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.