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But What About the Next (Possible) American War, Mr Harper?

October 4, 2008

Oddly enough, the Canadian election debates weren’t on TV here in China, so I’ve had to rely on secondhand reports. I was particularly intrigued to read about a moment in the English-language debate when Stephen Harper apparently came within literally one letter of saying something really important about his views on foreign policy.

Gilles Duceppe, who is said to have shown admirable flair in both debates, was taking Harper to task about having supported the invasion of Iraq back in 2003. Harper, instead of leaping to his feet to defend the invasion in a thick Australian accent, was sensible enough to admit that he and Bush had been wrong. Here is an account of the exchange, courtesy of CTV news:

But Duceppe continued to badger him as Harper tried to steer the discussion back to Afghanistan: “This is not the question I asked. . . I want to hear it. Do you admit it was an error of George Bush and you made the same error?”

Harper finally answered: “It was absolutely an error. It’s obviously clear the evaluation of weapons of mass destruction proved not to be correct. That’s absolutely true and that’s why we’re not sending anybody to Iraq.”

Well, of course we’re not bloody well sending anybody to Iraq. Not now, when even the Americans are talking primarily about how and when to withdraw. But if Harper had said at some point during the campaign “we’re not sending anybody to Iran“, that would have been a statement well worth listening to and applauding.

There has been persistent muttering about a possible American attack on Iran since 2005, when the distinguished American reporter Seymour Hersh wrote that plans for possible airstrikes were floating around the corridors of the Pentagon. The odds that the rumours will become reality depend partly on the outcome of the U.S. election, partly on the behaviour of the Iranian government, and partly on other events and political pressures in both America and the Middle East.

However, the possibility is real, and Canada would quite likely be asked to join whatever “coalition of the willing” America tried to cobble together for such an action. Harper, who was so willing to follow America into a hare-brained Middle Eastern crusade in 2003, should be asked whether he would be willing to help McCain or Obama take on the latter-day Persian Empire in 2009 or 2010.


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3 Comments leave one →
  1. reneethewriter permalink
    October 7, 2008 3:03 am

    Cor, i very much like the idea of asking all of our national leaders about Canada and Iran; as you are probably aware, here in Vancouver, there is a large Iranian “diaspora” – a varied group of people many of whom are artists and writers that fled Iran and settled in this city.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has become such a polarizing figure that it’s hard to “see around him” and let’s face it, the guy gives some scary T.V.

    BTW, i enjoyed your description of Brother Hersh as “distinguished.” Yes. and a muck-raker. The best kind.

  2. corsullivan permalink*
    October 6, 2008 8:54 pm

    StMichaelTraveler – Good to see you here, and thanks for the comment. I agree with the essence of what you’re saying, of course. It’s hard to see how a military showdown between America and Iran would be in the interest of either nation, except perhaps in the long run following a decisive (but necessarily costly) victory.

    The problem, however, is that both sides have their share of influential hardliners, the list extending well beyond Bush and Ahmadinejad. Whatever the majority opinions may be, there still seem to be plenty of Americans who would prefer to shoot first and negotiate later when it comes to perceived enemies of America and Israel, and plenty of Iranians who would oppose any compromise with foreign infidels.

    This doesn’t mean that war is inevitable, or even especially likely. But Canadians should definitely keep the possibility in mind.

  3. stmichaeltraveler permalink
    October 4, 2008 6:56 pm

    Bush and Ahmadinejad are not USA and Iran!

    Majority of Americans reject President Gorge Bush national and foreign policies. Many Americans would not approve President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s outspoken approach to Iranian foreign policy. But these two men are not the nations; they have limited terms of office. Our present policy using the financial leverage and threat of physical attack has backfired over the last 20 years. This policy has promoted an opposite effect to the response we had anticipated; it has mobilized Iranian people in support of their government.

    Our national interests dictate that we start a frank dialogue with Iranian people and reestablish diplomatic relations. The negotiations are not between President George Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is between American and Iranian people. Both nations have competent diplomatic corps. Iranian people all along have expressed their friendship toward the American people; while strongly have rejected the bullying policy toward their country.

    US Foreign Policy Must be a Reflection of Our National Character: Justice, Peace, Respect for Human Life, and Fair Treatment of all Other Nations. War is much too uncivilized.

    Dialogue and frank diplomacy should create a positive response from Iranian people. Our national intersts dictates that we don’t start war with Iran.

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