To believe that military solutions are the way to settle things in the Middle East is to ignore history in that region since the dawn of time. Merely glancing back over the period from 1947 to the present should be sufficient example to provide even the most hawkish with a modicum of doubt when it comes to relying on firepower as the sole solution to anything in this region. That said: solutions that have lasted in the Middle East have uniformly come after military action. The peace between Israel and Egypt, and arguably the wider region, Fatah’s coming to the table with Israel, even the “good Iraq war” which ousted Saddam Hussein from Kuwait are amongst the fairly obvious examples of force applied followed by peace – or at least a significant reduction in fighting. True, violence continues. One only has to look at the West Bank to see how the use of Force as a sole tool in the arsenal of peace is a wasted squib. Israel’s disproportionate responses to Hamas’ futile rocket launches have not dulled the spirit of opposition. Even the threat of violence is a deterrent to broader conflict.
As well most conflicts do not, in fact, end with the total surrender of one side or the other. Even today, the government of Afghanistan is attempting, albeit with limited success, to talk to the Taliban. Is there room to talk to ISIL? Today, no, certainly not; they are implacable and unwilling. There is no common ground upon which to reach them. Moreover, one might doubt whether they are worthy of talking to even if they had it in mind to listen. They are not, as with the Taliban, a clearly defined cultural group within a larger community. They are, for want of a better expression – pirates, a loosely affiliated group of brigands seeking to dominate a region for their own benefit. It may well be the only solution to the problem they pose is to eradicate them or at least their philosophy of hate and cruelty. Sending their disillusioned followers back to their villages and jobs might be the best outcome for this conflict. Certainly doing nothing is not in the cards. Certainly bullets are not the only component that will bring this to resolution.
Justin Trudeau, the newly minted “selfie” Prime Minister of Canada has declared he will keep his promise to remove Canada’s light participation in military action in the form of six CF-18 Fighters and bolster Canada’s training efforts for locals – so they, ostensibly – can fight ISIL themselves. Well, better them than us right. Trudeau has further committed to “keep Canadians safe” one may assume by bringing our “whipped out” CF-18s back from overseas to defend our borders from an ISIL air attack. At the same time, he maintains his election commitment to bring 25,000 refugees from Syria to Canada by the end of this year – or about 45 days from now. While the logistical ridiculousness of this plan is likely an insurmountable impediment, the fact is most Canadians oppose this move. Oh, but he was elected on this promise therefore he can do it, regardless of how the circumstances around security have changed, how one of our allies has been attacked by ISIL – some of whom posed as refugees to gain access to Paris, and how it is impossible to screen these refugees properly by the deadline he has set. The myopic single-mindedness of this Liberal Government is impressive. But, our brand new Defense Minister assures us we are in no danger.
Trudeau has already sought to undo protections through his review to water down Bill C-51 – which frankly merely aggregated existing laws to address the security of the country. He has decided to permit the Niqab to be worn during official proceedings. And, those convicted of terror acts may keep their citizenship – despite their apparent disregard for Canadian society and law. In short, let’s hug it out. Trudeau’s view is one of friendliness and affability, a tepid Canadian culture that anyone can take or leave as they see fit and still draw the benefits of Citizenship. In Trudeau’s view: we will get along if we are kind, open, and willing to accept others. Well, we already were that Mr. Trudeau. You aren’t teaching us anything new – but you are threatening to sabotage the very nature of Canadian friendliness and affability by carelessly admitting refugees solely because they fill a quota you arbitrarily came up with in your head…or, the heads of the back room that advises you.
The use of the Canadian Armed Forces as “Peace Keepers” is a big Liberal Policy. Why – it is cheap. You don’t have to give Peace Keepers bullets or equipment. Mostly they stand around being “seen” and in the unlikely event something bad happens, their rules of engagement are such that they are mostly told to get out of the way and let the belligerents get to it. The UN is notoriously weak kneed when it comes to conflict – see Rwanda. A lot has changed in that once august body since Korea. The Liberals, never supporters of the military, have been keen to down play their role and underfund them, but worse, leave them unprepared for any role but that of global hall monitor. Even that role is halfhearted. Canada, contrary to popular “liberal” belief was never the first nation of Peace Keeping. Our contributions were usually midlands and cursory. So, this policy of backing out of a shooting war is playing right into the PM’s wheelhouse, inasmuch as he has one.
At this moment in time, he’s firmly committed to coming up with a plan. Barring a slap on the wrist from Obama, he’ll likely pull the jets and increase the commitment by sending over more “trainers,” who are likely more exposed than the pilots, and whose success really depends on whether these trainees actually apply the knowledge they’ve learnt. If they don’t then Canada’s contribution is nothing- inconsequential and a waste of tax payer dollars. We have nothing to show for the effort or the risk. We will have contributed nothing to the elimination of ISIL as a threat to Middle Eastern and Western security.
All the noise made about our “French” heritage our founding ancestral parent is bunk. Trudeau had better hope that France doesn’t invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty – which if he does, will make Canada’s participation in any way but through the use of weaponry a weak and cowardly response to the call for aid from a friend. All the babble about being ashamed to be a Canadian when Harper was PM is a circumstance away from being crocodile tears and hyperbole if this PM doesn’t stand up and support our allies – or worse, if his hasty plan to fill campaign promises invites terrorists into Canada through this Refugee program. Yes, I know, most refugees aren’t terrorists and while recorded incidents due to refugees are few – they are enough. It took 9 to wreak havoc in Paris.
Social media is aflame with opposing views from sociopathic calls for Muslim heads to the absolute idiocy of comparing media coverage of “Western” terror attacks and violence to those in developing nations – as though we should somehow feel grateful that such things are less likely in the West and should shut up about it. Trudeau’s withdrawal from the Middle East and his willingness to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors in the Liberal Party may introduce a new wrinkle to Canadian culture: terrorism. We have only ever experienced home-grown lunacy before. Trudeau’s policy runs the risk of exposing us to the long and cruel arm of ISIL. What kind of country will we have after that? Do we really think that we are just protecting our people from physical harm with these planes? No. While important, we are protecting our ideology and Canadian psyche. This purportedly friendly Canadian character which is supposed to be the “envy” of the world is predicated on our not feeling angry, not feeling threatened – we can be charitably and unnecessarily apologetic because we aren’t at risk. What happens if Mr. Trudeau’s careless policies kill the one thing what does in fact make us a worthwhile people?