Canada should stay in Afghanistan: Ignatieff

"Imperialist lite" Michael Ignatieff speaks at the Empire Club, 15 June 2010

"Imperialist lite" Michael Ignatieff outlines the new Liberal policy on Afghanistan at the Empire Club

Canadian military personnel should remain in Afghanistan as military and police trainers following the 2011 end of the Kandahar mission, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has declared (Joan Bryden, “Ignatieff: Canadian trainers should stay in Afghanistan,” Globe and Mail, 15 June 2010).

The new Liberal position, which was floated two weeks ago by Bob Rae, was announced by Ignatieff during a speech to the Empire Club on 15 June. The new policy is part of a broader package of Liberal party foreign policy positions spelled out in a new document called Canada in the World: A Global Networks Strategy.

The Afghanistan decision shows both that Ignatieff remains committed to a “liberal interventionist” approach to foreign policy and that he fails to recognize that the Afghanistan intervention is doomed to failure. It also confirms him to be–in this respect at least–an even greater hawk than Prime Minister Harper. While both men supported Canada’s intervention in Afghanistan, advocated Canadian participation in the Iraq war, and voted in favour of extending the military mission in Afghanistan from February 2009 to July 2011, Harper has so far pronounced himself against extending the military mission.

It remains to be seen whether the Prime Minister will maintain that position now that the Liberal party has provided political cover for extending the mission.

Photo by Radey Barrack

Tags: Afghanistan, Canadian military mission in Afghanistan, Defence policy, Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, Stephen Harper