20 January 2008

An Encouraging Preview of the Manley Report

I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the Manley Report on Canada's future in Afghanistan. There's a story in today's Ottawa Sun which suggests that the document will recommend a "stay the course" approach to our participation in Kandahar, an idea that has merit. I've long been of the view that Canada's isolationists are simply wrong about Afghanistan, as I feel that if not Afghanistan, where is a suitable place for Canada to have a forward presence, in the context of either peacekeeping or peace-making? Simply put, Afghanistan embodies in nearly every way Canada's foreign and defence policy: we are promoting democratic ideals and the rule of law, we are conducting counterterrorism efforts (those much-loathed "Search and Destroy" missions the NDP are obsessed with denouncing), we are promoting genuine stability in the region, and we are improving the lives and livelihoods of the people of Afghanistan through diplomatic, infrastructure, and aid initiatives. While "stay the course" is a nebulous term and one probably too-closely affiliated with Washington's policy in Iraq, keeping Canada in Afghanistan to improve the lives of people in that country while protecting the lives of Canadians here is of paramount importance to Canadian national security interests. If anything, we should be ramping up efforts--on all fronts--to ensure that we can achieve victory as much as possible before the politicians attempt to pull the plug in February 2009.

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