Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Critics Are Not The Only Ignorant Folks

Murray Brewster has been on the F-35 story in Canada like a terrier.  His latest story makes it abundantly clear that there is a huge contradiction in Canadian defence planning: the future of airware is so important that Canada must invest huge amounts of money in the latest and supposedly greatest plane--the F-35.  At the same time, the plane is unlikely to come in on schedule but there is no plan for filling the gap as the current F-18s go beyond their lifespan.  So, the need for the best is extreme but it is ok if we have a gap between the two generations of planes?  See the contradiction? 

Well, politically, it makes sense.  If you really want plane A, do not prepare any alternatives so that if plane A has problems, the opposition cannot switch the tracks to plan B and another plane.  If there were was another plane that could fill the gap, then the urgency of buying an over-priced, under-performing plane would be less clear.

I am reading Brewster's book on Canada and Afghanistan, The Savage War, where there is a similar theme--that the Tories tend to go all in on a particular path and then don't know how to adjust or shift direction.

What frustrates me greatly about the Harper government is not that they chose the F-35, but they didn't seem to really think that hard about it and weigh the alternatives.  Even or especially now, there does not seem to be much re-consideration of the options.  Other countries, such as Australia, are thinking seriously about the tradeoffs and the likely outcomes.  Canada has its head in the snow.

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