A Matter of perspective


As the current American occupation of Iraq continues, it would appear that the prevailing status quo among the nations of the Middle East, tenuous as it has been, has begun to unravel further. Radical terrorists have begun escalating their activities within the borders of America’s ersatz ally, Pakistan. No doubt the fervor of Pakistani terrorists and separatists have been encouraged by the United States’ failure to consolidate its control over the most strategically important of countries in the region – Israel.

American foreign policy, enacted with the intent of establishing American hegemony throughout the region through peaceful means when possible, has been thwarted and subverted at every step of its implementation by rogue states as diverse in their political systems and motivations as Israel, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Simultaneously, the escalation of America’s military presence in the region since 2001, and its potential for suppressing independent civilians in their attempts to organize activist groups, has failed to deter the growth of spontaneous indigenous resistance to the foreign influences currently dominating their domestic politics. Some critics suggest that there is an exponential correlation in growth between recent acts of terrorism in the region, the growth of radical political organizations, and American suppression of local ethnic hegemony.

There is a growing fear among western intellectuals that the elaborate and painstakingly expensive process of “Americanization” of the Middle East, which has required decades of commitment on the part of American interests, may have been irrevocably undermined by recent independent and short-sighted actions undertaken by a handful of local politicians attempting to curry favor in the eyes of their constituents.


As a consequence, the possibility of peace through American hegemony over the region has been dangerously compromised.


3 Responses to “A Matter of perspective”

  1. Dorothy Kew Says:

    We live in parlous times. As long as we remain in Iraq and Afghanistan we excite anti-Western ideology which breeds terrorist activities. But, what do we do? Our Canadian troops honestly believe that they are making a difference in Afghanistan. One feels a sense of disloyalty if we suggest that they be brought home.

    Is this not a clash of cultures? Will it lead to a type of xenophobia, to our retreating to Fortress Canada, or even Fortress USA?

    I would be interested to see how you compare Bush’s preseent foreign policy with the approach that Nixon made to China. Perhaps at this point in time we can see that both have opened a Pandora’s box which will not be closed very soon!

  2. Guy Says:

    It has become the perennial question; what do we do? What can we do?

    Where were Canadian peacekeepers in 1994, when perhaps 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda? Why were peace keeping efforts left to Nigeria and other African States during Liberia’s civil war of the late 1990s? Surely they could have benefitted from our expertise? Why in the late 1990s were perhaps 50,000 Peace Keepers available for deployment in Kosovo, but only unarmed U.N. observers in Sierra Leone?

    Where do our moral obligations lay?

    Our collective media memory seems very short and certainly selective.

    In a military sense, why should Canada be doing anything in Afghanistan? Shouldn’t we also ask ourselves why, in these troubled years since 9/11, we have not provided a more appropriate “peacekeeping” force to the desperate people of Sudan, in the province of Darfur? Since 2006 the situation has once again deteriorated, with no cooperation forthcoming from the Sudanese government. Sudan’s military has intentionally fomented discord among ethnic tribes of the region, encouraging genocide and mass slaughter, yet the world community still talks and takes only token action. Why was Sudan not invaded as was Afghanistan?

    Why is our media apparently unconcerned with the fact that America invaded Iraq under false pretenses?

    Why have the Americans not invaded Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, two countires proven to be notorious incubators for anti-American sentiments and major funding for terror cells globally? Why have we not chased the Taliban and el Qaida into the northwest provinces of Pakistan, as Nixon attacked the Viet Cong terrorists in Laos and Cambodia? First and foremost, Pakistan is a nuclear power. Saudi Arabia is the United States primary source of foreign oil. Pakistan could fight back if attacked; the world economy would be radically destabilized if Saudi Arabia were invaded.

    Perhaps the elimination of terrorists is not the Americans greatest priority in the Middle East after all. Perhaps maintaining their own military presence in the region and thereby securing their long term oil supplies is more important. Perhaps this consideration figured into their invasion of Iraq. Was the reason for the attack.

    Canadian forces are not in Afghanistan for the sake of the Afghani people, but to placate the United States. The world community knows this and we cannot help but excite anti-Canadian ideology among the disposessed as a result. We may have short memories, but the suffering multitude who live with the consequences of western interventions every day – they are not being allowed to forget. Every day we occupy their soil, they are reminded that interlopers are running their lives.

    What good are altruistic ideals if they cannot be translated into tangible results? More to the point, why intervene militarily at all if you are only going to make a bad situation worse?

  3. Gail Says:

    Very well-written–a most thought-provoking piece.

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