Harper on Conservative Foreign Policy
The comments by the PM on Canadian Foreign Policy in his interview with Maclean's editor Ken Whyte are truly appalling.
His overview of the last 70 years, starts with the fire fight against fascism, moves to the cold war against communism, and then on to the war on terrorism. For Harper these have been the successive challenges facing Canada and the world, and they can all be lumped together. Each defines the moment, and we face terrorists the way our predecessors faced fascists and communists.
It is bad enough equating the cold war, which originated in Washington according to serious historians such as William Appleman Williams and Walter LaFeber with the war against Hitler and Mussolini (which the Americans only joined after Pearl Harbour) but to equate the war against an abstract noun with World War II is truly unbelievable.
It is as if Harper got his education from reading Time Magazine essays on the greatness of American Foreign policy. No high school social studies teacher would let a student get away with drawing the conclusions Harper draws about the evolution of world affairs, as moving from fascism to terrorism via communism.
Harper is clear that we face a current threat from Radical Islamic terrorism. This justifies our military expenditures. Whyte did not ask him how the F35 jet, designed to bomb a country, prior to a land invasion, made sense as the weapon of choice in the war on terrorism, since terrorists do not sit around waiting to be bombed.
Harper is also clear we have to do our part, meaning carry some of the U.S. burden, and not worry about making friends, meaning forget diplomatic efforts to gather countries together to fight climate change, global poverty, or protect economies against banksters. Indeed our major foreign policy success, according to Harper was to kill the bank tax proposed by the U.K and France.
The ignorance Harper shows of basic elements of international relations, such as imperialism, hegemony, alliance building, diplomacy, and multilateral institutions is stunning, and troubling.
I found this piece about William Appleman Williams to be interesting. He is one of a number of significant American scholars that Harper and his people seem to have never heard of, but who are a credit to their country.