DFAIT logo partnership The logo for the by design elab, an independent research development and production think tank specializing in online forums for policy development, incubated in 1997 at the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto
DFAIT Home Site Map Help Policies Partners Feedback Netcast Français
 
Welcome
Message from the Minister
Dialogue Paper
Answer Questions
View Answers
Discussion Forum
 

The Three Pillars

Thank you for participating in the Dialogue on Foreign Policy. The interactive web site is now closed. The Minister's report will appear on this web site once it is released.

This Forum is bilingual, and participants post messages in their language of choice.

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-02-09 16:37:44


I do not wish to dwell on debating moral ideals although they have value. Policies are only useful if they result in effective day-to-day decisions. I think none of our high-minded policies would matter if Canada succeeds in annoying all of its allies by its inability to follow a sensible foreign policy on the single most defining international issue currently on its table.

The most critical foreign policy issue for Canada is whether it supports the US in its push to disarm Iraq to the degree of going to war without UN approval. So far we have yet to see any effective decisions on this matter.

We also have a prime minister "on his last legs" who contradicts the sensible views of his cabinet. If he were truly patriotic he should give a free hand to his ministers to develop a more representative and sensible approach to the country's foreign policies.

I repeat, the main issue is not war with Iraq. It is support for the US.

The world can be very cruel. The wonderful "stable global framework" stated in 1995 does not exist and has not existed for many years. As the effects of the end of the Cold War extended, the world has even before 1995, become more engrossed in the development of regional power blocks. The EU is a prime example of these changes. The UN is now mostly an international stage for the various blocks to test and reestablish positions with each other. More changes will come. So let's first agree that a stable framework no longer exists.

Canada is not a part of the EU and it won't be for the foreseeable future. It is part of a North American trading zone and we willingly depend on the US for our welfare. Much of what is Canada today is based on US influences. While one may debate the virtues of the EU vs. the US, these considerations are purely academic. We ARE North Americans and the US is arguably no worse or better than the EU with regard to moral issues especially when you compare their track records.

It should already be painfully obvious to clear-minded people that for many years the US has repeatedly exposed Iraq's intentions as well as been the primary mover of the UN to act positively. The immediate future of Canada remains within the North American context. If Canada continues to vacillate and contradict itself we will only succeed in looking disingenuous and foolish to the EU while at the same time, becoming morally weak and ungrateful to the US. We would be in the WORST of positions. In addition, not supporting the US actually increases the possibility that it will have to go to war to get Iraq to disarm. If the EU had been giving better support then war would now be arguably less likely.

The issue for Canada is no longer just Iraq's disarmament. It is whether Canada supports the EU challenge of the US's dominance on the world stage.

If we ignore this then Canada should no longer waste its time worrying about foreign policies as we'll preserve little real influence abroad and will have much more pressing problems closer to home. If we continue to be stupid about this "fact of life" then I can guarantee you that Canada will suffer drastic consequences regardless of whether the US goes to war or not.



Vox Canadiana

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: banquosghost

Date: 2003-02-09 18:07:23


So, Vox, if I read you right, we ought to simply say "yessir" and fall eagerly into line behind/beside the US. Is that what you're saying?

Is that just for right now, just this particular issue?

Lots and lots of clear minded people in the USA including many at the CIA and FBI and a former Commander of the US Forces in the Middle East, General Anthony Zinni by name, think it's a very bad idea to attack Iraq. If we join the USA and do this and the whole thing backfires into increased terrorism on North American soil (as the CIA believes it will) what will be your explanation then? That we were just being a good neighbour?

What would you do if your closest friend got assaulted by someone he knew but couldn't ever catch that guy at home and so decided to beat the crap out of that guys next door neighbour because he *was* home and just as ugly anyway? Would you go with your friend and help beat up the guy next door?

Osama binLaden and Saddam Hussein are *not* the same person. Though apparently according to a recent poll many Americans have come to believe they are.

Canada will never be a member of the EU. We're not in Europe.

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-02-10 15:58:52


To give you a straight answer to your 1st question - No, you read me incorrectly. But before I proceed further, I would first like to address a concept that seems to elude many politicians and something that might have prevented endless grief suffered by many peoples throughout history.

A recent name given to the concept is "doublethink".

I believe it was coined by the British author George Orwell. It describes a person's ability to hold two contradictory beliefs in his mind and accept them both at the same time. Similarly, another author, an American by the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald stated that "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function".

Personally, I find the latter description to be slightly more interesting.

From the emotional and reactionary tone of your message, you would seem to immediately tie the question of Canada's support of the US to perhaps a number of pre-existing gripes that you and perhaps Canada has with them. IMO, this is the same unfortunately mentality that Schroeder fell victim to when he connected his personal grievances to deny the US of support even if a UN resolution should ask for it. If you extend the analysis much further, you can detect certain similarities to the twisted mentality that drove people to feuds, ethnic hatred, the piling up of grievances, often one based on the other, that prevented people from discussing and cooperating on issues based on the merits of the arguments presented. It drove many people to mindlessly disagree with each other, ending up with blind hatred imposed on succeeding generations, and unending tragedy.

Some people refer to this as poison. They're right. It is poison because it can pervade and twist people's responses to so many things. It does not matter how worthy subsequent issues (or people) may be of eliciting cooperation or goodwill, deep-rooted bias and failure to "...hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function" would doom those people to failure and misery, not only for them, but also for other people they so often "claim" to be responsible for (like their families, clans, tribes or countries).

It's unfortunate that the concept of "doublethink" has an esoteric quality to it because it really is a commonplace idea. One may also label it as being "sensible", "level-headed" and "open-minded".

So, IMO, it is foolish to tie a decision of supporting the US to past issues (or "baggage"). It's more constructive to tie it to current issues. I'll discuss a few of these below.

Regarding other people's opinion on the dangers of attacking Iraq, one can always find a contradicting opinion. You may perhaps recall pundits' opinions prior to the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan...etc. So where were these opinions afterwards? I think it is not fruitful to speculate either way. War is very risky but so should defying the world, using chemical and biological weapons on people and developing weapons that goes way beyond any self-defence requirements. By "stepping up to the table" and being the enforcer for the UN on this issue, the US serves the critical role of preventing the proliferation of WMD. We all live with the concept of being policed. While you and I may mean to be good abiders of laws we know it's not that simple.

You may complain that the US, France, UK, Russia, Pakistan, Israel, China and India (and possibly South Africa) all have WMD but again, use "doublethink"... what the US (and the UN) are saying is that "proliferation" and willingness to use WMD are the issues. Ideally, we want every nation to disarm but that's no longer possible - the Genie has been out of the bottle for many years. It IS hypocritical of us but we currently do not want to force the other nations to disarm because the complexities and risks involved "currently" outweigh the benefits.

As for linking Bin Laden with Hussein, everyone has theories and answers but the real truth lies with them. Once again, your emotionalism would seem to betray you. Why should you be so upset at the American people? The issue is really with Hussein. Because he defies all efforts from the world community to have him comply with UN resolutions on the issues of disarming, he poses a great risk as a "proliferater" of WMD. North Korea is already a "proliferater" of arms but presents a nastier risk because it may already have WMD and any escalation may justify Japan to re-arm. I may be wrong but if Japan has WMD it may suddenly become a huge problem for China and so on...again "doublethink" - you may want to call it hypocrisy but in this case that's just getting annoyed and as I've indicated, too much emotion can be problematic.

IMO, the US stands the most risk of being attacked by the first WMD used by terrorists. Terrorists of Bin Laden's nature want rapid global change to world order. His vision is to re-map and undo whatever we have at the moment. To do this he must quickly break down the current structure. The US is the de facto backbone of the current structure. Rogue nations like Irag, N. Korea and perhaps Iran may be tempted to let these terrorists "borrow" or "buy" a couple of WMD that may knock over their nemesis (i.e. the US). In the past, someone may try to blow up a car or a building but the government as a whole would survive. However with WMD, you can lose the whole city and the nation and perhaps the world would probably experience widespread chaos. No US head of state can allow that. I suppose our PMs never had to worry about being a target for a WMD but when you lead a country like the US, your operating mentality would be drastically different from Canada's, Germany's or France's. It's easy to criticize when you know the other party is really the one who will suffer the first blow. If we ignore this we would no longer "get it". And if we don't "get it" we'll likely fail miserably in diplomacy. IMO, Prime Minister Blair demonstrates clearly that he "gets it".

As for your observation about Canada vis--vis the EU, I wish others had similar clarity of thought.

Finally, I want to add that I did not post my original message to debate. I have many other matters that require my attention. I did not want to contradict other people but simply wanted to offer food for "doublethink". I only saw your message because I checked to see if my original message got posted.

Good luck to you and while I share some of your sentiments they do not get in the way of my view of what Canada currently needs to do in foreign policy. The word you should heed is "currently". If you really wish to take this further you can read up on "game theory". It offers very good guidance on how people can live more successfully with one another.


I must go now...cheers,


Vox Canadiana

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: banquosghost

Date: 2003-02-28 12:46:50


http://www.orwelltoday.com/doublethink.shtml describes "doublethink" this way.


"Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing them and to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. Ultimately it is by means of doublethink that the Party has been able - and may, for all we know, continue to be able for thousands of years - to arrest the course of history."

Doesn't sound so desireable that way although it does sound like what we've got happening.


Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-03-02 19:55:45


You're right, it isn't desirable but it isn't truly "doublethink" either. It seems to me to be self-delusion by selfish but twisted people. The webpage that you cite appears to be merely one interpretation of how a person might use "doublethink". I'll try to provide some additional information on "doublethink" for consideration:

- "doublethink" is a mental tool that is useful when people don't have all the facts or complete understanding that would enable a clear answer

- in life, for a thoughtful person, it is a not uncommon to feel a lack of sufficient facts and understanding when confronted with difficult decisions

- the ability to "doublethink" allows one to function effectively when one does not have the luxury to procrastinate

- it also allows one to be faithful to more than one belief and act effectively for all of them if one should hold them all to be relevant and meaningful

So, to correct your misunderstanding (and to augment the web-author's "singlethink" polemic on "doublethink"), "doublethink" is merely a mental capacity that can be learned by anyone. IME, some people will find it more difficult to master "doublethink" than others. To best develop this ability, one has to start by shedding all of one's prejudices and mental blocks. In a sense, one has to start with a clean slate; something that is best done with either an enlightened mind or with the benefit of responsible mentoring.

Just like the ideas condemned on the webpage you cite, I also know of people who use "doublethink" to justify their twisted indulgences. In all of those cases, those people appear not to have truly shed their prejudices and mental blocks but rather, used "doublethink" as a convenient way to justify their prejudices to their conscience. Unfortunately, whether you or I choose to understand "doublethink" and use it for betterment, such people will still exist. I agree with you, it can be frightening because they may really think they are conscionable. Such people may effectively lack a social conscience.

People of position are invariably able to "doublethink" because so much is demanded of them but sometimes it also takes a more enlightened mind to tell when a person of responsibility is using "doublethink" for noble versus selfish reasons, consciously or unconsciously.

Remember that mental capacity can be used towards "good" or "bad" ends. There are some very intelligent but twisted individuals and systems the coexist in this world. I suspect they will always exist. Some are consciously so while others are unconsciously so. If one wishes to turn away from a more enlightened way of being open to different ideas and views, one does it at one's own peril and to one's own disadvantage. Ignorance may be bliss but it is also self-limiting. Think of "doublethink" as being hand-in-hand with what Adam received when he bit into the forbidden fruit. It's neither inherently "good" or "evil".



Vox Canadiana

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-03-02 22:43:33


"Doublethink" is often cited as the diabolical method behind misinformation. That is essentially the Orwellian view on "doublethink" (1984).

If you would also consider the F. Scott Fitzgerald (earlier) version you will notice that the arguments for and against "doublethink" itself constitute a "doublethink".

Doublethink is really just a more enlightened way of thinking through difficult situations. It can be abused as well as honoured. I would suspect many people of authority practise doublethink whether they are aware of it or not. It is one of the challenges of leadership.


Vox Canadiana

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: banquosghost

Date: 2003-03-05 17:38:02


Holding 2 conflicting ideas in mind simultaneously is one thing, crafting a foreign policy that implements both of those conflicting ideas is quite another.

Usually that's called being "two faced". It's rather looked down upon.

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-03-05 23:19:24


On the contrary, I believe you may have missed a point regarding "doublethink".

"Holding 2 conflicting ideas in mind simultaneously is one thing, crafting a foreign policy that implements both of those conflicting ideas..." is in fact a valid demonstration of doublethink.

So, take for instance, the case where current US policy would dictate that possession of WMD is a threat to world security but at the same time would allow the US to continue to possess WMD. I gather this is an effective example of what you would call "two faced".

If you agree then I would suggest to you that your contention is mistaken in this case.

The reason is, although the ideas are conflicting on their own, they are perfectly congruous when taken on a higher plane of understanding (enlightened). If we view world disarmament as an ultimate goal then WMD development and possession should be halted in order for the nations who currently have them to reach "equilibrium". Once this equilibrium can be verified to the satisfaction of all, stockpiles of WMD can then be reduced multilaterally. The problem with disarmament is to verify that no one is cheating. When "rogue nations" acquire WMD and do not play by these rules we end up with chaos where the existing abiding nations who have WMD feel they must increase or maintain WMD capability to stay ahead of the rogue states. That is what happened during the cold war. When the USSR capitulated, the US did in fact begin to disarm along with the USSR.

So, in an honourable case, the perception of doublthink does not mean the ideas involved are truly conflicting. A common problem is that many people do not understand the higher order of intentions or perhaps, to suit their selfish motive(s), these people choose to call the case, "two faced", so as to injure the party that is grappling with the complex issues.

Of course, there are also instances when people unscrupulously use doublethink to justify or mask their ulterior motives. Orwell did a good job of demonstrating that. Those examples support your point.



Vox Canadiana

P.S. Actually, on the subject of WMD proliferation, if you would study contemporary French history you will find plenty of evidence that post-WWII de Gaulle pressed the US to give it WMD technology and that it pursued WMD research and development even though they were repeatedly requested not to. I should add that the Germans of that period were particularly annoyed by the French action. You may also recall that in 1985, so as to conduct nuclear tests, the French navy went so far as to blow up the Greenpeace flagship, The Rainbow Warrior, while it was moored in Auckland, killing one person. I do not believe France ever made amends for that crime. To this day, France maintains a credible WMD arsenal, even though its rationale of deterring Soviet aggression is arguably obsolete. Would you then also call France "two-faced"?

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: banquosghost

Date: 2003-03-06 12:45:02


Yup.

I'd call almost all of the major participants in this current fiasco two-faced.

Wait, let me think...no, I'd call every single one of them two-faced. If not three-faced.

What we have here is rampaging self-interest from all sides. It's probably becoming more dangerous to world stability than anything since the Cuban missile crisis and it may be even more dangerous than that was. Fun, huh?

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: bayne

Date: 2003-02-24 01:11:29


This commentator presents a pragmatist view that could lead the country down the road to national prostitution. I think we all wish to die with dignity. Some of us choose dignity and death, even when that might mean going out in a blaze of fire. To be so assured we create cultures that give us the secure feeling that we are part of a socially cohesive society. Such a society will not give up its morality and humanistic system of values to adopt the ways of and hangout with the "school yard bully". This is not a question of being disloyal to the US and supporting the distant Europeans. This is a question of not givimg up on trying to create a better world. It is a messy and lonely busines, but we must continue to anchor our pragmatism to actions that advance the mission of creating balance and stability in the world. Balance may mean that the Europeans have to create an alternative power base, and Asia may have to become effective military powers and trading partners. For the voice of the USA sounds ominous. We cannot in all conscience support an American policy that bullies its friends into striking at any country that it declares to be a threat to its interests and security; that commands the world to support its wars under the banner of American style civilization and ethics, but refuses to submit itself to an international court of justice. We cannot support a policy that says only the USA, Britain, France and Russia are permitted to have weapons of mass distruction, but the African, the less preferred of the Mid-east, and Asiatic peoples are forbiden. It is clear that we must all disarm or become accomplices in the creation of a world situation of essentially a white neo-imperialism supported by American superior weapons of mass destruction. A logical conclusion of this is that the advance sciences would not be allowed in the curriculum of non-white countries. For, this would be a potential threat to American interests and security.

The commentator seems to think that we must inevitably bend to the ways of the USA if we wish to have any influence in the World. We must remember that all Empires so for have crumbled. We must set our policies for the longterm. Of course,we may have to accept some of the pain in the short term. So far, I think we are holding our own in difficult circumstances. We should continue to hedge our bets in the development of a healthy world economy and societies, not just on being part of an enclave economy of the USA. The recent performance of our economy seems to strongly suggest that we can break away to some significant degree from this soul destructive dependency. "I am Canadian" may be the primal shout that marks that beginning. I like our chances.

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: cfallon

Date: 2003-02-25 15:53:30


To suggest that Americans are interested in creating an empire a la Rome is a little bit silly.

Colin Powell and Condi Rice are not advancing the cause of white neo-imperialism like a stupid pair of Uncle Toms.

Europe is divided. It will not form some military balance to the US. If it did, I don't think we should cheer: NOTHING GOOD HAS EVER COME FROM FRANCE AND GERMANY BUILDING UP THEIR MILITARY.

Why should African nations be investing in weapons of mass destruction? How does this help illiteracy, disease and hunger? Will hungry Ethiopians be grateful to their leaders for preferring plutonium to protein?

The US is the best hope we have for realising peace in the world. Canada, Russia, France and these waffling countries will do nothing to contribute to bringing stability, liberty and justice to all.

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Fleabag

Date: 2003-02-25 19:28:51


On the contrary, African nations buying weapons helps the US economy greatly, ending disease does not. One must keep in mind that the US has only 1 interest in mind in ALL policies. 'How does this action help maximize profits in the US?' All other things must serve this ideal, therefore reducing illiteracy in the third world must have a tangible and immediate benefit to the US economy or it is a bad investment. Now, more than ever, investors want to see returns in the next quarter, not the next generation. That is what led to Enron, AOL, etc to fudge numbers to appease investors. Profits must happen now, not later and certainly not for other peoples or countries own benefit.

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: cfallon

Date: 2003-02-28 16:06:18


I don't believe that for a minute. The US is not as stupid as you think. Also, Enron-style fraud is happening everywhere - look at Ahold!

African nations buying weapons is SO MUCH LESS CRITICAL than Americans themselves buying socks, apples and light fixtures.

Also, the US is doing more to end disease in Africa than any other nation outside Africa. So, doesn't that seem strange, by your reading of US thinking?

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: fatmomma

Date: 2003-03-01 21:19:51


If the US is the best hope we have for realizing peace; the world is in big trouble. Mr Bush has but one thought on his mind and that is WAR. He didn't draw a breath after Afghanistan. That was supposed to be targeting terrorist but too many innocents were killed including our 4 Canadian soldiers but also Afghan civilians whose only sin was to be tall like Osama bin Laden.The American's claims of proof of Iraq"s weapons were all bogus, Saddam is an evil dictator but Mr Bush is much more dangerous. Canada, Russia, France, and Germany are NOT waffling. They have said NO not without UN approval. Why do you and Bush not understand. As an previous president"s wife said: Just say NO

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: cfallon

Date: 2003-03-04 16:22:32


Well, I guess its hard to take opponents of the war seriously when they say, "all you/Bush have on your mind is WAR."

Don't you think this is pushing it a little? Shouldn't you give people you disagree with the benefit of the doubt and argue based on their stated goals and objectives and not those you concoct in the quiet of your basement?

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: fatmomma

Date: 2003-03-05 23:22:56


Shouldn't Bush give the people of Iraq the benefit of doubt. There is no evidence of Iraq having "weapons of Mass Destruction" What there is is being legally handled by the UN weapons inspectors whom Mr Bush does not want to be allowed to succeed. The weapon inspectors are having Iraq to destroy the missles that exceed their allowed force. Mr Bush still protests that it isn't fast enough for him; he wants to attack with or without UN approval. The Iraq government has no proven ties to the terrorists that attacked the world trade center. You say nothing .
The only goals I hear from Bush is to invade Iraq and the government He is going to set up. He is president of the USA not the world. That is what the UN was designed for. You listen to too much CNN propaganda

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-03-06 18:47:50


Fatmomma, you stated "Shouldn't Bush give the people of Iraq the benefit of doubt.(?)"

By "people of Iraq", would you include the thousands of Iraqis that Saddam Hussein murdered or the still-living Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south? Do you honestly believe public opinion is freely expressed in Iraq?

The UN was unable to get Iraq to even consider UN inspections until the US and the UK took decisive steps. This fact proves the UN is effectively irrelevant without the US and the UK. The UN is now nothing more than a windbag, a safety valve for issues that stop short of someone walking away from the train wreck that the UN has become. Bush decided to try the UN route probably because of Powell and Blair. Bush is no diplomat and after 9/11 he probably made up his mind what he has to do regardless of what other nations or the UN may think. It is because he has sufficient proof that the US is already at war to the death with Al Qaeda and he has enough proof of Iraq's role.

Bush is blunt and no longer trying to be diplomatic but he has also completely exhausted his diplomatic options to get constructive action from the UN and other nations. His bluntness is at least honest and not pretentious in light of the gravity of what he means to do. The brinkmanship with Iraq is now past the point of diplomacy. Unless Iraq complies without even whimpering Bush means to attack and remove the threat. For the Bush Administration, the risk of escalation appears to figure as lower than the risk of leaving Iraq alone. They have a much broader picture of the situation than most other countries have.

As for Iraq's links to Al Qaeda there are credible allegations that a special Iraqi chemical warfare organization called UNIT 999 trained Al Qaeda people on chemical warfare at the request of bin Laden after a non-aggression pact was arranged with Saddam Hussein in 1993. Some senior Al Qaeda are from Iraq. In particular, Mamdouh Salim (AKA Abu Hajer al-Iraqi) served as liaison with Iraqi intelligence. He is alleged to have been Al Qaeda's chief of chemical weapons development. Salim is now in custody awaiting trial in New York.

Another Iraqi by the name of Abu Ayoub al Iraqi was a key organizer of Al Qaeda way back in 1989. There are others. Bin Laden's second in command al-Zawahiri is also alleged to have made a secret visit to Baghdad in 1992. Iraq is a police state and no one gets in or out without Saddam Hussein's knowledge. That is probably one reason why he has evaded all attempts to overthrow him.

Some of this information comes from the voluminous testimony of Jamal Ahmed Mohammed al-Fadl. He defected from Al Qeada to the US in the 90s and was kept secret for years and only known as CS-1 (confidential source one) until he testified in 2001. His statements are now public record. You should read them to be more informed. It has additional worrisome information on The Sudan. The picture I have is one where the US knows a lot more than they can publicly discuss because if they did then all the prospective targets of future US anti-terrorist activities would be alerted. There are probably other reasons why the US is dragging its feet. It has been very reluctant to act because it basically had this information for several years.

Try this URL:

http://cns.miis.edu/iiop/cnsdata?Action=1&Concept=0&Mime=1&collection=CNS+Web+Site&Key=pubs%2Freports%2Fbinladen%2Ehtm&QueryText=CS%2D1&QueryMode=FreeText

If you want to discuss your ideas you need to first do some research.


Vox Canadiana

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: welsh

Date: 2003-03-10 01:00:11


Canada cannot even act as peacekeepers as in the past; our helicopters collapse as they take off on rescue missions and we limp home with our tail between our legs! Supporting America before the vote in the security council is the only way to save face.

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-02-25 20:33:55


As the old saying goes, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". I like your basic intentions but I believe you confuse your prejudices with the critical nature of current issues and the wisdom of being "open" to people.

I agree it is arguably attractive to develop a multipolar international arena (as Chirac and Gaullism favour) but I disagree with the manner in which some people try to achieve this. Like Chirac, some people seem to take any opportunity to grandstand this ideal, regardless of the more important issues at hand. This makes for hideously distorted decisions in the name of distant ideals or some prejudice we hold (e.g. Canadian Anti-Americanism) or some delusion of grandeur we hide behind (e.g. Gaullist France).

Canada does not have to (and should not) support the US on all issues just because it supports the US in coercing Iraq to disarm at the risk of conflict. If we cannot discuss issues with other countries based primarily on the merits of the issues then we should not be surprised if countries treat all of our intentions with great suspicion. It is one thing to express logical differences in national interest but basing foreign policy on broadly rigid principles of dislike for another country is essentially religion, and religion is deadly when mixed with politics and international relations.

There is also very little evidence the US is imperialistic. Its tendency has traditionally been isolationist. While it may only see democratic institutions as replacements for disagreeable regimes no one can say for sure if there are better alternatives or have better expertise (or will) to help struggling countries organize themselves under other viable frameworks. The arguably undesirable fate of Canada one day becoming part of a greater USA has nothing to do with Iraq and should not be tied to decisions regarding it.

Finally, I should mention that a multipolar world order has existed many, many times in history, usually ending in major wars between those countries. I don't have to go into details on Japan, France, Britain, Spain, USSR/Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany...etc. The US has only participated in major wars reluctantly. So I think history is not really a useful way to pre-judge US intentions by. IMO, it is far more effective to base our foreign policies on understanding how Canada's actions may be viewed by the US and other countries as well as why the current issues mean so much to the US and the EU. When I look at things that way, I can justify the US positions but I cannot justify France and Germany's. It seemed ironic to me that the French PM Raffarin would mock Bush for "plyaing games" because he used the phrase "the games is over (for Saddam)". It seemed to me that Chirac is really the one who is playing games at the moment.



Vox Canadiana

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: fatmomma

Date: 2003-03-07 02:51:41


I do not like the way Bush thinks the laws do not apply to him or the USA. It seems that since the USSR has crumbled and there is no balancing power; the USA has taken it upon themselves to control world situations to suit themselves. These world conflicts could have been more amicably handled by the United Nations. Granted they did have a right to strike back at he terrorists that attacked the World Trade buildings; but their actions went much further, There were far too many innocent targets, including our own soldiers. They are not doing the restoration work in Afghanistan either that they promised. In fact, Iran is contributing the most money to that effort. So much for that promise. Their military seems to lack control or an adequate communications system. Too many American soldiers were killed by so called "friendly fire" in the Gulf War. 40% I read. Bush or Powell said our young people will be up to the job. I sure wouldn't want them sending my son to murder innocent people, which is what most of their targets end up being. Iraq is not a viable threat and has no connection shown to the terrorists that attacked the WTC. I am not anti American. I believe the American people are wonderful people with similsr ideals to our own. I just do not trust the motives of this present administration. If the USA without UN approval attacks Iraq; it is known that this is very likely to set off more terrorist attacks in the USA and probably Canada too.
I do not like they way the American govt in looking for support by bribes of arms or money or threats of an
economic nature

Reply to this message

Beyond policies and ideals

Contributor: codc01

Date: 2003-03-07 14:38:08


Personally i think that if the USA attacks without UN approval, and without valid reason, in a few years there will be the third world war. Yes, I'm a bit pessimistic, i know...

Reply to this message