At this point, he’ll either cut his losses by dropping the issue even without a formal apology to India or turn it into an obsession at the further expense of his own and his country’s reputation.
The Indian-Canadian dispute, which formally concerns the alleged assassination of a terrorist-designed Sikh expatriate but unofficially involves a clash of two worldviews, has thus far remained bilateral in spite of Trudeau’s incessant attempts to internationalize it. He brought up this issue in his recent calls with the British, Emirati, and Jordanian leaders, but he failed to sway them to his side each time. As a result, he’s coming off as desperate, and it can even be argued that he disrespected his last two interlocutors too.
Regarding the first observation, Trudeau is obviously disappointed that the West hasn’t rallied around Canada, but he shouldn’t have had such an expectation to begin with. Not only did his government fail to publicly disclose any evidence of India’s complicity in the killing of the abovementioned expatriate, but it couched the accusation of its involvement in roundabout language that belied officials’ own uncertainty. He therefore made a fool out of himself, and that’s why he so desperately wants others to support him.
As for the second observation, his calls with the Emirati and Jordanian leaders took place amidst the latest Israeli-Hamas war in which scores of people are being killed each day. It’s clearly his counterparts’ top priority right now, yet he wasted their time by bringing up an irrelevant issue that doesn’t involve them, which was very disrespectful. They’re unlikely to forget that Trudeau placed his desperate desire to rally support around Canada over fully focusing his efforts on stopping the ongoing violence.
The consequent impression is that this entire episode is turning into an unprecedented debacle for the Canadian leader. He miscalculated the international community’s reaction and especially that of his country’s Western allies, none of whom want to risk their mutually beneficial relations with India all for the sake of signaling support for Canada’s unproven accusations. Instead of responsibly admitting his mistake and asking India for forgiveness, he’s recklessly doubling down.
Trudeau lacks the self-consciousness to see how much he’s embarrassing himself and his country. His ego has gone into overdrive and he’s hellbent on squeezing the most inoffensive talking point from his interlocutors that can then be spun by his perception managers as supposedly signaling secret solidarity. For instance, Sunak’s response to Trudeau’s briefing on this situation reaffirming the rule of law and international norms was by the book, yet the latter apparently regarded it as a diplomatic success.
Had his advisors cared about him enough to clarify that this wasn’t anything out of the ordinary instead of letting media surrogates spin it as some sort of achievement, then he might have had second thoughts about the wisdom of bringing it up in his calls with the Emirati and Jordanian leaders. That regrettably didn’t happen, however, which is why he was misled into thinking that it was a good idea to bring up India in the same conversation that was supposed to center on the latest Israeli-Hamas war.
At this point, he’ll either cut his losses by dropping the issue even without a formal apology to India or turn it into an obsession at the further expense of his own and his country’s reputation. Trudeau dug himself a hole from which he’s struggling to extricate himself due to his immense ego, which is leading to disastrous consequences for Canadian interests. Hopefully his Western allies can talk some sense into him before it’s too late and the damage that he’s dealt becomes irreparable.