COMMENTARY: Why Donald Trump’s coronavirus border plan is much ado about nothing

Canada doubled down Friday on its opposition to a plan by means of U.S. Division of Fatherland Safety that may have the company ask the Pentagon to put about 1,000 U.S. troops, armed with sensors, close to the border between the 2 nations to take a look at to locate unlawful would-be immigrants.

Top Minister Justin Trudeau stated Friday that Canada was once nonetheless in search of rationalization from the White Area about what, precisely, the U.S.’s intentions have been and repeated that his executive was once strongly adverse to the plan.

After the furore in Canada, the U.S. stated past due Thursday that it was once now not going via with the proposal, although the top minister stated Friday that he was once nonetheless undecided about what the U.S. may do.

The top minister’s remarks adopted by means of an afternoon Deputy Top Minister Chrystia Freeland’s declaration that Canada had made its “opposition very, very transparent to our American opposite numbers.”

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Trump looking to put troops near Canadian border amid coronavirus fears

What must be of better fear to these Canadians who imagine the state must now not interfere into their non-public lives is how high-tech tools, reminiscent of sensors and mobile phones, are being utilized by governments to trace other folks’s whereabouts in order that they can not infect others with COVID-19.

This will not be improper when there’s a world pandemic, however the rights and wrongs of this, and learn how to put this genie again within the bottle after the pandemic is managed, are surely worthy of discussion — specifically since Top Minister Trudeau has stated he would believe monitoring voters’ actions if his executive concluded that was once required.

That the U.S. has been making an allowance for transferring about 1,000 troops close to its northern border (and about 500 extra troops to its southern border with Mexico) to help the border patrol in fighting other folks from illegally coming into there may be ridiculous, after all, as quite few other folks ever attempt to go from the north.

This will have to be very true nowadays, with the U.S. having change into a petri bowl of COVID-19 coronavirus an infection. None amongst us and few from in other places would wish to take a look at to damage into the U.S. nowadays.

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Whilst the mockery that this U.S. plan has engendered is comprehensible, the strict denunciations from one of the political echelon had been somewhat a lot. The one obtrusive function has been to attain simple political issues on the expense of a neighbour that unearths itself at the ropes these days.

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2:27Coronavirus outbreak: Freeland calls deployment of troops at Canada / U.S. border ‘totally needless’

Coronavirus outbreak: Freeland calls deployment of troops at Canada / U.S. border ‘totally needless’

The top minister and his deputy it sounds as if appear to do not know that the U.S. military already has a department (as much as 20,000 troops) of struggle forces dwelling mins away by means of highway from the Thousand Islands and Kingston, and 90 mins away by means of highway and 20 mins away by means of helicopter from Ottawa.

The 10th Mountain Department is living on 434 sq. kilometres of land at Fortress Drum in northern New York. Essentially the most often deployed common power troops that the U.S. has, the 10th’s infantrymen have completed a couple of excursions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the place they have got every now and then stood shoulder to shoulder with Canadian and Afghan troops.

And talking of helicopters, Fortress Drum almost certainly has extra of them than there are in all of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Out west, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord by means of Puget Sound, most effective two hours by means of highway south of Vancouver, greater than 40,000 troops from the U.S. Military’s I Corps and the USAF Airlift Command occupy 367 sq. kilometres of top actual property. I Corps even has a Canadian basic serving as a deputy commander.

The USAF additionally has a basic based totally with the RCAF in Winnipeg and Canada has a three-star basic at NORAD in Colorado and different flag officials based totally in Hawaii, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

Trudeau says U.S. putting troops near Canadian border would be a ‘mistake’

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Additionally, the USAF mechanically sends tankers, bombers and fighter jets over Canadian airspace as a part of their joint duties for NORAD, and U.S. troops from Fortress Drum and in other places frequently carry 1000’s of troops and combating cars to coach at CFB Petawawa within the Ottawa Valley or at CFB Wainwright in northern Alberta.

The U.S. additionally has a string of fighter and bomber bases very with reference to Canada in northern Washington State, Montana and North Dakota. And the U.S. Military is thought to nearly at all times have nuclear submarines lurking in Canada’s northern archipelago.

Price remembering, too, is that the U.S. Border Patrol on each northern and southern frontiers is already armed and frequently makes use of helicopters and drones that use radar and different sensors to seek for unlawful immigrants.

Within the grand scheme of items, the U.S. making an allowance for hanging 1,000 troops alongside the period of its eight,891-kilometre border close to Canada, the place about 60,000 troops are already based totally, could be very small beer at the moment, particularly when hotbeds of COVID-19 an infection are breaking out all over together with British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Mike Day, the previous head of Canada’s particular forces, were given it proper in a Tweet on Friday about Fatherland Safety’s hair-brained plan.

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“We’re proper to object however any bandwidth dedicated to that is factor is a distraction,” he stated.

Canada’s political elegance will have to care for a laser center of attention on slowing down the rustic’s personal mushrooming coronavirus an infection fee and to find tactics to significantly better offer protection to voters and well being care staff from this pernicious world scourge.

The kerfuffle in regards to the mooted placement of, on reasonable, one U.S. soldier for each 8 kilometres of the lengthy undefended border is in reality a lot ado about not anything.

Matthew Fisher is a world affairs columnist and overseas correspondent who has labored in a foreign country for 35 years. You’ll be able to observe him on Twitter at @mfisheroverseas

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