(Ottawa) Russia’s war in Ukraine has made the planet more unstable and dangerous, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But he does not believe that this conflict will lead to a new arms race with unforeseeable consequences, such as was experienced in the decades following the Second World War.
It is important, in his view, that the democratic countries continue to support Ukraine by all means in the face of Russian aggression to ensure Kyiv’s unequivocal victory. In a contrary scenario, other authoritarian regimes could be tempted to follow in Russia’s footsteps, jeopardizing a world order and international rules that must govern relations between sovereign countries.
In an interview with The Press During a visit to Shawinigan and Trois-Rivières, Mr. Trudeau agreed that the war in Ukraine was forcing many countries to revise their military spending upwards.
The Prime Minister is not one of those who believe in the Latin saying Si vis pacem, para bellum (“If you want peace, prepare for war”). But it is inevitable that countries will choose to increase their military spending to ensure their security in these uncertain times.
“People are seeing very clearly that the period of peace and stability that we have had for decades is eroding somewhat. We see it with the invasion of Russia, the threats posed by terrorist groups and the instability in certain regions of the world,” said the Prime Minister.
When I was young, I took backpacking trips in West Africa. I crossed borders that today no one can cross, it’s so dangerous. We are in a dangerous world.
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
According to the Prime Minister, the Canadian Armed Forces have a most important role to play in this new context, and his government has the firm intention of continuing to invest in defence.
“Is this the same kind of arms race we’ve seen before? I do not think so. But you have to understand that the world is much more complicated than in the past. »
This world is more complicated, according to Mr. Trudeau, due to the rise of authoritarian regimes like Russia and China “that advocate moral or physical force”.
“If Western democratic countries that have values of openness and respect don’t manage to say to Putin, ‘no, it won’t work’, other regimes will give themselves liberties. We kind of saw that when Putin invaded Crimea. The world did not react as strongly as it should have. Now Putin was taken by surprise by our firmness after he invaded Ukraine. He was also surprised by the fighting spirit of the Ukrainians,” he said.
But if we don’t show firmness and strength to defend our values and our principles such as the Charter of the United Nations, territorial integrity and respect for sovereignty, then we will lose everything we have built over the of the last 70 years.
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
In the weeks following the Russian invasion, in February 2022, Germany announced its intention to spend record sums on its military – 50 billion euros – in order to be able to exceed 2% of the product gross domestic product (GDP) recommended by NATO in the coming years. Berlin has also set up an exceptional fund of 100 billion euros which will be used over several years. Other countries like Sweden and Denmark have also announced new spending, as has Canada.
Recently, Japan, which has been governed by a pacifist Constitution for decades in the wake of its role in World War II, announced that it would double its annual defense budget from about 1% of its GDP to 2% by 2027.
On an official visit to Ottawa about ten days ago, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida insisted that China and North Korea pose unsustainable threats to the stability and security of his country, and to the Indo-Pacific region as a whole.
This region, he also argued, is not immune to attempts like Russia’s to “unilaterally change the status quo”. He cited as an example the dozens of ballistic missile launches carried out in 2022 by North Korea, one of which fell back into the Sea of Japan last November.
In the case of Ukraine, several NATO countries provided it with military equipment to help it counter the Russian invader. Canada is one of the donor countries. Just this week Defense Minister Anita Anand confirmed in a surprise visit to Kyiv that Canada will send another 200 armored vehicles and two weeks ago Trudeau told US President Joe Biden , at a meeting in Mexico City, that Canada would purchase an air defense system from the United States for use in Ukraine.