Canucks in the Crossfire
By Paul Richard Harris
Oct 16, 2006, 16:27
By almost any measure, Canada is a minor power. Never seen as a threat to anyone, most people around the world view it favorably. One of its early prime ministers, Wilfrid Laurier, famously remarked that “the twentieth century belongs to Canada” and although that ambitious optimism was simply political rhetoric, few would argue that Canada has not been successful. It has excelled at being bland, non-threatening, and supportive of most things that the world would see as good and desirable and it is frequently at or near the top of desirable places to live, as judged by the rest of the world.
Even if the twentieth century actually eluded Canada’s grasp, it’s easy to agree that it has accomplished much and is, in most ways, admirable.
But there are some very real cracks appearing in that veneer and Canada is losing its shine. How dull and unattractive it might become is still not predictable; but its current prime minister, Stephen Harper, is doing his best to accelerate Canada’s depreciation.
Canadian troops were committed to the Afghanistan misadventure by a previous Canadian government but the present administration is completely behind the effort. In fact, the current government has dropped all pretense that the mission of Canadian troops is ‘peacekeeping’. Now, it is ‘peacemaking’ – and that includes beating into submission those who are unwilling to behave the way invading forces dictate.
Canada is not operating alone in Afghanistan; it is there as the lead in a NATO invasion of the volatile southern region of Afghanistan. A few months following the NATO invasion (in late 2005), then prime minister Paul Martin spoke to Canadian troops in Kandahar and told them the goal of the occupation was to “create a democratic, prosperous, modern country that can be a model in this part of the world.” In fact, however, the occupying forces have brought widespread misery, death, destruction to the area where they claimed they planned to ‘paint schools and drill water wells’.
Read all of it here.