Building on the model of GMF’s successful Brussels Forum, the Halifax International Security Forum will feature a mix of plenary sessions and smaller breakout sessions, with emphasis on intimate and interactive exchanges between panelists and participants. On-the-record panels will cover broad themes such as international law, nuclear proliferation, and global transatlanticism. Breakout sessions held under the Chatham House Rule will explore challenges associated with North Korea, development, climate change, and counter terrorism, among other topics. The agenda reflects the growing diversity of issues at the core of the transatlantic security relationship as well as the increasing geographic reach of transatlantic cooperation. Finally, the Saturday night dinners, also under the Chatham House Rule, give every participant a unique opportunity to further discuss key issues in a more intimate setting and at the same time sample local cuisine.This puts Canada in a "very exclusive club of countries who are tasked with this important role of peace and security", donchya know.
Canada is scheduled to pull its troops (or the majority of them anyway) out of Afghanistan in 2011. That date is supposedly set in stone. And yet at the International Security Forum, some are publicly saying that President Obama needs to "weigh in" on Afghanistan and use some of famous eloquence to rally western nations and provide a clear articulate vision to win the war.
My first response being, "Yeah, right"; I don't think anyone is going to change the mind of what appears to be the majority of Canadians on this issue. Then again, on second thought, perhaps he could. If he really wanted to. Given his cult of personality.
But forget about putting half as much effort into the oratory on the idea of hope and change and winning the war in Afghanistan as he has into the debate about healthcare. First he would actually have to step up and, you know, make a decision. Walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Just how long will it take Obama to decide on how to respond to General McChrystal's request for increased troops? I mean, this has been going on for quite a while, hasn't it? Like at least two months?
And during that time I've been noting the obvious - it's not just American troops dying while Obama fiddles. So too are Canadians. And. Others.
Which begs the question - if one of the reasons America's allies are fighting in Afghanistan is to help the US finish what it started, doesn't the US have an obligation to those same allies?
Doesn't Obama realize his actions and inactions affect not just his country, but many others?
And might some consider it a mite disingenuous that he ran on a plank of America needing to get out of Iraq but increase resources in Afghanistan, what he referred to as "the good war" given what appears to be the White House's current attitude?
So, yeah. Maybe, just maybe, President Obama needs to stop fiddling and dithering and make a decision on where the US stands on the war in Afghanistan. Before anyone even considers the possibility that he could convince the ROW to stay the course.