Canada main a battle group in Latvia and offering army trainers in Iraq, fighter jets in Romania and a frigate within the Mediterranean as a greater measurement of its contributions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed on Dec. 2, 2019.