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Modi in Washington: Why India Will Not Become a US Ally

India’s recent moves do not mean it is breaking with the BRICS or joining a US alliance against China. It is simply a case of India pursuing its traditional policy of positioning itself between the Great Powers to achieve greatest advantage for itself.

Alexander Mercouris

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Indian Prime Minister Modi’s just completed visit to Washington has reinforced fears that India is evolving into a full-fledged ally of the US.

The grounds for thinking this were ably discussed by my colleague Andrew Korybko in two fine pieces he has written for The Duran.  For those interested in the details of the moves the US and India have been making towards each other, there is no better place to start than those two articles (here and here).

Is India however really abandoning its traditional policy of non-alignment to forge an alliance with Washington that would in effect bury the BRICS arrangement?

I have no doubt that that is what Washington itself believes.  I am sure that in the aftermath of Prime Minister Modi’s visit, Washington’s huge foreign policy establishment is busy congratulating itself on its success in detaching India from Russia and China.  The champagne corks in Langley and Foggy Bottom are no doubt flying as I write this, and I have no doubt that Andrew Korybko has reproduced with absolute accuracy the way the whole India play is looked upon by people inside the Beltway.

However I suspect that from New Delhi things look rather different.  I am quite sure that both the hopes and fears of an Indian alliance with the US are exaggerated.

Before discussing my reasons for saying this, it is necessary to provide some background.

Much of the concern that has been expressed about Prime Minister Modi’s dalliance with Washington derives from a misunderstanding of his background. There was a widespread view before Modi became Prime Minister of India that because the US had previously denied him a visa to travel to the US that somehow meant he was opposed to the US, and this has led to surprise when it turned out that he was not hostile to the US at all, with more than a hint in some quarters of a feeling of betrayal.

In reality the US refusal of a visa simply reflects ignorance of Indian politics and the US propensity to strike poses, in this case in connection to sectarian riots in Gujarat in 2002 for which Modi as the state’s chief minister was deemed by the US to be responsible.  The episode of the visa says nothing about Modi’s actual opinions of the US and is irrelevant to his actions as India’s Prime Minister.  Those are rooted in his own political needs and background and in India’s national interests.

Briefly and very crudely, Indian politics since independence have broadly followed one of two traditions: the secular leftist “social democracy” associated with Congress or the more conservative, more right wing and more free market oriented course associated with what is sometimes called the Hindutva nationalist movement.  Very broadly, during the Cold War Indian politicians associated with Congress tended to tilt towards Moscow, whilst more Hindutva oriented politicians tended to be more sympathetic to Washington.

Modi comes from the Hindutva nationalist tradition.  He came to power as leader of the right wing Hindutva oriented BJP after defeating Congress in 2014 in parliamentary elections, and he has positioned himself as a follower of the previous BJP Prime Minister hailing from the Hindutva tradition – Atal Bihari Vajpayee – whose name Modi repeatedly invoked in the speech he made to the US Congress during his US visit.

Modi’s Hindutva background would itself suffice to explain his preference for closer dealings with Washington.  There are however practical reasons that might impel him in that direction anyway – as they did his Congress predecessor Manmohan Singh. 

The first is the forceful demands for a closer alignment with the US from the outspokenly pro-US business community centred on India’s port city of Mumbai (Bombay).  These people form a key component of Modi’s political constituency and he is simply not in a position to disregard them. 

The second is the wish to attract US investment to India in order to sustain India’s programme for rapid economic growth and economic modernisation.  This has been India’s overriding priority ever since the initial steps were taken by Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister in the Congress government of the 1990s to liberalise India’s economy.

Given these factors Modi has actually been restrained in his dealings with the US.  It is important to say anyway that these dealings follow an established tradition within India of seeking good relations with the US.

In the late 1970s the leader of what was then the Janata party (the lineal ancestor of today’s BJP) Prime Minister Morarji Desai, was widely suspected of having leaked intelligence information from within the Indian Cabinet to Washington during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.  Whether that was true or not, there is evidence that Henry Kissinger at least considered Morarji Desai to be a US intelligence asset (for a full discussion of this controversial question see the chapter on the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 in Seymour Hersh’s The Price of Power) and he did in fact follow a more friendly policy towards the US – and Pakistan – than the Congress led governments of the period did.

As for Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi’s predecessor as BJP leader and Indian prime minister, it was during his period as Prime Minister that the first steps in forming the present US-Indian relationship were taken with the visit in 2000 of US President Clinton – the first visit to India by a US President in 22 years.

The key event in forging the present close relations between the US and India however happened not under Vajpayee – or indeed now under Modi.  It happened during the last period of Congress government, when the US administration of George W. Bush made a sustained and ultimately successful attempt between 2005 and 2008 to forge good relations with India

The key achievement of this period – and the keystone of the whole US-Indian relationship – pointedly referred to as such by Modi in the speech he made to the US Congress during his visit – was the 2008 India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement, which essentially amounted to recognition by the US of India’s status as a fully-fledged nuclear Great Power.

Suffice to say that the Indian Prime Minister at the time of the India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement was none other than Manmohan Singh, someone often spoken of as a BRICS loyalist, who represented India at the founding summit of the BRICS group in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in 2009.

It is entirely natural that Modi, like Manmohan Singh before him, would want to build on the relationship with the US forged during the premierships of Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.  Doing so after all arguably serves both his own political needs and India’s national interests.  India has no interest in making an enemy of the US and it is entirely natural that it would want to extract the most advantages from the US by maintaining a good relationship with it.

What however of the greater strategic play – does wanting good relations with the US mean India has to align itself with Washington against Beijing and Moscow? 

Before discussing this question it is necessary to say something about the history of India’s relationships with Beijing and Moscow.

India’s relations with China since independence has been complex and difficult.  India’s relations with Russia since independence by contrast have been straightforward and easy.

China and India had very close relations in the 1950s – much closer than today – when it appeared that the two countries’ prime ministers, Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru, had forged a close friendship.  Relations however fell apart in the early 1960s over Tibet and disputes over their common border, with a brief but savage war fought between the two countries in 1962 in which Russia sided with India but in which India was comprehensively defeated by China, leaving China occupying much of what had previously been Indian controlled territory. 

Relations between India and China then remained very tense until Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 since when they have warned considerably.  During the previous period of tense relations China however forged an alliance with India’s perennial enemy Pakistan, which continues to this day and which adds another layer of conflict to the Indian-Chinese relationship.

With Russia by contrast the relationship has been straightforward and good.  India and Russia have been close friends since India achieved independence from Britain (the Indian ambassador Krishna Menon was the last foreign visitor received by Stalin before his death in 1953). 

In the late 1960s, as Moscow’s own relations with China deteriorated, Russia and India became for a time de facto allies against China and its ally Pakistan, with Russia providing India with critical military assistance which enabled India to win victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. 

Since the USSR’s collapse relations between Russia and India have as a result of Russia’s diminished reach and power inevitably become more distant, but they have remained warm.

Given the complex and difficult history of India’s relations with China, and given the huge increase in Chinese power which has taken place since the 1970s, and given the reduction in power of India’s former partner Russia over the same period, and given the fact that Russia has itself drawn closer to China and is now in de facto alliance with it, it is completely understandable that India would want to insure its position against China by strengthening its ties with Washington.  India would surely be doing this even if there were not also compelling economic reasons to do so (see above).

However looked at objectively what is striking is the restraint India has shown in pursuing this objective.  Whilst India has certainly followed the logic of improving its relations with Washington, it has been careful to retain its traditionally good relations with Moscow, and under both Manmohan Singh and Modi it has kept its lines of communication to China open, working successfully alongside China and Russia as a member of the BRICS.

The reason India has pursued this balanced course is actually made clear in Andrew Korybko’s two pieces.  India’s aspirations to be accepted as a Great Power are ultimately incompatible with subordination to Washington – a relationship of subordination to the US being the only type of relationship Washington today seems able to forge with other powers.

Beyond this, India has no more interest in making an enemy of China than it has in making an enemy of the US.  China is far more powerful than India.  India cannot defeat China militarily and recent experience will have taught India that any US commitments to “defend” India from China are to all intents and purposes worthless.  China is also India’s biggest trading partner and – like the US – is a key potential investor in the Indian economy.

From India’s point of view maintaining at least a working relationship with China is therefore overwhelmingly in India’s interests even if for historically fully understandable reasons the relationship with China cannot be conflict free or entirely warm.

All this points to the sort of policy Modi is currently following – and which was followed previously by his two predecessors – Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh: good relations with both Washington and Moscow combined with a certain wariness towards China but with a continued willingness to work with China in India’s national interest through the BRICS group and the various other Chinese led institutions that are now being formed.

Seen in this context it is now possible to read Modi’s speech to the US Congress in the proper way. 

The speech contained all the usual cliches and bromides Americans love: invocations of “freedom”, platitudes about American democracy, flattering reminders of how India is also a democracy, paeans of praise for American enterprise, breathless references to Abraham Lincoln, Norman Borlaug, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Walt Whitman (as it happens an interesting selection, and one that might beg some questions) and heroic talk of the joint struggle against Islamist terrorism.

It also made no definite promise or commitment to the US whatsoever.  The whole tenor of the speech was a call for US support for India with nothing of substance offered in return.  Importantly, nowhere in the speech is there a single reference to the Logistics Support Agreement discussed at length in his two pieces by Andrew Korybko. 

Whilst the Logistics Support Agreement does have the potential to evolve into the sort of all-encompassing military relationship Andrew Korybko writes about – and that is no doubt how the US envisages it – it is important to say that that can only happen if India approaches it in that way. 

As things stand that is most unlikely.  From the Indian point of view the Logistics Support Agreement should be seen for what it is: an insurance policy India has taken out with the US against China, which India can draw upon if its relations with China ever turn sticky, but which India ultimately only took out because it was pressed do so by the US, who offered it to India for free.

Modi’s visit to the US Congress and his speech there is in fact a regular ritual Indian prime ministers now regularly perform when they visit the US.  Similar speeches have been delivered to the US Congress by previous Indian prime ministers: Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. 

From Modi’s point of view his speech must be counted a success.  Though Modi actually offered nothing the assembled Congressmen – thrilled by Modi’s earnest flattery – lapped his speech up.  The result is that Modi left Washington with Congressional approval for trade concessions and for more arms sales.

Having got what he wanted in Washington, Modi’s next move says everything one needs to know about the true nature of Indian policy.  On returning to New Delhi where – hopefully – US listening devices could no longer hear him, practically the first thing Modi did was to telephone his BRICS partner – President Putin of Russia – presumably over a secure line.

The Kremlin’s brief account of the call suggests a Putin – Modi summit is in the works.  It pointedly also refers to relations between India and Russia as a “privileged strategic partnership” – balancing similar words used in Washington by Modi to describe India’s relationship with the US.

Whilst we cannot know exactly what Modi and Putin said to each other, it is overwhelmingly likely Modi would have given Putin a detailed account of his visit to the US and that that was the purpose of his call.  It is also overwhelmingly likely that a full account of Modi’s conversation with Putin – perhaps even a transcript – will have been sent by the Kremlin to Beijing, and that Modi made the call knowing – and intending – that that would happen.

In summary, India’s moves towards Washington are not the actions of a country that is repositioning itself as an ally of the US pitched against its former partners Russia and China.  Nor are they an attempt by India to play one side off against the other.  Rather they should be seen as what they surely are: the careful manoeuvring of an emerging Great Power as it seeks the maximum advantage for itself in an increasingly fluid international system. 

The Russians and Chinese undoubtedly understand all this especially since – as Modi’s telephone call to Putin shows – the Indians are being careful to keep them informed about what they are doing.

As for the US, obsessed as it has become with its complex games of geopolitical chess, it by contrast almost certainly does not understand what the Indians are up to even though – if the US had a more conventional approach to foreign policy – understanding it would be easy enough. 

That this is so is shown by what happened the last time the US sought to play an emerging Asian Great Power off against one of its rivals.  That was in the 1980s when the US sought to play the “China card” against Moscow – oblivious to the fact that whilst it was doing so the Russians and the Chinese were quietly settling their differences with each other.  In the process the US made a string of unilateral concessions to “win over” China – just as they are doing with India now – including the fatal one of opening up US markets to Chinese goods.  The rest as they say is history.

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Germany Wants Nuclear Bombers

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them.

The Duran

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Via VoltaireNet.org:


Germany’s armed forces are currently studying the possibility of acquiring nuclear bombers capable of using the new American B61-12 atomic bombs.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon itself plans to deploy these new atomic bombs in the German region of Eifel, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The German air force already has multi-tasking Tornado warplanes, which are already capable of deploying American atomic bombs. But those aircraft are going to be replaced, possibly, by European-developed Eurofighters, or by United States manufactured F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Either way, the warplane that Germany selects will have to be equipped with the AMAC (Aircraft Monitoring and Control) system, which allows the use of the new American atomic bombs and enables the regulation of the power of the explosion as well as at what height the bombs explode after they are launched.

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them, and believes that this gives it the right to sit on the UN Security Council sharing the permanent member position occupied by France.

Both countries would thus represent the European Union, under the auspices of NATO.

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1st since Notre Dame: Yellow Vests back despite ‘unifying’ disaster & they are angry

‘Yellow Vests’ march in Paris for 23rd straight week.

RT

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Via RT…


Yellow Vests protests brought clashes and tear gas back to the streets of Paris, despite politicians’ calls for “unity” in the wake of the Notre Dame fire. For protesters, the response to the fire only showed more inequality.

Saturday’s protests mark the 23rd straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations, but the first since Notre Dame de Paris went up in flames on Monday. Officials were quick to criticize the protesters for returning to the streets so soon after the disaster.

“The rioters will be back tomorrow,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on Friday. “The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame.”

For many of the protesters, grief over the destruction of the 800-year-old landmark has made way for anger. With smoke still rising from Notre Dame, a group of French tycoons and businessmen pledged €1 billion to the cathedral’s reconstruction, money that the Yellow Vests say could be better spent elsewhere.

“If they can give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, they should stop telling us there is no money to respond to the social emergency,” trade union leader Philippe Martinez told France 24.

Saturday’s protests saw a return to scenes familiar since the Yellow Vests first mobilized in November to protest a fuel tax hike. Demonstrators in Paris’ Bastille district set barricades on fire and smashed vehicles, and police deployed tear gas to keep the crowds at bay.

Sporadic incidents of vandalism and looting were reported across the city, and some journalists even reported rioters throwing feces at police.

60,000 police officers were deployed across the country, and in Paris, a security perimeter was set up around Notre Dame. A planned march that would have passed the site was banned by police, and elsewhere, 137 protesters had been arrested by mid afternoon, police sources told Euronews.

Beginning as a show of anger against rising fuel costs in November, the Yellow Vests movement quickly evolved into a national demonstration of rage against falling living standards, income inequality, and the perceived elitism and pro-corporation policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Over 23 weeks of unrest, Macron has made several concessions to the protesters’ demands, but has thus far been unable to quell the rising dissent.

After Notre Dame caught fire on Monday, the president postponed a television address to the nation, during which he was expected to unveil a package of tax cuts and other economic reforms, another measure to calm the popular anger in France.

Macron’s address will be held on Thursday.

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O Canada! The True North Strong and Free – Not

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Canadian visitors to Washington sometimes wonder why their embassy stands at the foot of Capitol Hill.

The answer? To be close to where Canada’s laws are made.

A main showcase of Ottawa’s craven servility to Washington is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s complicity in the US-led regime change operation being conducted against Venezuela. Not content with ruining his own country with multiculturalism, polysexualism, and the like, Li’l Justin has acted in lockstep with Big Brother to the south inslapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials and serving as a US agent of influence, especially with other countries in the western hemisphere:

‘A Canadian Press report published at the end of January revealed that Canadian diplomats worked systematically over several months with their Latin American counterparts in Caracas to prepare the current regime-change operation, pressing [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro’s right-wing opponents to set aside their differences and mount a joint challenge to the government. “The turning point,” said the Canadian Press [Global News], “came Jan. 4, when the Lima Group … rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s May 2018 election victory and his looming January 10 inauguration, while recognizing the ‘legitimately elected’ National Assembly.” The report cited an unnamed Canadian official as saying the opposition “were really looking for international support of some kind, to be able to hold onto a reason as to why they should unite, and push somebody like Juan Guaidó.”

‘One day prior to Maduro’s inauguration, [Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia] Freeland spoke to Guaidó, the newly-elected National Assembly speaker, by telephone to urge him to challenge the elected Venezuelan president.’

But that’s not all. Canada is out front and center in the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies’ war on China’s Huawei – with direct prompting from US legislators and intelligence.  As explained by Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, it’s not that Huawei violated any law when circumventing US sanctions but it is the US that is acting illegally by unilaterally imposing sanctions that were never agreed to internationally. But that’s OK – when it comes to Washington’s claims of jurisdiction over every human being on the planet, Justin and Chrystia are happy to oblige!

Also, let’s not forget Chrystia’s role in keeping the pot boiling in Ukraine. It would of course be cynical (and probably racist) to attribute anything relating to Ukraine to her own interesting family background …

To be fair, the lickspittle attitude of Canadian officials towards their masters south of the 49th parallel is hardly unique in the world. Also to be fair, it’s natural and would be generally beneficial for Canada to have a positive relationship with a powerful, kindred neighbor rather than a negative one. Think of Austria’s ties to Germany, or the Trans-Tasman relationship of Australia and New Zealand, or the links that still exist between Russia and Ukraine despite efforts by the west to set them against each other (as, for example, Spain and Portugal were at loggerheads for several centuries, when the latter was a loyal ally of Spain’s foe, Great Britain, to such an extent that Portugal was sometimes shown on maps and globes in the same pink as British possessions; a similar situation existed between Argentina and British ally Chile).

A close and mutually advantageous relationship is one thing, but Canada’s de facto loss of independence is another. Not only does the US control Canada’s diplomacy, military, and intelligence but also her financial system (with, among other levers, the notorious FATCA law, which places Canadian institutions under the supervision of the IRS, with Canada’s revenue service acting, care of the Canadian taxpayer, as a cat’s paw for not only the IRS but the NSA and other snooping agencies). As explained by one Canadian nationalist (yes, they do exist!), the redoubtable David Orchard, trade is also a critical issue:

‘Canada …, after almost three decades of “free trade” with the U.S., has more than $1.2 trillion in federal and provincial debt, large deficits at every level, no national child or dental care, high university tuition, miserly old age pensions, years of massive budget cuts, and giveaway prices for its exports of oil, gas, timber and minerals.

‘For 150 years, great Canadian leaders have warned that without an economic border with the United States, we would soon no longer have a political border.

‘We once owned the world’s largest farm machinery maker, Massey Harris, headquartered in Toronto; built the world’s largest and most respected marketer of wheat and barley, the Canadian Wheat Board, based in Winnipeg; created a great transcontinental railway system, beginning in Montreal, which tied our country together; and saw Vancouver’s shipyards produce the beautiful Fast Cat ferry.

‘Instead of spending hundreds of billions on foreign-made machinery, electronics, automobiles, ships, fighter jets and passenger aircraft (even payroll systems for federal employees!), we can build our own, both for the domestic and export market.

‘We once designed and built the world’s most advanced jet interceptor, the Avro Arrow, so we know it can be done. [Emphasis added] With Canada’s resources and ingenuity, it could create a prosperous, domestically controlled economy that would give Canadians multiple benefits, security and pride of ownership. All that is required is some of the will that drove our ancestors to create an alternate power in North America. As George-Étienne Cartier, the great Québécois Father of Confederation, put it, “Now everything depends on our patriotism.”’ [Note: Orchard is the author of the must-read book The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. To begin at the beginning, in the late 1680s, as part of English-French rivalry in North America, Massachusetts Puritans sought to root out the nest of popish deviltry known as Quebec. Following their disastrous 1690 defeat, they decided to fight Satan closer to home by hanging witches. The rest, as they say, is history…]

Scratch a Canadian patriot and you’ll hear about the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow. As a watershed moment in Canada’s downward slide into subservience, the cancellation of what by all accounts was a magnificent aircraft – and a snapshot of what Canada’s international competitiveness (including in advanced aerospace) could have looked like had it been able to develop independently – might have been the point of being sucked into the American vortex. As noted by one response to my suggestion that Ottawa’s stance on Venezuela amounted to Canada’s annexation by the US: “Canadian here…unfortunately, the above is true (not literally of course, but in practice). It goes back even before the time of Diefenbaker, who canceled our Avro Arrow program on demand from the US – thus destroying our aerospace industry and causing brain drain to the US/Europe.”

To this day, the decision of then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to kill the Arrow project (and “put 14,528 Avro employees, as well as nearly 15,000 other employees in the Avro supply chain of outside suppliers, out of work”) on what came to be known as “Black Friday,” February 20, 1959, remains controversial and shrouded in mystery. A mix of budgetary, political, technological, and personality factors has been cited, none of them conclusive. Pressure from the US side, including unwillingness of Washington to purchase a Canadian aircraft when the US could pressure them to buy American planes and missiles, no doubt played a key role: “Instead of the CF-105, the RCAF invested in a variety of Century Series fighters from the United States. These included the F-104 Starfighter (46 percent of which were lost in Canadian service), and (more controversial, given the cancellation of the Arrow) the CF-101 Voodoo. The Voodoo served as an interceptor, but at a level of performance generally below that expected of the Arrow.”

While we may never know reliably why Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow or how Canada or Canadian industry might have followed a different path, there’s no question of the superior capabilities of the Arrow. As it happens, one of the few pilots who had a chance to test the Arrow in an impromptu friendly dogfight is now-retired USAF fighter pilot Col. George Jatras, later US Air Attaché in Moscow (also, this analyst’s father). As he related in 2017:

‘I’ve received a number of messages in the last couple days about this bird, including some that say it may be revived. I don’t know how The Arrow would compare to today’s aircraft, but I had a first-hand lesson on how it faired against the F-102.

‘In 1959, I was stationed at Suffolk County AFB on Long Island with the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron. We had an informal exchange program with a Canadian fighter squadron stationed near Montreal. From time to time, two or four aircraft from one of the squadrons would fly to the other’s base on a weekend cross country.

‘On one such exchange, I was #3 in a four ship formation led by [former Tuskegee airmanErnie Craigwell (I don’t recall who the other pilots were). As we entered Canadian airspace, cruising at about 40,000 ft., we spotted a contrail well above our altitude (probably at 50,000ft.) and closing very fast.  As the other aircraft appeared to be passing by, we could clearly see the delta shaped wing and knew it was the Avro Arrow that the Canadian pilots had told us about. Then, instead of just passing by, he rolled in on us! Ernie called for a break and we split into elements. When we talked about the encounter afterwards we all agreed that our first thought was, “This guy is in for a surprise; he doesn’t know that he’s taking on the F-102.”  Well, we were the ones in for a surprise. Even with two elements covering each other, not one of us could get on his tail. His power and maneuverability were awesome.  After he had played with us for a few minutes, like a cat with four mice, he zoomed back up to about 50K and went on his way. What an aircraft! What a shame that it never went into production.’

What is perhaps most curious about the Arrow’s demise is that “everything was ordered brutally destroyed; plans, tools, parts, and the completed planes themselves were to be cut up, destroyed, scrapped and everything made to disappear.”  Why? Well, security of course! Don’t engage in conspiracy theories …

The Canadian national anthem finishes with a pledge: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” It should be noted that understandably resentful Loyalists fleeing the US following the American Revolution were a major contribution to the growth of Canada’s English-speaking population. American troops – back when we were the plucky underdog fighting the mighty British Empire – invaded Canada in 1775 and during the War of 1812 but were defeated. Relations got testy during the American Civil War as well, and even afterwards the US was wary of a proposed united “Kingdom of Canada,” hence the choice of the name “Dominion” in 1967. If today’s Canadians think we-all down here don’t know whom they’ve mostly had in mind to “stand on guard” against all this time, they’d better think again.

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence – eh?

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