Writing in yesterday's Globe and Mail, Bob Rae repeated some advice he once received from a good friend: It’s hard to be smart and angry at the same time. Justin Trudeau needs to take that advice to heart as he wrestles with the problem of ISIS. Rae writes:
More than a decade ago, September 11 generated an angry response from the United States. The assumption was that eliminating the Taliban, which had without question aided and abetted al-Qaeda, would be a quick, surgical operation, to be followed by the democratic reconstruction of Afghanistan.A short two years later, George W. Bush decided that regime change needed to happen in Iraq as well. Several hundred thousand casualties and trillions of dollars later, Mr. Bush’s ally Tony Blair admitted that the ham-fisted way the invasion of Iraq had taken place contributed directly to the creation of Islamic State and the brutal chaos in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Afghanistan remains deeply unstable.
The invasion of Iraq -- which was supposed to be a demonstration of Shock and Awe -- created ISIS. We would be foolish to repeat Bush's mistake. Rae writes:
We are indeed in a war, because of the violent and extremist ideologies and techniques of jihadi extremism and their incompatibility with any kind of world order. A statelet that enslaves, oppresses, kills and tortures is an affront not just to “the West,” but to every conceivable standard of decency and the rule of international law.But it is not a war like others in our past, and it will require imagination, solidarity, courage and extraordinary resilience for us to succeed. We need to learn from our mistakes. The urge to strike back is human and entirely understandable. But it has to be matched by a full range of non-military responses that thus far we have not been capable of in any systematic way.This is the opportunity for Canada – we have been engaged in this struggle for the past 15 years, and have learned much. Our soldiers are wise, as are our aid officers and diplomats. We have to share these experiences with others as we wrestle with the choices ahead.
This is a time for wisdom to prevail over anger.