Last year, Sen. Dan Sullivan was a featured participant at the Halifax Security Forum in Nova Scotia, and was on one of the panels.
But this year, he’s a no show. So are a lot of other senators. The forum is bereft of U.S. participation — from Congress, at least. There are plenty of ministers from other nations, from Afghanistan to Kosovo, and reporters and editors in abundance.
Inquiring minds wanted to know why U.S. senators, in an era of heightened tensions, are sitting this one out, when up to 90 nations are participating.
This is what we found out:
Last year at the opening of the forum, the Canadians showed this video, filled with dozens of the lower moments in American history. Our assassinations. Our dropping bombs on Japan. Our civil rights struggles. And, the film gently mocked President Donald Trump.
It wasn’t only in poor taste, it was openly hostile to the United States, Canada’s only neighbor. And a reliable ally.
In addition to the video in question, Canada has openly opposed opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 area for oil and gas exploration. Senior officials have gone on the record against the Alaska delegation’s efforts.
That, one Washington insider told us, is equivalent to the U.S. weighing in on whether Quebec should secede from Canada. Or, closer to home, whether Canada should develop its Pt. McKenzie oil and gas reserves. It’s just in poor form, especially since Alaska has one of the strongest relationships with Canada of any of the states.
The Halifax International Security Forum says its mission is to strengthen cooperation between democracies and says it is the “leading gathering of democratic leaders committed to global security and prosperity. Setting the security agenda each November for the coming calendar year, the Forum convenes relevant and key leaders in an unscripted, intimate atmosphere over three days in Halifax, Nova Scotia.”
Limited to 300 participants, the Forum bills itself as “widely acknowledged by the international community as an essential annual meeting place.”
But this year, they’ll find themselves with very few participants of influence from the U.S. And Sen. Sullivan won’t be among them. The forum is Nov. 17-19.