Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Inconvenient Questions


Word has it that Stephen Harper wants to clamp down on individual liberties on the pretext that national security demands such a clamp down. Murray Dobbins writes that Harper should -- but won't -- answer some very inconvenient questions:

The bigger questions remain to be asked and so they won't likely be answered. Mr. Harper, who eagerly adheres to the (simplistic) idea that jihadists "hate our freedoms," might reasonably be asked to explain why he is so eager to destroy those freedoms in response to the jihadists' "war" against the West. Isn't that exactly what they want -- or does Harper want to rid us of freedoms so the jihadists won't hate us so much? Wouldn't a genuine response be to celebrate and enhance our freedoms even more (perhaps by ending the auditing of groups critical of the government)?

There is another question the government seems decidedly uninterested in: What is it about our Western societies -- supposedly the model for the entire world, morally, culturally and socially superior -- that alienates some young people so much that they can suddenly decide it's all right to kill innocents and it's worth dying for a cause so remote and alien to their lived experience that it is scarcely possible to believe they can understand it let alone truly embrace it? Could it possibly have anything to do with 35 years of neoliberal assault on community and consumer capitalism's failure to provide meaning to their lives beyond purchasing the next electronic gadget?

No one seems to wonder whether or not Harper's foreign policy has anything to do with what has happened:

The other question not being asked is what would a rational, enlightened (we are enlightened, right?), effective response to so-called "radical" Islam look like? The "this changes everything" gang certainly don't intend to change Canada's foreign policy or recommend a change to its allies. Yet it is key to any long-term solution.

But arriving at long term solutions means "committing sociology." And the Harperian vision has always been short term. It stretches no further than winning the next election. One can only hope that Canadians -- who may not be as cynical as their prime minister -- are at least smarter than he is.


The Mound of Sound said...

Harper has said he wants new powers, new tools to crack down on "radicals" and "extremists" - by now standard code words the Conservatives use in smearing First Nations and environmentalists.

How to deal with radical Islam? Ignore them. Just walk away. This is one of several threats that can only be resolved by the mainstream Muslim authorities. It's their own sheikhs and princes who've been funding these fundamentalists. They're like Dr. Frankenstein and ISIS is just their latest monster. It's not the first and it won't be the last.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Mound, Harper is not prepared to ignore radical Islam. He's foolish enough to believe that he can bend history to his will.

Anonymous said...

War is a way of life in the Arab countries. They always revert back to murdering each other. It's tribe against tribe. Muslim against Muslim and plenty of ethnic cleansing in between.

Boots on the ground is another Afghanistan. Who is friend, who is foe? ISIS just adapts themselves to the situation. They merge with the civilians and will regroup over and over again.

Get our people out of their countries. Get their people out of our country and Keep them out.

Getting rid of Harper, would do a lot for this country. Most Canadians do not want Communist China on our Canadian soil either.

Owen Gray said...

The situation in the Middle East is very complicated, Anon. It's not wise to rush into a war there.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

Hi Owen. One of the things that really surprised me when I read Joe Clarks book "How we Lead" was the infrastructer both institutional and individual that Canada set up so in their dealing particularly with any crisis in Africa, South America, The Middle East, pretty well world wide they could assist or negotiate in a quick a fashion as possible.Harper has been dismantling these infrastructures especially beauracratic ones and defunding and ignoring others such as NGO's. The military solution which should be of last resort is for Harper the first and only solution.

Owen Gray said...

Harper seems to believe that "hard" power is the way to solve international problems, Pam. That's a radical departure from Canada's traditional foreign policy.