Why Canada Slept Pt 3

Thanks to Gerhard for getting these to me, and thanks to Dave for letting me post this series of essays entitled "Why Canada Slept" which originally were published in the back of Cerebus. I have kept the original formating and haven't edit it at all. If you rather read a MS Word document of it, here it is.

If you have't read the previous installment, here it is, or better yet, start at part 1.



Why Canada Slept


Part III


“When Americans believe that their vital interests are at stake and their security threatened, Canadians should have sense enough to recognize that Washington is a superpower with global concerns that are different from those of our small, weak nation.”

                                  J.L. Granatstein


“Preston Manning has spoken about the need to permit cross-party coalition building in Parliament—yet he is very quick to caution that Canadians don’t want ‘American-style’ politics.  But Canada is barely a functioning democracy at all: Its governmental structure, if described objectively, is far more similar to what we would expect in a corrupt African state with decades of one-party rule…Despite Canada’s self-delusions, it is, quite simply, not a serious country anymore.  It is a northern Puerto Rico with an EU sensibility.  Canada has no desire to be anything but the United Nations’ ambassador to North America, talking about the need to keep the peace around the world but doing nothing about it save for hosting countless academic conferences about how terrible America is.”

                                  Jonah Goldberg  The National Review 25 November 02


     There is a long history of cooperation between the Canadian and American military dating back to the First World War when American air crews based in Canada fought German submarines off Canada’s coast.  During the Second World War, the two countries signed an agreement that would allow troops from either country to operate in both Canada and the United States in the event of an emergency.  It was also during the Second World War that U.S. troops built the Alaskan Highway which runs through Canada.  Canadian and American troops trained for battle together as part of a combined unit known as the “Devil’s Brigade”.  Canadian solders, wearing U.S. uniforms fought alongside American troops during the invasion of the Aleutian Islands in 1943, and many Canadian paratroops were trained on U.S. soil.  It does not require extensive research to ascertain that there is a commonality of purpose which exists between the militaries of both countries and which is reflected in the civilian leadership in the United States—but not in the civilian leadership in Canada.

       One of the leading causes of this otherwise wholly inexplicable schism is the undue influence which the province/quasi-nation of Quebec exerts upon the occupant of the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) out of deference to Quebec’s (equally undue, in my view) perceived electoral “value” within this country (which I began to address in the last installment of this series).  The net effect of this perceived leading cause is that Canada has been governed for the better part of thirty-five years by Quebecois politicians (Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien) all of whom have made the feeding of Quebec’s nigh insatiable appetites and gluttonous demands for political, social and economic appeasement a centerpiece of their respective tenures.  In this, my country metaphorically resembles nothing so much as a Bad Marriage in which the shrewish, inept and materialistic Wife (Quebec) is fundamentally dissatisfied with every aspect of her union (including the very idea of the union itself) save one: that the union is able to provide her inept self with an infinitely higher standard of living than she could ever imagine—even in the wildest extremities of her feverish imagination— achieving on her own.  So severe is the psychosis into which the Wife has descended as a result of being caught between the rock of her own materialism and the hard place of her loathing for the union in which she finds herself that she has effectively dissociated into two separate personalities.  The first personality, the Wife, is one big bundle of materialistic entitlements.  As Canada’s official Wife she feels herself entitled to a disproportionate share of the fruits of her much-despised union.  In fact she feels herself entitled to anything which is not nailed down Usque Mare Ad Mare (“From Sea to Sea,” Canada’s Latin motto).  In her Wifely view any government contract, any barrel of Federal pork which does not land in Quebec has been taken out of Quebec’s Wifely share of things.  Were the other inhabitants of the other nine provinces and three territories to strip-mine their domestic resources and reduce their populace to sackcloth and ashes and a bowl of thin gruel a day and FedEx everything else to Quebec City, the materialistic Wifely personality which is Quebec would be convinced that someone, somewhere was “holding out on her,” and would not rest until she found out who and what and separated the latter from the former by tooth and claw.  In her other personality she is the Ex-Wife, the Never-Was-A-Wife and/or the Soon-To-Be-Ex-Wife (he, she and it, if you will).  In this personality she maintains all the trappings of a Divorcee, Virgin and/or Estranged Wife.  She has her own legislature, her own flag, her own anthem and she insists that she be treated as a separate entity from Husband Canada in all particulars wherever and whenever they appear together as minor players on the international stage.  The Husband Canada, being a great believer in “doing the right thing”—believing in unity as an inherent good and worth whatever sacrifice is required in order to maintain it—accepts the Wife’s hallucinations at face value and actively keeps the marriage intact through ever larger incremental acts and gestures of capitulation to her whims and through ever more docile submission to her (let us call a spade a spade) blackmail.

     [If my non-Canadian readers, at this point, are (as one) thinking to themselves, “Dump the bitch.”  I can assure you that—unlike my left-liberal-quasi-socialist-hollowed-out-ventriloquist-puppet-husband fellow citizens—I am in complete agreement. Considering that “the bitch” refuses even to sign the marriage contract (the Canadian constitution repatriated from Westminster twenty years ago), I can’t imagine that it would be that difficult before whatever World Court the proceedings might be conducted. 

     Judge:  Let me get this straight.  You refused to sign the marriage contract, and you’re here to claim alimony?]      

    This is, of course, nothing new in the world of marriages, but it is as unsound a policy on the national level as it is on a personal level.  Husbands or countries who keep their unions intact through just such acts of degradation and who willingly submit themselves to these sorts of self-abasements achieve only two ends.  One, they make themselves ridiculous in everyone’s eyes but their own and two, they end up retreating, mentally, into a schizophrenic state founded entirely on fantasy as the only defence mechanism available to them (however inadequate) against the unacceptable reality in which they find themselves.  Picture George and Martha in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and you have an apt analogy of the state of relations between Canada and Quebec over the course of the last century and the beginning of this one. 

    How did this state of degradation and self-abasement come about?  As with actual marriages, such dissolution on a national scale was not the work of a day.

    My American readers who followed the recent events at the UN—as the United States sought support for its resolution mandating Iraqi cooperation with the terms imposed upon that country in 1991 by the UN itself—would have gotten a taste of that “Bad Marriage” quality in the actions of France as one of the permanent, veto-wielding members of the Security Council.  At one level, there was communication…of a kind…going on.  The American ambassador and his staff, Secretary of State Colin Powell and whomever else were involved in the negotiations to keep France from vetoing the American resolution were obviously talking and exchanging letters.  Their conversation and letters would have consisted of words and phrases which have universally agreed-upon meanings.  There is a foundational assumption in such negotiations that there exists a level of good faith that a resolution—an agreement—is possible and is being sought by all of the parties engaged in seeking it.  But the problem, of course—that was faced by the Americans and which is faced on a daily basis by Canadians—is that the French, wherever they are found, do not function in that way.  At all.  Their goal is never to reach a resolution or an agreement.  The goal of the French is to impede progress by whatever means is possible, however unlikely or ill-founded.  You have an agreement with the French one day and the next day you don’t.  No earthly reason apart from the fact that it was possible for them to impede you and therefore they did.  It is what the French do.  Whomever it was that granted them status as a permanent veto-wielding member of the Security Council would, I hope, be writhing in the innermost concentric ring of Hell for his perfidy.  Of course, in the current go-round, once the French had impeded the Americans every way that they possibly could by manufacturing an opposing viewpoint out of the intellectual and philosophical matériel which is always the first French preferencegossamer and pixy dust—and having exhausted all available supplies of those so that everyone on the Security Council was, finally, allowed to vote, the vote was, of course, a unanimous 15-0.  No veto wielded, no abstentions.  Even Syria voted for the motion.  In the days leading up to the vote—as happens in journalistic proximity to anything in which the French participate—all was dire gossamer forecasts and “fate hanging in the balance” pixy dust.  It would be a “squeaker,” a photo finish.  It was, of course, a cakewalk.  The French did everything they could to get in the way and stay in the way.  And then voted for the resolution.  And everyone was—as Canadians are, on a nearly daily basis, with our Bad French Marriage and our Bad French Prime Minister—left wondering:

     What the f--- was that all about?”

     And the answer is always the same.  “That” was about the French.  In anything where the French are involved it will always be about the French.  Not in the way that Americans dominate the on-going international political and cultural dialogue.  The American domination is a natural one, having as its foundation the inescapable success of the American experiment.  American democracy works better than anyone else’s.  Americans have, as a result, greater freedom, greater material prosperity, a stronger military, a more vibrant economy and the only consistent global success in arts and entertainment and consumer goods worth mentioning and more success in any category that you care to name than does any nation.  In any environment where one entity is that disproportionately successful and by such a wide margin, that entity will—as America does—dominate everyone’s attention and, simultaneously, attract admiration, jealousy, affection, envy, resentment, loyalty and animosity and dominate the on-going international dialogue with its collective and individual ideas, political philosophies and thoughts.  By contrast, whenever and wherever the French—intermittently—show up on everyone’s radar screen it is not because of French ideas, French political philosophy, French thought.  They haven’t got any.  Modern French ideas, French political philosophy and French thought—oxymorons all—are to the on-going international political and cultural dialogue of the global community what a five-pound bag of sugar is to the internal combustion engine.  I suspect that the largest motivation behind France’s compulsion to impede everything and everyone has its origins in the success of the American experiment.  America is, after all, an English-speaking country.  England brought forth America on the North American continent—the “shining city on the hill”.  France brought forth Quebec, a parochial backwater whose contribution to the world is poutine, french fries covered in cheese and gravy. 

      You think you find that appalling.  Imagine how culinary France feels about it.

      But, to return to the subject at hand, “Why Canada Slept” can be attributed in no small part to Canada’s on-going Bad Marriage to French Canada and to the French predisposition both to being irritated and to actively working to irritate others, to being an impediment and to impeding others as a way of life.  After several centuries of dealing with the intransigent, unreasonable and unreasoning living French Impediment, a malaise has taken root in English Canada on a national scale which is not dissimilar to clinical depression.  Just as the victim of clinical depression finds sanctuary in excessive sleep, so, in my view, did much of English Canada some decades ago enter into a somnambulant state so as to avoid not only dealing with Quebec, but to avoid having to even think about Quebec for extended periods of time (this condition has not, to say the least, been alleviated by the development of the acronym “ROC”—the “Rest of Canada”—as a shorthand definition for those parts of this country which are not Quebec.  “Do you live in Quebec?” “No, I live in the Rest of Canada.”).  As with any bad marriage, the bad marriage colours all facets of an individual’s life.  Those at the greatest remove from the bad marriage—children who no longer have to live in the battleground which a bad marriage home inevitably becomes, as an example—are the least susceptible to the clinical depression which results. 

      I would put Canada’s military in this category.

      Shunned by its mother, Quebec, and nurtured by its father, Canada, the Canadian military has, as a consequence, “grown up” since Confederation in the well-adjusted and disciplined fashion of military men everywhere, eager to participate both in international conflicts and international peacekeeping as the defense of liberty and democracy and as the over-turning of despotism and dictatorship require and capable of interacting with admirable effectiveness—in both roles—with its military counterparts of other countries.  Implicitly understanding that its sole purpose is to discharge its obligations under the direction of the appropriate civilian authorities, the Canadian military, like the military of all free nations does not initiate its tasks, it discharges them where and when it is directed to do so.  And it accepts that there may be extended periods where no task is put to it.  In those times, its task is to maintain itself at or near its peak efficiencies and capabilities through rigorous discipline, military exercises and maneuvers. 

     So long as the highest civilian authority, the Prime Minister, came from Canada, this remained the status quo.  Beginning in 1968, however, when our Prime Ministers (as part of the Husbandly campaign of Wifely appeasement) began to be chosen exclusively from Quebec—and when the tenures of non-Quebecois Prime Ministers (Joe Clark, John Turner) could be measured, literally, in mere months the Psycho Bitch quality endemic to the Wife took hold and she soon set about the gleeful, decades-long dismantling of the Canadian military piece by piece, a unilateral disarmament unprecedented in any of the great democracies, before or since. 

    This concludes the lengthy detour which began mid-way through part two.  Resuming Mark Proudman’s encapsulation of Canada’s military history with the post-war years:


      Primary concern with the home audience remained the focus of military policy after the Second World War.  In the 1956 Suez War, Britain and France invaded Egypt to seize the Suez Canal, which, in their opinion, they owned.  Lester Pearson’s famous negotiations for a ceasefire and a UN peacekeeping force caused the government political difficulties: many English Canadians, following the lead of The Globe and Mail [Canada’s only national newspaper at the time], thought the British action had been justified.  It became politic for the government to be seen doing something positive, so Canadian troops were deployed, not because they were necessary on the ground (the Egyptians didn’t want them) but because they were necessary to Ottawa’s image. 

   But Pearson had inadvertently discovered something: Peacekeeping is cheap.  Moreover it has an enlightened, internationalist, humanitarian air to it—a message that became particularly appealing as the Americans got bogged down in Vietnam.  Few troops are needed for peacekeeping so conscription is unnecessary [emphasis mine].  Cheap and even out-of-date equipment is often good enough to get the job done.  Canadian diplomats and politicians, from Pearson to Chrétien, have been able to be seen playing a prominent role on the world stage, without having to commit large forces or take great risks.


    In short, what Lester Pearson recognized was that it was possible to have a Canadian military which saw action internationally so long as the scale of the operation was kept both small enough—thus  eliminating the politically-hazardous need to conscript troops from Quebec which would trigger riots in Montreal and Quebec City—and (this is critical) cheap enough that the Wife (Quebec) didn’t begrudge the Husband (Canada) the money—which, above a certain dollar threshold, the Wife would have insisted go towards some more worthwhile purpose: like a massive bribe or blackmail payment to Quebec. 

    Peacekeeping is a “hot button issue” in Canada—since, as with ice hockey, we claim to have invented it—and a news item about its origins invariably sets off a flurry of corrections and counter-corrections in Canadian newspapers.  By example, here is a “mid-flurry” letter from Sean Maloney of the Royal Military College of Canada to the National Post from July of this year:


    I suggest that the historical record is more complex than Alex Morrison asserts (re: letter to the editor, Pearson and Peacekeeping, July 12).

     As with any historical event, new information emerges over time and interpretations of the past evolve.  The role of Lester B. Pearson in the development of UN peacekeeping is now at that stage, particularly since the Orwellian manipulation of Pearson and his policies by those seeking to further their own interests in the 1990s, which is today a dangerous thing not only for this country but also for the soldiers we send overseas. 

   My book does not dispute Pearson’s importance in the development of Canadian national security policy during the Cold War.  As Geoffrey Pearson quite correctly points out, (Son defends Pearson’s Peacekeeping Legacy, July 12), Pearson was a strong believer in deterrence.  Furthermore, I suggest in Canada and UN Peacekeeping that Canadian peacekeeping, as conceptualized by Pearson, was an integral, but not central component of Canada’s strategy to contain Soviet totalitarianism.  Many would have us believe otherwise, particularly those seeking to portray Canada as a neutral nation. 

    There were other contributors to the creation of UN peacekeeping, men who were perhaps not politically correct enough for those seeking to create mythological personages that corresponded to their objectives.  One of these men was General E.L.M. Burns, the military head of the UN peace observation force in the Middle East, who insisted in November 1955 that the UN needed a more robust armed presence interposed between the belligerents.  Another was General Charles Foulkes and his staff officers, who conceptualized Canadian UN peacekeeping in a 1947 study.  A 1954 analysis by Pearson’s staff at External Affairs concluded that peacekeeping operations were a means to forestall Communist expansion in the Third World.  Credit must be given where credit is due.  I fail to see how this somehow detracts from Pearson’s accomplishments. 

    I would suggest to those critics striking out blindly in defence of Pearson that they carefully consider the argument made in the book before condemning it. 


   The fact that Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Suez Crisis, of course weighs heavily in the balance when it comes to “who did” or “who did not” invent peacekeeping.  And, as Mr. Maloney points out, the urge to create mythological personages rather than to research the historical sequence of events is something of a vice on the left-liberal side of things and Lester Pearson has, in many ways, suffered the same fate as his American patron John F. Kennedy (who supplied Pearson with modern pollsters and modern polling techniques in a very Kennedyesque —and successful as hell—“don’t get mad, get even” campaign to unseat Prime Minister John Diefenbaker—Pearson’s predecessor at 24 Sussex Drive and a Kennedy nemesis—in the Canadian federal election of 1963) of being cast as kindred spirits of and by the “squishy” left liberal quasi-socialist neutralists of their respective political parties, the Liberals and the Democrats. 

     Which is not to say that Pearson wasn’t more than a little “squishy” both before and after he assumed the office of Prime Minister (1963-1968).  As Robert Fulford pointed out in his column “Fantasy informs our foreign policy” (National Post 17 September):


     When NATO was formed, in the 1940s, the Canadians insisted that its charter provide for economic and cultural as well as military co-operation.  This never happened, but after 20 years Pearson took to saying that Canada would lose interest if NATO “degenerated into merely an old-fashioned military alliance.”  [Dean Acheson, U.S. Secretary of State in the Truman administration and one of the architects of NATO] argued that NATO was in fact an old-fashioned military alliance, against the Soviets and nothing else.  Pearson was trying to make Canada’s pro-West, anti-Soviet policy look different from America’s which it wasn’t.  Pearson did nothing but wrap Canada-U.S. relations in confusion…Acheson liked Canada, and collaborated with Lester B. Pearson in creating NATO, but he had no illusions about the things that Canadians have illusions about, such as peacekeeping.  He noticed long ago something that Michael Ignatieff precisely defined last fall in a CBC broadcast: a tendency among Canadian politicians and civil servants to “make a specialty of impotent moral perfectionism”…Acheson summarized Canada’s approach to diplomacy:  As a middle-sized power, Canada was listened to but not held responsible for results; it could attract admiration while letting powerful countries be blamed for any failures. And how did Canada use its middle-power position?  To posture as the world’s peacekeeper.  


    Acheson’s wry bemusement at Pearson’s striking of attitudes and at the diplomatic antics of Canada, the “Stern Daughter of the Voice of God” (I just had to work that in again) gave way to a less…light-hearted…reaction in April of 1965 when Prime Minister Pearson delivered a speech at Philadelphia’s Temple University in which he suggested that the U.S. stop bombing North Vietnam.  During a visit later to Camp David, President Johnson was seen grabbing the Prime Minister by the lapels.

    “You don’t come here to piss on my rug,”  Johnson was reported saying.

    Mark Proudman’s article “Undermining allies a Canadian tradition” effectively addresses several inaccuracies in the Myths of Suez by documenting the sequence of events.


    Differing national experiences have led to differing histories of the Suez affair. The Europeans see it as an episode in the decline of empire.  The Americans are inclined to view Suez against the backdrop of the Cold War, and see the brief war as a counterproductive allied distraction. 

    Canadians, however, have turned an allied disaster into a national triumph: In that variety of heritage-moment history that comes at us from movie screens, school textbooks and political platforms, we are told that during the Suez crisis Lester B. Pearson who was secretary of state for External Affairs at the time, invented the idea of peacekeeping and was able, through UN diplomacy, to negotiate a ceasefire. 

    There is enough truth here to make a comforting national myth.  The fact is Pearson negotiated an ignominious withdrawal by British and French forces—and the affair then turned into an unabashed triumph for the radical Arab nationalist dictator of Egypt, Gamal Abdul Nasser, even though his forces had been defeated on the battlefield.

   The key issue in the Suez crisis was the Egyptian nationalization of the Suez Canal, which had been owned by the British and the French.  The British and the French arranged for the Israelis to invade Egypt, and then pretended to intervene to protect the canal and to separate the combatants. 

   This was the kind of underhanded diplomatic trick that might have worked in the 19th century, but this time no one was fooled and it rapidly became apparent that even many Britons were offended by the disingenuous use of military force to protect an economic interest.  Democracies are bad liars:  A forthright declaration that “we are protecting our property” would probably have rallied a great part of the British public behind the invasion.

    The U.S. administration of President Eisenhower was particularly incensed by the Anglo-French action.  This was, in part, because it was trying to convince Arab opinion that the United States was just as staunchly anti-colonialist as the Soviets and partly because it was simultaneously trying to rally world opinion against the Soviet invasion of Hungary.  Finally, the United States was angry because America’s allies had kept it in the dark about their plans and had the additional temerity to launch an invasion the weekend before the 1956 presidential election. 

    The Americans responded to the Suez invasion by organizing a run on the British pound and by co-operating with the Saudis in an anti-British oil embargo.  This was the first oil embargo in history and it taught the Arabs a dangerous lesson: Oil can be a powerful weapon.  U.S. secretary of state John Foster Dulles later gave up in frustration his attempt to establish good relations with Nasser, and privately apologized to the British for undermining them in 1956. 

    The Suez peacekeeping mission organized by Pearson was also the first time Canada disagreed with Britain on the international stage.  The reasons that the British agreed to Pearson’s peace plan had more to do with money and oil than with anything that Pearson did.

    The Americans at least had the good grace not to build a national ideology on disagreements with their allies; Canadians, on the other hand, seem to have made inter-allied backstabbing something of a national tradition:  Our politicians and diplomats are never quite convinced that they are acting independently unless they are undermining an ally.


     That, I feel safe in saying, is the French in us. 

      I think it also worth noting that the Nobel Committee has always favoured leftist sentiments and causes and that a major reason for the awarding of the peace prize to Lester Pearson likely had more to do with the fact that he had been instrumental in Britain and France ending up with egg on their faces and Egypt coming up a winner in the Suez Crisis than for any “peace”—per se—which had resulted from his innovations.

      18 July of this year, the National Post printed a letter from Arthur E. Blanchette, a former peacekeeper and Indochina desk officer in External Affairs:


    [Pearson’s] influence on an earlier peacekeeping exercise is almost completely forgotten today.  For in 1954, along with Paul Martin Sr., then minister of national health and welfare, he persuaded a reluctant prime minister, Louis St. Laurent [from Quebec, I hasten to point out], to accept the invitation extended by the then-premier of China, Chou En-lai, that Canada join India and Poland to monitor a truce and supervise a peacekeeping operation, set up by the Geneva Conference of 1954, enabling France to withdraw from Indochina without too great a loss of face.

   Canada remained in Indochina until 1973.


     Lester Pearson was also the individual responsible for collapsing the branches of the Canadian military into a single entity with a single chain of command called the Canadian Armed Forces, which has proven something of a morale destroyer in Canada’s military (from what I understand) undermining the natural pride which results from being in the Army, the Air Force OR the Navy, as opposed to the ArmyAirForceandNavy.  I suspect that this was accomplished largely to allow the slashing of funding from a single military budget rather than to attempt to slash funding from three military budgets (in much the way that the Liberals recently slashed transfer payments to the provinces by collapsing three programs into one and giving the provinces discretion as to what and on which they might choose to spend the—drastically diminished—lump sum which remained). 

     Abiding by the foundational rules governing the military in a democracy, whatever the senior command of Canadian Forces actually thought of peacekeeping (not much, since they viewed it as a distraction from their primary responsibility, fighting wars), they set about restructuring for the task at hand as determined by the civilian authorities and, from 1956 onward, Canada’s military was primarily used in UN peacekeeping operations.  In fact, the Canadian military, by the end of 2001, had sacrificed more soldiers in the cause of UN peacekeeping than had the military of any other nation, 108 soldiers on 70 different missions (all of whom were recognized by the UN earlier this year with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal, named for the Swedish UN Secretary-General who died in a plane crash while on a peace mission in 1961 in the Congo). 

      In my view, this conversion of the Canadian Forces from a combat force to a peacekeeping force became another reason “Why Canada Slept”.  Through the efforts of Lester Pearson and his Liberal and Quebecois successors—whose motives were primarily the avoidance of conscripting soldiers and secondarily the slashing of military spending to the bare bone (both of which had as their overarching motive the appeasement of public opinion in Quebec)—we, essentially, backed into our status as a pacifist or neutralist nation, by taking it as a given that a peacekeeping army could be smaller—substantially smaller—than a combat force.  This then made not only possible, but inevitable the leap of left liberal, quasi-socialist faith from that “given” to holding as self-evident the view that we would never have need of combat forces.  The succession of Quebecois Prime Ministers which followed Lester Pearson—with their innate antipathy towards all things military—made the disgraceful erosion of our armed forces inevitable.  At the time of the Suez Crisis, the Canadian military consisted of 120,000 combat-ready soldiers.   As mentioned in part one of this series, that number is down around 50,000.  Taking into account the number of military personnel which are required to maintain the Canadian Forces Bases around the country and overseas, the deployable forces are substantially fewer even than that.  Perhaps as few as 9,000. 

     As Major General Lewis Mackenzie, the UN Commander in Sarajevo in 1992 put it in his not altogether facetious “Dear President Bush” letter  (“Mr. Bush, help us be all that we can be” National Post 24 September):


Dear President Bush,

    I hope you don’t mind me writing you like this.  Trust me, I wouldn’t be so brazen if the situation up here were not so serious.  By way of background, in 1992 I had the good fortune to serve as the UN Commander in Sarajevo when your father was president, Vice-President Cheney held the office of Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of State Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Thanks to the excellent relationship that existed at the time between Prime Minister Mulroney and President Bush (41), your father’s public promise—that the United States would respond to threats to our security in Bosnia if the UN was incapable of doing so—was a great boost to our morale. 

    During that period in the early ‘90s, Canada’s military was punching well above its weight on the world stage.  With less than 1% of the world’s population and a deployable army of just over 20,000 we made up over 10% of the UN’s peace operations around the globe.  With 2,000 soldiers in Bosnia and Croatia, 500 in Cyprus, 400-plus in Cambodia and more than 1,000 in Somalia, and hundreds on smaller missions in the Middle East, Haiti and Central America, plus a combat-ready brigade of more than 4,000 with NATO forces in Germany, I could look Secretary of Defense Cheney and General Powell in the eyes when I met with them following my departure from Sarajevo in 1992.  Canada was doing “more with less” than any other army in the world—and we were damn proud of our contribution to international peace and security.

   During the past nine years the Canadian Armed Forces has borne the largest brunt of our government’s assault on the nation’s deficit.  Twenty-five per cent was removed from a budget that might have been adequate to maintain a minimum acceptable capability in a stable world, but was woefully inadequate to cope with a multitude of deployments in the latter half of the 1990s to trouble spots like East Timor, the Congo, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Georgia, Kosovo, Eritrea/Ethiopia etc., etc.

    The fact that our Army is bankrupt and can no longer respond “ready aye ready” to whatever its government demands was driven home just a few months ago when we were forced to withdraw our modest army contribution—fewer than 900 fine soldiers—from the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.  Our only major army deployment currently left outside the country is a 1,000-plus contingent in Bosnia with NATO.  Its re-supply system is civilian-run and could not be deployed into a war-fighting situation—such as Afghanistan or wherever the pursuit of the terrorists takes us.

   In spite of the dramatic cutbacks to our operational deployments, the Army is more than $1-billion in the hole on its operational budget.  The modest increases cautiously anticipated in future military funding wouldn’t even pay the Army’s outstanding debt, let alone stop the hemorrhaging of experienced people from its ranks. 

    You might be surprised to learn that this grievous situation has been well recognized by the majority of elected representatives within our House of Commons and our appointed Senators as well.  Both groups have produced compelling and justified arguments for increased defence funding totaling 50% over the next four years.  The government’s own Auditor-General has eloquently made the case for similar increases and highly qualified think-tanks from coast to coast, many with absolutely no self-serving reasons other than patriotism and concern for our nation’s military, have forcefully expressed similar recommendations.  Finally, and by no means least in importance and weight, your own ambassador to our country has been tough and articulate in expressing your country’s concerns regarding the deteriorating state of our military’s operational capability. 

    Considering all of the above, I was merely wondering…would you be prepared to make an annual donation (I doubt if the idea of a loan would float) to our defence budget?  The amount suggested is relatively modest—all Canadian dollars—say $1.5-billion the first year (preferably starting this year so we can pay a few bills), increasing by $1.5-billion each year for the next five years, culminating in 2006 with a steady state grant of $7-billion.  My calculations indicate that your total “grant”—in our dollars, over five years—would only buy you seven B2 bombers at home, whereas the same investment north of your border would buy you—well, not really you, because you know how sensitive we are about our sovereignty—would buy us a 75,000-strong fighting force unequalled in the world for that modest an investment.  If anyone knows how to ingeniously get the biggest bang for your buck it’s the Canadian Army (with the USMC in a close second place).  With the proven quality of our young men and women in uniform as collateral I can assure you that you will not be disappointed—and your security and that of the world will be enhanced.

   Lewis MacKenzie, Major General (ret’d)

   PS. Please don’t mention this correspondence to our Prime Minister.  He might be less willing to accept the donation if he knew I had asked you.  Oh yes, if you do decide to contribute please make sure you get a written guarantee that the money will be spent on our military.  There is a good deal of talk these days about our departing Prime Minister’s legacy and I wouldn’t want to see your largesse spent on a third lane for our TransCanada Highway.   


    This is not the usual tone of a military man and certainly not the tone of a military man of Lewis MacKenzie’s irrefutable high caliber, which, as the Major General says, gives you some idea of how desperate the situation has become for Canada’s military. 


* * * * * * * * *


    Before moving on to look at the high standards which the Canadian Forces continue to uphold against overwhelming odds—including excerpts from Major General MacKenzie’s more representative writings—I think it worth noting an interesting, if somewhat tangential conclusion that I came to in the course of researching “Why Canada Slept”.  That is, that the relationship between the United States and Canada is directly analogous to the relationship between Canada and Quebec.  I think it worth noting because it seems to me that Canadians could improve their relationship with the United States if they would realize just how…Quebec-like…our behaviour towards our nearest neighbour, closest ally and largest trading partner is.  It grates on the Canadian nerves to listen to Quebec always harping on its sovereignty, its small-mindedness in always emphasizing its independence, its fundamental differences from the “Rest of Canada”.  Being polite Canadians we try to give the Quebecois a sympathetic hearing but it is very, very difficult.  How do you see yourselves as being different?”  Apart from being French the answer always consists of vague parochial interests which separate the Quebecois from us only because their interests are peculiar.  Not peculiar in a bad way.  Just peculiar.  As in “how can anyone find that as interesting as you do?”  Which is rather, I think, the American reaction to our treating ice hockey as a religion.  They don’t think its evil, they just think its…peculiar (which it is).  And their reaction is not “Oh, well—no wonder you think you’re not like us.”  When Americans listen to the parochial interests which most Canadians believe separate them from Americans, their reaction is about the same as our reaction to the parochial interests of the Quebecois which make them think of themselves as a breed apart.  An honest Canadian reaction to Quebec and an honest American reaction to Canada would be, “Don’t you think that’s kind of, well, petty?  Kind of small-minded? I mean, aren’t you making a mountain out of a molehill?”  This is never said, either by Canadians to the Quebecois or by Americans to Canadians for the obvious reason that it would only compound the problem.  If you think someone is being petty and small-minded, accusing them of it is the surest way to find out just how petty and small-minded someone can be.  Implicit in both cases is, “You are aware that you would be completely lost-at-sea without us, right?”  Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner, but not nearly to the extent that the United States is Canada’s largest trading partner.  It’s amusing every time we have the same trade dispute over softwood lumber.  The Americans claim that Canada unfairly subsidizes its softwood lumber.  Canada claims it does no such thing.  The Americans slap a whopping tariff on our softwood lumber.  Our softwood lumber industry instantly goes in the toilet.  We send the dispute to arbitration at the World Trade Organization.  They agree with Canada.  The Americans lift their tariff.   Not once does Canada look at the situation and say, the softwood lumber industry goes in the toilet because the Americans are our only customer.  What?  Are you going to float a bunch of logs across the Pacific Ocean to Japan?  Across the Atlantic to Spain? Those will be mighty expensive logs when they get there (if they get there). 

    Not treating the softwood lumber industry under those rules by which your Biggest and Virtually Only Customer wants it to be treated (listen to me carefully, Canadians) Is. A. Very. Very. Quebec. Like. Thing. To. Do.  It is exactly the sort of petty, nickel-and-dime, in your face, nyah nyah, “I’m kicking you in the shins, I’m kicking you in the shins” sort of thing that Quebec always tries to pull with the Rest of Canada.  Which always makes the Rest of Canada go, “What’s the matter with those idiots?  Don’t they realize they’d be lost at sea without us?”  They can’t just be what they are:  a part of Canada, they have to have “sovereignty association” or something so everyone knows how special and different they are.  And they can’t just say, “We’re sovereignly associated.”  So Canada can say, “Fine. You’re sovereignly associated.  Good for you.”  And then go and do something interesting.  No they have to have some big hooplah conference and weeks of negotiations and referenda and polls and debates where they’re the centre of attention and Canada offers them the sun and the moon and the stars and a weekend in the Bahamas if they will just please sign the Constitution.  At which point they petulantly say “no” just to prove how special and different they are.

    I’m sure there is a Freudian term—transference, maybe?—which defines the behaviour of a Husband who has so completely and thoroughly self-abased and humiliated himself in capitulating to the every whim of the Wife in his Bad Marriage that he then starts turning all of the relationships in his life into equally Bad Marriages by taking on the worst traits of his Wife.  Whatever that term would be, it suits Canada to a “t” and nowhere more thoroughly than in its relationship with the United States.  We will have “outgrown our long national adolescence” (in Mark Proudman’s memorable phrase) only when we recognize how Quebec-like we have become and stop being that way.  We should be as unquestioningly loyal to the United States as we believe Quebec should be to Canada and for the same reasons: one, because it is the right thing to do and two, because it is the wise thing to do given that the United States is as critically necessary to the success and to the survival of Canada as Canada is to the success and the survival of Quebec.

    This concludes my digressional lecture series, Grow.Up.101. 


* * * * * * *


    I agree with Charles Krauthammer’s observation from his column earlier this year (“U.S. military makes war—not peace”) where he advocates that the U.S. hold firm in leaving peacekeeping duties to others.  “Why?  Because the U.S. military is the world’s premier fighting force, and ought to husband its resources for just that.  Anybody can peacekeep [sic]; no one [else] can do what Americans did in Afghanistan.  Many nations can do police work; only Americans can drop thousand-pound bombs with the precision of a medieval archer.”  For Canada, put another way, there is no use crying over spilt milk.  If there existed any misapprehension at the External Affairs ministry back in 1956 that the switch from combat forces to a peacekeeping role would still leave Canada with all its options on the table, it has been thoroughly repudiated by events in Afghanistan.  The quest for the “military high ground” did not end with the development of the atomic bomb.  Nuclear weapons do represent an ultimate “trump card”.  What was overlooked by every nation besides the United States and the Soviet Union (the latter, up until 1989) was that the competition for the “military high ground” in conventional armaments was still in doubt.  Apart from the Avro Arrow, the state of the art fighter jet which Canada developed in the early 1960s—and which was scuttled before it could advance beyond the prototype stage—Canada opted out of the competition early and completely.  It is not a game where you can take a seat on the sidelines and then play “catch-up” decades later when geopolitical realities take a sharp turn in an unexpected direction (as they did on 11 September 2001).  The development of state-of-the-art military hardware is a scaffold where each new piece-or-system builds on the strength of its immediate predecessor piece-or-system while simultaneously diminishing or eliminating apparent or potential weaknesses.  The Pentagon’s scaffold is now as tall as the former World Trade Center buildings and everyone else is stuck somewhere around the tenth or twelfth floor.  To the civilian mind this seems like “overdoing” it, but, arguably, the greater a technological “lead” the Pentagon can open up over any potential rivals, the more secure the technology becomes from espionage or the loss of sophisticated military hardware in combat.  If your adversaries open up a downed military jet and are unable to understand what they are looking at, they will be unable to imitate it.  In the 21st century, that technological “lead” is as close as you can get to holding the “military high ground,” a quest as old as warfare itself.

    Given Canada’s lack of military capability, this makes it even more necessary, in my view, for Canada to define its military role relative to the perceived requirements of the United States—both as America’s closest neighbour and largest trading partner and as a NATO ally.  Unfortunately, in my view, the present Liberal government has elected to define Canada, instead, as a member of the United Nations which strikes me as seriously screwy given that the UN (as Ezra Levant pointed out in “Why Canada should declare war” National Post 15 August) “…was conceived as a meeting place for nations’ diplomats, a clearing house for national interests.  It has no democratic mandate or legitimacy of its own.  If Mr. Graham [Bill Graham, Canada’s current Foreign Minister] feels that a certain UN vote is also in Canada’s national interest, then that is a happy coincidence.  If our interests are not the same, then Canada’s sovereignty—especially over a declaration of war, the gravest decision a government can make—must trump Mr. Graham’s utopian adherence to the latest diplomatic fad. Section 91 (7) of Canada’s Constitution grants sole jurisdiction for the ‘Militia, Military and Naval Service, and Defence’ to the Canadian government.  Our Constitution makes no mention of the United Nations.”  Even from the highly skewed Liberal perspective of “UN Uber Alles,” the UN General Assembly votes on motions before it.  Member nations are expected to hold a view—yes or no—and to vote accordingly.  Taken to its ridiculous extreme, allowing the UN to set the course of Canadian foreign policy would require that Canada’s ambassador vote last on any declaration so that he or she could vote with the majority view, whatever that happened to be.  It would be the equivalent of a U.S. Senator saying, “I’ll go along with whatever the Senate decides”.  It brings a new level of “squishiness” to the left-liberal, quasi-socialist way of doing things.  Which should come as no great surprise to those of us who have been subject to the Chrétien Liberals for the better part of a decade, whose dictatorial approach to parliamentary democracy has led to such spectacles as the government voting unanimously against one of its own 1993 campaign promises contained in its (in pace requiescat Mao Tse Tung) Red Book when it was put forward as an opposition motion by the Canadian Alliance.   

    Although I am advocating just such a knee-jerk support response—substituting the United States for the UN—I think that that is the only honourable and sensible course of action left open to my country, given that (as I pointed out in the first installment) we put all of our eggs in the ‘War is Over” basket.  In a world where fundamentalist Islam has surged to the forefront of all our consciousnesses with the events of 11 September, with the bombing in Bali, with the Miss World riots in Nigeria, with the suicide bombings in the Middle East such that no democracy can now consider itself safe from attacks upon its civilian populations, Canada is no longer theoretically beholden to the United States for its national defence, it is beholden to the United States in practical fact.  It is a fact of fundamentalist Islam that the number and severity of its attacks diminish in direct proportion to the amount of lethal force brought to bear against it.  It was the decisive action in Afghanistan, the no-nonsense approach to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and the immediate “gearing up” for an invasion of Iraq which has left the United States largely free from (the Beltway Sniper aside) domestic and overseas Muslim terrorist attacks—and certainly nothing on the scale of 11 September.  There seems a strong likelihood that rogue Islamic elements are now more apt to target the “skinny puppies” of the Western “litter,” in which category Canada has chosen to be the “skinniest of the skinny”.  There was a chilling quality (completely lost on the government of my country) when—in the aftermath of the Islamic terrorist attack on the French oil tanker off Yemen—the Pentagon announced that it had no plans to tighten security over the shipping lanes in the area.  Given France’s checkered track record as an American ally, a sensible approach on the part of the United States and one which I think would be equally sensible—and very possibly forthcoming—in the event of a terrorist attack on Canada, its territories or its citizens.  

    It is the sheer precariousness of Canada’s situation, having unilaterally disarmed in a now more dangerous world, that contributes a great deal to “Why Canada Slept” and why Canada continues to sleep, in my view.  Even as the other western democracies have begun an overhaul of their respective military capabilities in response to the events of 11 September and the terrorist activities of fundamentalist Muslims around the world, Canada chooses to do nothing.  Not “very little”.  Nothing. 

    There is no shortage of proposals out there.  Lieutenant-General Mike Jeffrey, Canada’s top army commander, in his blueprint, Army of Tomorrow has proposed a ten-year overhaul that would transform an army built to fight Cold War mechanized battles in Europe into a nimble force that can be deployed quickly in small, messy peacekeeping, peacemaking and anti-terrorist operations in theatres such as Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.  As the National Post editorialized about Lieutenant-General Jeffrey’s proposals (“Raising our military IQ” 13 May):


   The focus on large formations of 1,000 or more men would disappear and smaller 100-man units with special-forces training would become central.  More resources would be directed into surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations.


   By contrast, the present situation of “Why Canada Slept” and through which Canada’s present government continues to sleep was addressed by Matthew Fisher in “The fact is, Canada has little to bring to a war” (National Post 7 Sept.):


    The global war on terror demonstrated with embarrassing clarity the Canadian navy cannot support more than three warships at a time in distant seas.  The war in Afghanistan revealed Canada has little military airlift and no military sealift, and no longer has enough combat doctors to staff a field hospital.  Afghanistan also showed that a country that sent hundreds of thousands of fighting men to Europe during the Second World War cannot now sustain a 1,000-man battle group in the field for more than six months. 


    Addressing the peculiar schism between the civilian authorities in Canada on the one hand and the Canadian military, American military and American civilian authorities on the other hand, Mr. Fisher notes:


    The (Canadian) army brass was keen to dispatch Leopard tanks from its base in Germany to help expel the Iraqi invaders from Kuwait in the winter of 1990-91, but after furious political debate that plan was vetoed by [External Affairs minister] Joe Clark and other doves in the [Prime Minister Brian] Mulroney cabinet.

   What George Bush Sr. got from Canada then were a few warships, a supply ship, a military field hospital, a Boeing 707 tanker aircraft, several C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and a squadron of F-18 fighters. 

    However those warplanes spent most of the war quietly flying combat air patrols against Saddam’s invisible air force because Ottawa would not authorize pilots to drop bombs until the last hours of a campaign that lasted weeks.


     Given this, the state of our complete lack of military preparedness, and given that there is no sign on the horizon that the present government of Canada is prepared to even begin to address this sorry state of affairs with anything besides massive infusions of gossamer and pixy dust, and given (most particularly) that this leaves us almost entirely dependent on the United States for our defence, then I think the only honourable course of action is to supply the United States with the last international resource of even marginal value which we possess: our support at the UN before the world community and support—if not in, then, at least, of the war on terrorism.  It might prove a source of meager  consolation to Canadians that we had at last found a valid use for our gossamer and pixy dust which, at essence, represents the totality of our contributions—both actual and potential—because there is no question or doubt (in my mind, anyway) that the United States can quite successfully “go it alone”.   Whether you are discussing Canada’s Leopard tanks or Canada’s Coyote armoured vehicles, there is not the remotest chance of their “tipping the balance” in favour of the U.S. led forces in any conflict with Iraq (or with those dictatorships which will be targeted after Iraq).  They will be virtually unnoticeable by their presence or by their absence.  Likewise with our vote at the UN.  The United States has (quite legitimately, in my view) made it plain that it will work in cooperation with the UN or it will work in cooperation with “like-minded” nations.  For the moment, the United States is concerned, to one extent or another, with garnering international support at the UN for its actions in rooting out terrorists and attacking those states which sponsor terrorism.  Deciding between the democracy of the United States under George Bush and the dictatorship of Iraq under Saddam Hussein should (to say the least) be an international diplomacy no-brainer.  For everyone except Islamic terrorists and left-liberal, quasi-socialists it is, in fact, a no-brainer.  But if, as allies of the United States, as member nations of the UN, as NATO members, as democracies, we can’t bring ourselves to see the difference between right and wrong, between black and white when it is before our eyes in just so cut-and-dried a propositional dichotomy, we can’t be altogether surprised (although I’m sure—when the time comes—we will pretend to be with all the usual left-liberal, quasi-socialist histrionics we bring to bear on such occasions) when the United States abandons even the façade of interest in what the international community might or might not think of its actions and sets about the task of bringing freedom and democracy to the enslaved nations of the world which are hungry for it with the assistance of like-minded governments and their militaries.   Nor can we be altogether surprised when this becomes an irrevocable circumstance: when we discover that American UN diplomacy exists only to refute, to undermine and to discredit domestic opposition to government policy.  In the United States’ case: left-liberal, quasi-socialist objections to doing the right thing and taking action against dictatorships and despotism.  The larger implication of this is that each time, in the aftermath of 11 September, that the UN proves itself to be nothing more and nothing less than, well,  the UN—proves itself, in short, to be irretrievably…French…(for want of a better term) in demonstrating its preference for obfuscation over insight, misdirection over clarity, rhetoric over resolve and dilettantism over decision-making—brings that much closer the complete discrediting of what has, historically, been the UN’s own first line of defence as a functioning World Body:  American left-liberal, quasi-socialists.  George Bush, simply by playing the UN game by the rules, has demonstrated to the American public the levels of pointless intricacy, the quantities of hot air and the time-wasting required to get the UN to support its own resolutions.  Each time that he submits his administration’s foreign policy to the Rube Goldberg-like UN maze he makes it that much less possible for Senate and House Democrats to resort to or to invoke the UN as a serious entity without appearing, themselves, to be left-liberal, quasi-socialist dupes blinded by gossamer and pixy dust.  The left-liberal, quasi-socialists have been quick to grasp the salient facts of How the World Has Changed post-11 September, but, at the same time, seem unable to retain those facts for extended periods.  “You are either with the United States or you are with the terrorists” is a good example, as is, “Our target is those nations which finance or harbour terrorists.”  It’s common sense.  Of course there is nothing that qualifies as common sense that—once the left liberal, quasi-socialists get a hold of it—they are not able to “on the other hand” into a kaleidoscope of myriad and daunting complexities which breed in turn still more “on the other hand” intricacies until there is nothing visible but billions upon billions of “other hands” and no idea even where “square one” is, let alone how to get there.  Common sense would tell you that “square one” is where you begin.  Common sense would tell you that “square one” is where you are starting from.  It is a mark of how divorced left-liberal, quasi-socialism is from reality that even defining “square one” would—for left-liberal, quasi-socialists—constitute the basis of a profoundly divisive debate.

     Andrew Coyne in his column “Which precedent? What law?” (National Post 7 October) eloquently defines the box in which the left-liberal, quasi-socialists of the Chrétien government now find themselves as Foreign Affairs Minister Graham seeks to chart a Liberal course through the 21st century’s suddenly illiberal political waters.


    In recent days, Mr. Graham has made his most detailed public critiques yet of American policy.  His concerns are three-fold.  One, there is not sufficient evidence that Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat to the United States or its allies.  Two, lacking such evidence, the United States could not invoke its right of self-defence in international law to attack Saddam unilaterally, i.e. all by itself.  “Article 51 of the UN Charter,” he said on CBC radio last week, “allows a state to take action in self-defence.  It doesn’t allow you to invade somebody just because you want to invade them.” 

    Rather, three, any decision to use force against Iraq should be taken by resolution of the United Nations Security Council.  Mr. Graham has pledged to “work with the Americans to push them in the direction of multilateralism instead of unilateralism.”

   But that is to misstate the situation.  The United States is not proposing to act alone, but in concert with its allies.  The choice is not between multilateralism and unilateralism, but between two different kinds of multilateralism:  On the one hand, an ad hoc “coalition of the willing,” including Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy and several Arab states, and on the other, the institutions and practices of the United Nations. 

   Which form of multilateralism you prefer will depend on which task you expect it perform.  Is it to prevent rogue states from acquiring nuclear weapons?  Or is it to constrain the exercise of American power?  It’s no use saying both.  As a practical matter, the choice of one effectively precludes the other.  It was only the threat of American action that roused the UN to enforce its own resolutions.  Left to itself, the UN would never summon the will to confront Saddam. 

   So the question becomes, which is the greater threat to international security: America or Iraq?  For the anti-American left, the answer is easy.  After all, as Linda McQuaig observed in The Toronto Star last week, Saddam’s only invaded two countries, whereas the United States ‘has invaded or assaulted, Grenada, Nicaragua, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan…” (But why stop there?  Why not add France to the list?  Also Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and other European nations liberated in the Second World War—countries that, thanks to previous U.S. “invasions,” are today democracies.)

    That’s not Mr. Graham’s point, I think.  Rather his concern is what other states might do.  If international law were set aside in this case, he argues, the precedent could be invoked by other countries to settle disputes by military means.  Indeed, he reminded reporters on Friday, “our Russian colleagues are already speaking to Georgia in respect of Chechnya in lines that are not substantially different from that of the United States’ language in terms of Iraq.”

    But again this misstates the situation.  The issue is not whether to allow a precedent to be set.  A precedent will be set either way.  Either we will decide that a state threatened by weapons of mass destruction, whether in the hands of rogue states or their terrorist clients, is entitled to protect its citizens, without waiting for the bomb to go off.  Or we will decide that legalistic concerns for national sovereignty will take priority over threats to the peace. 

   In any event, it is not precedent that determines whether countries will invade their neighbours, but calculations of national interest.  If Russia is given license to invade Georgia, it is far more likely to be as a result of a backroom deal to obtain its consent for an attack on Iraq.  Whereas a United States that acted “alone” could still make clear that attacking Georgia was unacceptable to it, and to the international community.

   Which is what international law amounts to: an informal, evolving sense of what the world will accept, and what it will not.  Those who insist on the sanctity of international law appear to believe it to be analogous to domestic law, as drafted and enforced by domestic governments.  Such is not the case.  There is no Parliament to draft it, no legitimate government to enforce it. 

   Certainly the UN is not that government.  Its delegates are neither elected nor answerable, in most cases, to anyone who is.  The notion that the United States, or any nation, should have to subject the security of its citizens to a veto by the likes of Russia, or China, or France, is an absurdity.  Yet that seems to be what Mr. Graham has in mind. 


      No matter how simple and self-evident is the “common sense” choice before them (the democratic government of the United States under George Bush versus the totalitarian government of Iraq under Saddam Hussein being a good example) what is most difficult for left liberal, quasi-socialists—the governments that they form and the supporters that they attract—is choosing.  They jealously guard their “right to choose” while expending vast amounts of energy and time manufacturing tangential and largely irrelevant complexities.  The left liberal quasi-socialist sees this endless postponement of decision-making, this endless multiplying of “on the other hands” as inherently wise and as hallmarks of a fine intellect.  Conversely they view those who are not prone to manufacturing complexities out of gossamer and pixy dust as “morons”—as our Prime Minister’s director of communications, Francie Ducros, described President George W. Bush at the recent NATO summit which had as its theme, “How to modernize NATO.”  The President’s view is that you modernize NATO by persuading the member nations to upgrade their armed forces through increased military spending.  The President graduated from Yale, but I don’t imagine his Ivy League degree was required for him to understand that the way that you modernize an international military alliance is by having the member nations upgrade their armed forces through increased military spending.  After years of meetings and sub-committee meetings and debates, after much hand-wringing, both in and with the media and after the generation of several metric tons of written reports (examining root causes and the psychological stresses created by military alliances, women’s issues as they pertain to military alliances, the role of gays in military alliances) in their own timorous fashion (and only after you had assured them they would be allowed to change their minds), even left liberal quasi-socialist “morons” would arrive at the same conclusion:  The way that you modernize an international military alliance is by persuading member nations to upgrade their armed forces through increased military spending.


Next:  A “made in Canada” solution:  More Lewis MacKenzie and less Francie Ducros.