BRUSSELS — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has delivered a tough, unambiguous message to NATO members, including Canada, saying the United States expects them to do more in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
The blunt talk on Wednesday was particularly significant for Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, which has pledged to end the Canadian bombing campaign and refocus the military commitment on training local forces, including police.
Kerry told his 27 other counterparts meeting in Brussels that the international coalition must strike at the core of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and strangle its efforts to set up networks elsewhere.
Although he didn’t reference the Canadian combat withdrawal, Kerry did give the Liberal government an opening by saying that there are a number of countries willing to step up and the contributions don’t necessarily “have to be troops engaged in kinetic action.”
Kerry said the U.S. has specifically asked for special forces instructors, police trainers and so-called “enablers,” such as transport and medical facilities.
On his way into the meeting Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion struck a similar tone, saying Canada can withdraw its CF-18s and do more than just simply providing two per cent of the air strikes.