Saturday, August 11, 2018

Canada's Wake-Up Call

Maybe we should be grateful to Saudi crown prince Thuggo bin Salman and his Wahhabist hissy fit in reaction to a Canadian call for an end to that regime's utter contempt for human rights.

Look on the bright side. Instead of Saudi Arabia it could have been a nation that mattered. So, why should we be grateful for bin Salman's rabid reaction against Canada? One reason - it showed us glaringly who our friends are.

As of now I think Canada should see both the United States and the United Kingdom differently. The Saudis human rights record is atrocious. Our government's criticism of the Saudis was just. Yet the US and the UK chose not to defend us but to sidestep the Saudi affront entirely.

As The Guardian put it:
Canada’s lonely stance was swiftly noticed north of the border. “We do not have a single friend in the whole entire world,” Rachel Curran, a policy director under former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, lamented on Twitter. 
The United Kingdom was similarly muted in its response, noted Bob Rae, a former leader of the federal Liberal party. “The Brits and the Trumpians run for cover and say ‘we’re friends with both the Saudis and the Canadians,’” Rae wrote on Twitter. “Thanks for the support for human rights, guys, and we’ll remember this one for sure.”
Now it would take a Harperite to claim that "we don't have a single friend in the whole entire world." It would be just as easy to argue that Canada isn't burdened by many friends in the ranks of our Conservatives when it comes to this incident.

Curran apparently hasn't heard that we're not the first country to stand up to the Saudi thugs. Sweden criticized the Saudis and got the fetid backlash. That led the Swedes to ban any further arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Germany, likewise ran afoul of the hot-tempered sons of Saud and ultimately prohibited any arms sales to any nation (i.e. Saudi Arabia) involved in the war in Yemen.

The Swedes and the Germans had a very principled response to Saudi arm-twisting. They followed through and cut off the supply of arms to the barbarous state.

Will Canada show the courage and conviction of Sweden and Germany? Don't count on it. Talk can be honourable but it is also cheap. Apparently we're going to continue to buy Saudi oil (rather than refining our abundant bitumen resource on site in Alberta) and we're going to continue to supply armoured death wagons to the Saudis even though, despite Saudi promises, they wind up used against unarmed civilians for democracy suppression.

How do we still supply lethal weaponry to Saudi Arabia? We know they use cluster bombs against the Houthi civilian population in Yemen. They seem to have a fondness for going after the women in the town squares on market day. And just this week they took out a bus full of school-age children. They've got a thing for their own Shiite population, even beheading one of their main clerics. In a nutshell, they're fucking animals.

But, as for the US and Britain, Bob Rae is right. They've betrayed us. We need to keep that in mind when Theresa May royally screws up Brexit and comes begging for new trade deals with the Commonwealth - a "let bygones be bygones" pitch. We should consider forging much closer ties with a post-Brexit Europe.  Countries such as Sweden and Germany now seem a more natural fit for Canada.


Jay Farquharson said...

The War Wagon's contract can't be cancelled with out losing a WTO/NAFTA arbitration.

The Government can close the loophole on "non-lethal military sales" to omit everything but food and medical Military/Police sales to HR Violators.

We've already pulled backdoor support for Saudi Operations in Yemen.

As for trade, outside of Military/Police, no need for sanctions other than countervailing sanctions.

There's some door opening we can undertake with Iran, like joining the vacant spot on the JPCOA, reopening the Embassy.

We can move baseing from Kuwait and Bahrain, to Quatar.

We can investigate/shut down Saudi "dark money" coming into Canada to buy lobbiests, Politicans and build Whabbist mosques.

As the world changes, every "relationship" we have with other nations, has to be continually monitored and modified, it should be an ongoing process.

BTW, Nations don't have "allies", they have interests.

As for Britain's Hard Brexit, the only "quick" Trade Deal they will get is WTO Rules, despite what ever lies Brexiteers are telling. The UK has to sort out a huge host of issues internally and with the EU before Canada can even contemplate a Trade Deal with the UK. Should be fun with the ardent Billionaires Boys Club Brexiteers fleeing a hard brexit already, to Monaco, Malta and Cyprus, while setting up Disaster Capitalism Corporations to exploit the British Implosion.

Who are we going to negotiate with?

Anonymous said...

Yep, the Brits have been suspect since they pawned off their crappy subs on us. Seems they're equipped with the sort of electrical systems that keep British car owners running to the bank. Then the Brits turned their backs on their European allies in Cameron's Brexit fiasco. It's time to start distancing ourselves from such fairweather friends.

As for the Americans, what can you say? We got their diplomats out of Tehran, put up their air travelers on 9/11, joined them in the caves of Tora Bora and refrained from criticism when one of their amphetamine-addled pilots lit up the Princess Pats near Kandahar killing four and wounding eight. You'd think they'd have our backs when we criticize the Saudi persecution of a US citizen. But you'd be wrong. Fuck'em!


Anonymous said...

Since details of the Saudi war wagons contract remain sealed we do not know the "issues" with trying to cancel it. I suspect that's why Trudeau had to ratify/approve it once elected.

I also suspect there's issues with that pipeline we're not being made aware of due to Harper's secretive contracts (ie. China "fair trade agreement". They now own a significant part of the tar sands developments).

Trailblazer said...

Business 'trumps' national interest and morality.


the salamander said...

.. currently, Canada shouldn't be touching Trump's USA with a 10 foot pole. Expectations should be ZERO. Trump is just lost in his mental bullying bull rushes and down the rabbit hole of 'trade wars are easy, we win either way'. We need to maintain a polite silence & tighten down our country. There is no 'diplomacy' with a mongrel like him, in his screwball dotage, USA is in tight with Israel and Saudi Arabia and Trump is stuffing money into his pants, that he will take with him. On to the Trump Rapture.

Canada has so much work to do internally.. to look after our barn. Our politics and Parliament is a disaster of partisan interests, idiocy, lobbying is rife & all the parties are 'captured' to varying extents.. Public Servants ? That's to laugh. We are notified who we will get to choose from, vote for.. and therby elect - to 'not represent' our dreams needs & wishes - but rather the dictate of the party whip

Anonymous said...

Re: "We need to keep that in mind when Theresa May royally screws up Brexit and comes begging for new trade deals with the Commonwealth - a "let bygones be bygones" pitch."

AZIF! Trudeau hasn't met the free trade deal he wouldn't sign. The only reason NAFTA is hitching is that it's changing an already existing deal. I suspect that when push really comes to shove, JT will fold like a Trump casino.