Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Middle East: Canada's bias

First, let me open by acknowledging that the best of this post benefits from many reasoned opinions that I've heard and read over the past week, including those of many folks at CKCU, and The Train. The cock-ups are all mine, however.

Second, while I haven't explored this to date, the United Nations' role in international affairs seems to have diminished over the years; this, in turn, must affect Canada's role in the arena. I accept this premise, and wish my country would succeed in spite of it.
I think Israel's response under the circumstances has been measured.

With this oft-quoted statement, and others, Stephen Harper expressed our country's bias, even as most of us were still struggling with the bad news.

Days later, seven Canadians were killed in an Israeli attack, and current estimates put the Lebanese, mostly civilian, casualties an order of magnitude above those of Israel. My point is not that Harper could have predicted this, but rather, that by throwing our support behind one side in this conflict, he has spoiled any role we could have played in negotiating some dialogue between the two sides, and cheapened our country's proud history in international affairs.

Subsequent statements by our government "urg[ing] all sides to act with restraint and take all measures possible to protect innocent civilian lives" strike me as obligatory.

On protecting Israelis...

While acknowledging that both the Israelis and Hezbollah are on questionable moral ground right now, the idea that Israel is simply protecting its citizens is ridiculous. Setting aside Israel's significant military advantage - which the U.S. is "rushing" to supply, by the way - Hezbollah's capturing Israeli soldiers needs to be considered in the context of the other prisoner exchanges between the two countries.
It's essential that Hezbollah and Hamas release their Israeli prisoners...

But, again, with this sort of rhetoric, Harper shows our, seemingly uneducated (frankly), bias. I'm not saying I agree with negotiated prisoner exchanges, but if Israel legitimized it in the past, one must acknowledge that it's possible that Hezbollah was simply attempting to start another round of negotiations; again, a possibility that Harper doesn't seem consider, let alone refute.

I'm ashamed of my Prime Minister's position is this conflict, and I sincerely hope that it isn't indicative of future Conservative foreign policy.