Anatomy Of The F35 Fighter Jet Deal

Great piece today, providing a rare glimpse into the politics behind the F35 fighter jet. At the very least, I would expect to see some investigative journalism to help uncover the events that lead to the Canadian purchase. A bit hard to believe the Americans didn’t apply pressure on Canada, given what has been revealed elsewhere:

In this case, U.S. diplomats worked closely with officials from Lockheed Martin, the jet’s manufacturer, to combat negative media coverage, woo decision makers and publicly promote the fighter.

They even weren’t above putting Norway’s relationship with Washington on the line.

“We needed to avoid any appearance of undue pressuring . . . but we couldn’t let stand the view that the choice didn’t matter for the relationship,” one diplomatic note says.

In public, the U.S. took the line that buying the F-35 would “maximize” Norway’s relationship with the U.S. “In private, we were much more forceful,” the note says.

At one point, as debate raged and public opinion appeared to turn against the F-35, U.S. diplomats in Norway warned that intervention was needed to seal the deal.

“High-level Washington advocacy on this issue is needed to help reverse this trend,” the memo said.

I would hope, we go beyond calling up MacKay for comment, as was the case in this article, because his view is frankly beyond useless. It’s actually amazing, that the Americans were willing to put their diplomatic relationship with Norway on the line to secure this purchase. In other words, Lockheed Martin is just a front for the American government, this is their plane and they are pressuring everyone to sign on. What sequence of events led to Canada signing on? Was there a similar strong arm campaign to secure our purchase? What does it say about the MERIT of the plane, that the Americans needed to threaten other countries to seal the deal? Is this plane really about requirements, or is it about appeasing our American neighbours? 

I’ve had my suspicions that this plane purchase is more about geopolitics than real world application. The lame rationale provided by the government during the initial sales pitch speaks to the lack of firm justification readily available. These revelations about the Norway purchase demand we get a better understanding of how this deal really came to be, somebody needs to shed light on this shadowy process.

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