The seventh annual Halifax International Security Forum, a mostly right-of-center gathering of mostly democratic states, covered the full suite of security problems confronting the world today. And whether talking about the self-proclaimed Islamic State and the nightmare of terrorism in Western capitals or the long-term challenges of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive revanchism and China’s increasingly assertive posture in Asia, anxieties were high. Across the spectrum, there was a yearning for more robust American leadership.
The Halifax Forum was created in 2009 with support from Canada’s then-Conservative government as a vehicle to ensure a high-level dialogue with Washington. Despite the myriad of bilateral issues facing the two countries—from extraordinary economic interdependence and related technical cooperation on transportation, energy and natural resources, among other sectors; to their strategic alliance and joint military commands—some in Ottawa have felt a lack of opportunity to focus on the big issues.
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