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Harper & Israeli Invasion of Lebanon


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Harper's first reponse to this invasion hasn't really changed. He's been consistent:

"Israel has the right to defend itself," Harper told reporters yesterday aboard a Canadian Forces Airbus en route to London, where he's starting a week-long diplomatic mission.

"I think Israel's response under the circumstances has been measured."

Israeli military incursions into Lebanon following the soldiers' abduction threatened to toss the volatile region into full-scale war.

While many countries are urging restraint, Harper said "the onus to end this escalation is on the other side, and I would urge them to return the prisoners.

"It's essential that Hezbollah and Hamas release their Israeli prisoners and any countries in that area that have influence on these organizations should encourage an end to violence and recognize -- and encourage the recognition of -- Israel's right to exist."

He said he found it "tremendously disappointing" that Palestinian organizations are launching attacks on Israel from a territory that Israel "voluntarily evacuated." The Israeli army withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.

CanWest
Mr. Harper said the conflict is the result of the fact that there is no Middle East peace process because "the current Palestinian government is not committed to a peace process.

"Secondly, there is an immediate crisis because of the actions of Hamas and the actions of Hezbollah," he said, referring to the radical Islamic movement that controls the Palestinian Authority and the Shia Muslim group that controls much of southern Lebanon.

He said the key to ending the crisis is not an immediate ceasefire, as has been advocated by some members of the Group of Eight industrialized countries at their annual summit here, but rather the safe return of three kidnapped Israeli soldiers and the end of "Hezbollah attacks on Israel."

These were Mr. Harper's first comments on the violence in the Middle East since eight Canadians, seven from a Montreal family, were killed Sunday in an Israeli air raid on Lebanon.

G & M
"Hezbollah's objective is violence,'' Harper told reporters in France on Tuesday after meeting with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

"Hezbollah believes that through violence it can bring about the destruction of Israel. Violence will not bring about the destruction of Israel. Violence will only bring about more violence. And inevitably the result of the violence will be the deaths primarily of innocent people.''

Harper has taken a pro-Israel position since the current crisis began on July 12.

CTV

There has been diverse criticism of Harper. I've noted three strands.

First, Graham:

Canada is in danger of losing its role as a mediator and peacemaker in the Middle East, Liberal Leader Bill Graham said Tuesday.

Graham,a former foreign affairs minister, told a Vancouver news conference that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has moved Canada away from its traditional non-aligned stance...

"Canada has always had a proud tradition in the Middle East of being able to work with all parties in a way to establish the conditions of a long and lasting peace," Graham said.

"If we act in a way that interferes with our credibility in that respect, we will not be able to be an effective ally of Israel or of Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East where we call have an extraordinary stake."

CanWest

This is nonsense. Canada was irrelevant in the Middle East. We were an "honest broker" in the same sense Chile or Iceland were honest brokers. This criticsm might appeal to those naive Canadians who still want to believe the Liberal created-image of Canada. But I think the Liberal leadership race shows that even Liberals know such a Canada only exists in an imaginary state.

Second, there has been criticsm of our slowness in evacuating Canadian citizens. This is a logistics problem and I don't see how Mackay or Harper can be blamed for this. (Personally, I think that if the federal government has spare money for evacuation plans halfway round the world, then maybe the federal government has too much spare money.) In political terms though, no politician can admit that. Comparing our response to Italy's is silly. Italy is a three hour flight from Lebanon.

Third, there has been criticsm of Harper's "callous disregard" for the plight of the Lebanese and in particular those Canadians of Lebanese origin killed. This is a criticism common in the Quebec press:

Montreal, the largest city in French-speaking Quebec -- and home to some 50,000 people of Lebanese decent -- could easily become even cooler to Harper's government, cutting into Conservative hopes for a stronger voter base in the province.

The party made a major breakthrough in Quebec in the last election and has high hopes of winning more seats there in the next vote. But the Quebec media have largely condemned Harper for his stance on Israel's attacks on Lebanon.

"If the prime minister does not improve his handling of the Middle East crisis, it could become for him ... what Hurricane Katrina became for President Bush: the start of a major weakening in public confidence towards the head of government," wrote commentator Andre Pratte in La Presse newspaper.

Reuters

First of all, this viewpoint is isolated to a specific community in Montreal that was unlikely to vote Conservative anyway. There is a difference between Montreal and the rest of Quebec. Quebecers are probably more bothered by increased military spending than Harper's position on Israel and Lebanon.

I certainly don't think that Canada's foreign policy should be dictated by the relative size of a particular immigrant community. In any case, Lebanon is a political minefield. There are probably many Lebanese who secretly support an Israeli invasion to reign in Hizballah.

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All in all, despite the emotions and exaggeration of a typical Middle East war, and despite the facile remarks of Canada's chattering class, Harper has come through so far quite well. I think there are many ordinary Canadians who are proud to see our PM take a position based on principle, and not the smug, easy-way-out of no position.

Few people have noted Harper's striking lack of international experience. Before becoming PM, Harper travelled almost nowhere and he has never lived abroad. For those who argue that foreign experience looks good on a CV, Harper is proof of the opposite.

Nevertheless, Harper has done well. Too bad the microphone wasn't on to capture his comments at the G-8. I suspect he held himself as well as anyone.

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Kind of a repeat of another post on the boards.
Where?

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Link here

I guess we were creating a thread at the same time. In any case, I wanted to discuss this from a domestic political perspective so it really should be in Federal Politics.

Harper is taking a hit from the Toronto/Montreal media. As they say, round up the usual suspects.

Edited by August1991
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Kind of a repeat of another post on the boards.

Where?

----

Link here

I guess we were creating a thread at the same time. In any case, I wanted to discuss this from a domestic political perspective so it really should be in Federal Politics.

Harper is taking a hit from the Toronto/Montreal media. As they say, round up the usual suspects.

At the risk of spamming, I'll repeat my substantive comment about Harper here. I was first though, by 16 minutes.

Remember, I'm an American, know little about Canada and may be totally off the mark.

==============================================================

At last Canada has a PM willing to stand up for the values of civilization that have made us a great country, and will again make us great. For too long, mealy-mouth moral equivalence has ruled. Even now, Bob Rae, a great Premier has suggested that the right path to follow is the one laid by Lester Pearson as a "peace broker", and to follow the UN right down the line.

This is the same UN where Kofi and his son have enriched themselves at the expense of taxpayers of the contributing countries, and that funds kleptocratic dictators worldwide. While Harper (and for that matter leaders of similar quality such as Bush, Blair and Howard) have not withdrawn from that sinkhole on New York City's East Side (the UN), they are wise not to follow its lead. Imploding the UN building, or turning it into housing for New York's poor can await another day.

Hezbollah and Hamas, quite frankly, have no plan whatsoever for the economic development of the Israeli land they covet. While the Israelis have been busy at work making the desert bloom (remember, they could easily have played "victim" in the wake of WW II), they have chosen to farm, develop hi-tech industry, and create a civil culture and a democracy. Israelis do not strap bombs onto their children for the sake of maximizing the death toll of Arabs. Even now, you're not hearing of Beirut going up in flames.

Contrast tactics of Hezbollah and Hamas. Indiscriminate pizza parlor bombings, attacks on religious ceremonies (a Bar Mitzvah in Turkey comes to mind), attacks on discoteques (sp). Israel's tactics are lightning and precision. Civilian casualties, while they occur, are truly minimal. Can you imagine Israel imitating the tactics of a suicide bomber in Iraq, where he detonates himself under a gasoline truck making a delivery near a mosque's religious school. Do these people know, or care, who they're killing?

For once, Harper is on the side of Western democracies. The question should not even be a close one.

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More on the domestic front. This is a good article:

Arab-Canadian critics say Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pay a political price for what they're calling an unabashed pro-Israel shift.

"It has left a bad taste in everybody's mouth," says Hani Faris, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia who grew up in Lebanon.

....

Faris traces that subtle but vital shift to the former Liberal regime. It was under Paul Martin's leadership that Canada began abstaining from or opposing United Nations resolutions rapping Israeli conduct in the region.

....

Faris recalled a meeting he had last year with former Liberal foreign affairs minister Pierre Pettigrew on similar concerns.

"I told him: 'Don't take Arab-Canadians for granted. There are hundreds of thousands of them.' "

To put it in crass political terms, at least one Conservative estimate says there are about 800,000 Arab-Canadian votes versus around 300,000 Jewish votes.

Norman Spector, once ambassador to Israel and an aide to former prime minister Brian Mulroney, believes Harper's position on a lightning-rod issue is dictated by conviction, not political expediency.

"I don't think he did it from the point of view of electoral politics. This is an issue he's thought about and it's what he believes."

Harper's stand will play well with his core constituency of small-c conservatives, Albertans and evangelicals, Spector said.

"The 35 per cent of the vote that he has now will think what he's done is great."

But it will likely hurt Tory efforts to make inroads in urban ethnic areas -- especially in Montreal with its huge Lebanese community, he added.

CP

I think that's all true. First, PM PM started this anyway because it was inevitable. Second, Harper is doing this because he thinks it's the right thing. Third, in crass electoral terms, the Arab vote is bigger than the Jewish vote (but Harper won't get much of either anyway). Fourth, the people who vote (or who will potentially vote) Tory generally favour Harper's position.

For once, I agree with Spector.

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You know my thoughts on the issue, I agree with Harper supporting Israel defending itself, I disagree that it's response is measured or responsible.

Never the less, Canadians, the average voting Joe... what does he think? Do we have a nation of Israel supporters, or those concerned about Palestinians and what else not?

The media makes it seem like the average Canadian will likely support more of Grahams stance on the issue, whether Graham is right or wrong is another topic. This could be harmful for Harper, the Lebanese vote is defintely potentially conservative, and it's a considerable voice in places like Toronto and Montreal.

That being said, if we want to assume he's taking the moral highground and not vote shopping, then ya, he's sticking to his principles and there is something to be said about that.

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Graham,a former foreign affairs minister, told a Vancouver news conference that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has moved Canada away from its traditional non-aligned stance...

"Canada has always had a proud tradition in the Middle East of being able to work with all parties in a way to establish the conditions of a long and lasting peace," Graham said.

"If we act in a way that interferes with our credibility in that respect, we will not be able to be an effective ally of Israel or of Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East where we call have an extraordinary stake."

This is nonsense. Canada was irrelevant in the Middle East. We were an "honest broker" in the same sense Chile or Iceland were honest brokers. This criticsm might appeal to those naive Canadians who still want to believe the Liberal created-image of Canada. But I think the Liberal leadership race shows that even Liberals know such a Canada only exists in an imaginary state.

But those are the people Graham, Teague and Layton are playing to, the earnest, almost completely knowledge-free type who likes feel-good words and policies and is blissfully unaware of how silly they are.

Canada's role of honest broker? And what have we ever brokered? Whenever fights like this come up and they need an intermediary to help discussions along they go to the US, or UK, or some other large party which has involved itself in things. No one, to my knowledge, has EVER come to Canada to act as an honest broker, and I'm unaware of ANY diplomatic successes for Canada in ANY field of international conflict.

All the snivelling and complaints from Graham and Teague show is that Liberals will seize any pretext or opportunity to try and make themselves look good and other people look bad. If Graham could he'd be at the dock when the bodies are flown home - presuming they're not buried in Lebanon, with a tear in his eye and a liberal pin in his lapel, handing out Liberal Party literature while promising that when the Liberals are in power again there will be no wars because Canada, in its role of "honest broker" will negotiate them all out of existence.

Second, there has been criticsm of our slowness in evacuating Canadian citizens. This is a logistics problem and I don't see how Mackay or Harper can be blamed for this. (Personally, I think that if the federal government has spare money for evacuation plans halfway round the world, then maybe the federal government has too much spare money.) In political terms though, no politician can admit that. Comparing our response to Italy's is silly. Italy is a three hour flight from Lebanon.

There is no pleasing some people. The Americans, with all their resources, have just started. We have a piddling navy and are thousands of miles away. I'm surprised they managed to rent the ships this fast and get them in place. It must have been a heck of an effort. You don't just pick up a half dozen ships on no notice, especially if you want to make sure they're seaworthy.

The British got one destroyer in there yesterday, and another today. Do they get any credit for it?

The first Britons to be evacuated from Lebanon by sea were meant to be grateful for the efforts of the Government then nobody told 30-year-old Maya Kaaki.Firing a verbal broadside, she stomped up the gangplank of the destroyer Gloucester in Beirut's port before the warship took 180 Britons, including her family, to safety in Cyprus.

"It's been disgusting, the way we have been treated," she said, her voice firm but not quite loud enough to wake her 13-month-old son, Ouni, asleep on her shoulder.

"As a British taxpayer I feel totally let down."

Third, there has been criticsm of Harper's "callous disregard" for the plight of the Lebanese and in particular those Canadians of Lebanese origin killed.

The Left in Canada doesn't like Jews. It's a reflection of their distaste for Israel, which they see as militaristic (which they hate), and of their generally shalow nature

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No one, to my knowledge, has EVER come to Canada to act as an honest broker, and I'm unaware of ANY diplomatic successes for Canada in ANY field of international conflict.
In 1956 Pearson, as Canada's MFA, put together the first UN peacekeeping force to separate Egyptians from the French & British armies. The Liberals have been using this as an excuse ever since. Trudeau maintained relations with Soviet dictators under the guise that he could talk to them.

Frankly, this has been an easy excuse for inaction. We don't have to spend money on the military, we don't have to take a position because we have to maintain our status of "honest broker". It's a rationalization to justify not getting involved. The violent husband is attacking the wife next door but we don't get involved because "that's not our business".

Harper has confronted this lazy rationale head on. In Gulf War I, when Mulroney committed troops, Chretien as opposition leader stood up in the House and said that Canada should not get involved.

I fear that it has been lost on many Canadians that while this is going on in Lebanon, Harper has been visiting the memorial in Vimy, France. Pearson himself served as a soldier in the First World War in France.

There is no pleasing some people. The Americans, with all their resources, have just started. We have a piddling navy and are thousands of miles away. I'm surprised they managed to rent the ships this fast and get them in place. It must have been a heck of an effort. You don't just pick up a half dozen ships on no notice, especially if you want to make sure they're seaworthy.
I hate to think what it costs now to charter a cruise ship in Cyprus to go to Lebanon. Keep in mind too that it's some bureaucrat who is negotiating with our money (not his own) and the pressure from the Minister's office to do something is tremendous. The Greek ship owner knows all this of course.

It's interesting that while Canada will pay the costs of travel, other countries will not. Also, Canada will not repatriate Canadian permanent residents - only Canadian citizens.

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Incidentally, this is what the family in Montreal said of those killed in Aitaroun:

«Jusqu'à maintenant, le Hezbollah continue à défendre la terre, la roche, l'humain», explique pour sa part Hussein El-Akhras, l'oncle d'Ali et de Mayssoun, rencontré dans sa maison d'Outremont, où s'est retrouvée une partie de la famille après la conférence de presse. «Tout le monde là-bas vivait dans la sécurité grâce au Hezbollah.»

Lundi après-midi, la famille n'avait toujours pas reçu de condoléances du premier ministre. «On n'a rien reçu. Pas un appel», laisse-t-il tomber. Résidant depuis 30 ans au Québec, Hussein évoque la fierté qu'il a longtemps éprouvée de voyager avec le passeport canadien. C'est fini: «La politique canadienne est la copie conforme de celle du gouvernement Bush», se désole-t-il.

La Presse

So, the family supports Hizballah, is angry that Harper's office didn't contact them and then states that Harper's policy is just a copy of Bush's.

Duceppe has taken a similar tone - he is criticizing Harper for being Bush's spokesman. Interrupting his vacation in the south of France:

Le chef bloquiste Gilles Duceppe a interrompu ses vacances dans le sud de la France afin d'offrir ses condoléances à la famille Al-Akhrass de Montréal, dont onze membres ont été tués lors des bombardements israéliens au Sud-Liban.

...

Puis il a demandé au premier ministre Stephen Harper de cesser de se faire le porte-voix des Etats-Unis et de plutôt demander à Israël un cessez-le-feu afin de permettre l'évacuation des ressortissants.

La Presse

The BQ/PQ have always made efforts to get the allophone vote (usually with little or no success) and so that's what Duceppe is doing now.

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Bob Rae, a great Premier

Well, jbg, it does show one thing - you are what you say you are, an American. :)

I am. But I made my facetious response based on what I've been told by various freedominion posters, among others.

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God help Canadians with this moron at the head of out country making us look like assholes all over the world with his stupid comment that Israel is justified when most of the world disagrees, but then Harper has his head so far up Bush's ass he cant see whats going on anyhow .....

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God help Canadians with this moron at the head of out country making us look like assholes all over the world with his stupid comment that Israel is justified when most of the world disagrees, but then Harper has his head so far up Bush's ass he cant see whats going on anyhow .....

Yes, I would agree that most of the tinpot dictators of the world disagree with Harper, Bush, Blair and Howard. These are the successors to the same African and Asian leaders who, after the 1973 war, broke relations with Israel, expelled their agricultural experts in return for....Arab petrodollar baksheesh into the dictators' Swiss bank accounts. I give a rats' arse what other world leaders agree or disagree with.

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God help Canadians with this moron at the head of out country making us look like assholes all over the world with his stupid comment that Israel is justified when most of the world disagrees, but then Harper has his head so far up Bush's ass he cant see whats going on anyhow .....
Kindred, I thought you were an English-Canadian? Civilised, polite English-Canadians, they always add an "eh" at the end of a sentence to show their desire for a collective agreement. I didn't see an "eh" at the end of your post.

Lester Pearson wore a uniform and went to France to fight against Germans in the First World War. But Stephen Harper is no longer English-Canadian. He's a Bush-American.

Israeli warplanes are pounding Hezbollah installations in southern Lebanon, Iran and Syria are threatening all-out war on Israel, the bodies are piling up, refugees are in flight, and naturally the question on everyone’s lips is: What does it mean to Canada? Specifically, has Stephen Harper shown the requisite “nuance” in his appreciation of the “ambiguities” of the Middle East, or has he abandoned “Canada’s traditional honest broker role” in the region?
Andrew Coyne
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I didnt think anyone could be dumber than Clark or more "American" than Mulroney but damn Harper is going to outdo both of them ......

To give Clark his due he did say Harper would be a very dangerous leader for Canada to have and warned Canadians that he would be kowtowing to Bush and Canada's role in the world would be changed forever.

:( and look at us now ..........

I used to be a proud Canadian 'eh, but Harper has made one International gaffe after another, this isnt the first time he has made a fool of himself. He is appallingly ignorant of World Affairs, has never travelled outside of Canada before this .... and appears to have a bad habit of showing his ignorance to the world.

His comments have damaged Canada's role as Peace Keepers and as a Neutral country. He is just another Bush stooge ....... like Mulroney ......... But then he does have the endorsement of both Bush and Mulroney and that should scare the crap out of most Canadians.

Harpers comments put him at odds with most the G8 summit members and even Blair, the third stooge has had the sense to take a middle road on this and not back Israel .........

Harper is ignorant of the history of the Middle East and stated to media that Lebanon has no interest in peace. Could he make a bigger ass of himself? THEN he says Canada is willing to work with BOTH Israel and Lebanon to establish an Israel State in the Middle East ........ yah that should work after this insult to Lebanon

Two Canadian children have been killed in this insanity and even though they were killed in Israel the families are blaming Israel, their own country, for the deaths.

And Harper feels Israel's barrage is a reasonable response to the kidnapping of their three soldiers? Harper is an idiot.

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God help Canadians with this moron at the head of out country making us look like assholes all over the world with his stupid comment that Israel is justified when most of the world disagrees, but then Harper has his head so far up Bush's ass he cant see whats going on anyhow .....

Reported to moderator.

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A good article by Lou Dobbs from CNN about America's foreign policy in the middle east. I think he makes some excellent points.

Here's the link Dobbs: Not so smart when it comes to the Middle East

Here's the text:

Dobbs: Not so smart when it comes to the Middle East

NEW YORK (CNN) -- We Americans like to think we're a pretty smart people, even when evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. And nowhere is that evidence more overwhelming than in the Middle East. History in the Middle East is everything, and we Americans seem to learn nothing from it.

President Harry Truman took about 20 minutes to recognize the state of Israel when it declared independence in 1948. Since then, more than 58 years of war, terrorism and blood-letting have led to the events of the past week.

Even now, as Katyusha rockets rain down on northern Israel and Israeli fighter jets blast Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, we simultaneously decry radical Islamist terrorism and Israel's lack of restraint in defending itself.

And the U.S. government, which wants no part of a cease-fire until Israel is given every opportunity to rescue its kidnapped soldiers and destroy as many Hezbollah and Hezbollah armaments as possible, urges caution in the interest of preserving a nascent and fragile democratic government in Lebanon. Could we be more conflicted?

While the United States provides about $2.5 billion in military and economic aid to Israel each year, U.S. aid to Lebanon amounts to no more than $40 million. This despite the fact that the per capita GDP of Israel is among the highest in the world at $24,600, nearly four times as high as Lebanon's GDP per capita of $6,200.

Lebanon's lack of wealth is matched by the Palestinians -- three out of every four Palestinians live below the poverty line. Yet the vast majority of our giving in the region flows to Israel. This kind of geopolitical inconsistency and shortsightedness has contributed to the Arab-Israeli conflict that the Western world seems content to allow to perpetuate endlessly.

After a week of escalating violence, around two dozen Israelis and roughly 200 Lebanese have died. That has been sufficient bloodshed for United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to join in the call for an international security force, ignoring the fact that a U.N. force is already in Southern Lebanon, having failed to secure the border against Hezbollah's incursions and attacks and the murder and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

As our airwaves fill with images and sounds of exploding Hezbollah rockets and Israeli bombs, this seven-day conflict has completely displaced from our view another war in which 10 Americans and more than 300 Iraqis have died during the same week. And it is a conflict now of more than three years duration that has claimed almost 15,000 lives so far this year alone.

An estimated 50,000 Iraqis and more than 2,500 American troops have been killed since the insurgency began in March of 2003, which by some estimates is more than the number of dead on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past 58 years of wars and intifadas.

Yet we have seen no rescue ships moving up the Euphrates for Iraqis who are dying in their streets, markets and mosques each day. French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has not leaped to Baghdad as he did Beirut. And there are no meetings of the Arab League, and no U.S. diplomacy with Egypt, Syria and Jordan directed at ending the Iraqi conflict.

In the Middle East, where is our sense of proportion? Where is our sense of perspective? Where is our sense of decency? And, finally, just how smart are we?

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A good article by Lou Dobbs from CNN about America's foreign policy in the middle east. I think he makes some excellent points.

Here's the link Dobbs: Not so smart when it comes to the Middle East

Here's the text:

Quoting Lou Dobbs

Dobbs: Not so smart when it comes to the Middle East

NEW YORK (CNN) -- We Americans like to think we're a pretty smart people, even when evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. And nowhere is that evidence more overwhelming than in the Middle East. History in the Middle East is everything, and we Americans seem to learn nothing from it.

President Harry Truman took about 20 minutes to recognize the state of Israel when it declared independence in 1948. Since then, more than 58 years of war, terrorism and blood-letting have led to the events of the past week.

Even now, as Katyusha rockets rain down on northern Israel and Israeli fighter jets blast Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, we simultaneously decry radical Islamist terrorism and Israel's lack of restraint in defending itself.

And the U.S. government, which wants no part of a cease-fire until Israel is given every opportunity to rescue its kidnapped soldiers and destroy as many Hezbollah and Hezbollah armaments as possible, urges caution in the interest of preserving a nascent and fragile democratic government in Lebanon. Could we be more conflicted?

While the United States provides about $2.5 billion in military and economic aid to Israel each year, U.S. aid to Lebanon amounts to no more than $40 million. This despite the fact that the per capita GDP of Israel is among the highest in the world at $24,600, nearly four times as high as Lebanon's GDP per capita of $6,200.

Lebanon's lack of wealth is matched by the Palestinians -- three out of every four Palestinians live below the poverty line. Yet the vast majority of our giving in the region flows to Israel. This kind of geopolitical inconsistency and shortsightedness has contributed to the Arab-Israeli conflict that the Western world seems content to allow to perpetuate endlessly.

I will admit that Israel is to a very large extent a forward base of Western interests in the Middle East. Put bluntly, no other country has the requisite degree of political and military stability to ensure that we could be present if needed to protect access to oil. Since the civilized world depends upon oil (and despite some enviros' wet dreams that dependency cannot readily be lifted) we must maintain a regional geographic presence in the Middle East. The fact that Blair and other European leaders have too many Arab or South Asian (read, Muslim) voters to openly advocate this position is irrelevant. The West could not sustain its standard of living long without Israel, or some other forward base. It is far cheaper to maintain Israel than to try to control areas populated by hostile, dangerous populations.

Quoting Lou Dobbs

In the Middle East, where is our sense of proportion? Where is our sense of perspective? Where is our sense of decency? And, finally, just how smart are we?

Why are you reflexively against the West. Don't you realize you wouldn't be posting freely under a world dominated by communism or fascism of any stripe, including Islamofascism.

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I will admit that Israel is to a very large extent a forward base of Western interests in the Middle East. Put bluntly, no other country has the requisite degree of political and military stability to ensure that we could be present if needed to protect access to oil. Since the civilized world depends upon oil (and despite some enviros' wet dreams that dependency cannot readily be lifted) we must maintain a regional geographic presence in the Middle East. The fact that Blair and other European leaders have too many Arab or South Asian (read, Muslim) voters to openly advocate this position is irrelevant. The West could not sustain its standard of living long without Israel, or some other forward base. It is far cheaper to maintain Israel than to try to control areas populated by hostile, dangerous populations.

Uh...which is it guys? is Israel a giant base for the west to protect its oil assets (which somehow found its way-by some divine mistake, no doubt-under Arab sands), or is it a fortress besiged, its very existence in question every day? That little contradiction in talking points aside, the fact is Israel has hardly been a stabilizing influence on the region. Also, most oil producing countries in the region are friendly towards western interests upon whom their extravagant livliehoods depend. Oil security has more to do with propping up folks like the House of Saud and the Kuwati emirs than support for Israel (which again is a wedge in that part of the world).

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Why are you reflexively against the West. Don't you realize you wouldn't be posting freely under a world dominated by communism or fascism of any stripe, including Islamofascism.

How does my criticizing asinine (IMO and Lou Dobb’s as well) foreign policy make me "against the West" and in favour of communism or fascism? That's a pretty radical leap... In fact, it was a ridiculous statement but "I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."

:) If I criticized a trade made by the Edmonton Oilers, would that mean I hate hockey and must be a supporter of dog shows and jai-alai?

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Why are you reflexively against the West. Don't you realize you wouldn't be posting freely under a world dominated by communism or fascism of any stripe, including Islamofascism.

How does my criticizing asinine (IMO and Lou Dobb’s as well) foreign policy make me "against the West" and in favour of communism or fascism? That's a pretty radical leap... In fact, it was a ridiculous statement but "I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."

Self-defense, assinine? I'll have to remember that.

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I have become a complete Harper fan. I think the man has moral integrity and is refreshing.

I am sick and tired of people who think this is a one sided conflict and that it is acceptable for Hezbollah to attack and kill Israelis but somehow Israel is a villain if Israel defends itself.

Yes innocent civilians are dying in Lebanon but that is specifically because Hezbollah chose to set up shop hiding behind civilians and because the world has sat silently by while Hezbollah, Hamas and countless other terrorist cells set up shop in hospitals, crowded refugee camps, and population centres.

Where is the world's disgust with Hezbollah, Hamas and these cowards who hide behidn civilians.

The tragedy is the only hope for a free Lebanon and the safety of Israel is to track down and exterminate these terrorists.

Harper has not minced words and why should he? Where does it say Canadians must act like neuters?

You can't have it both ways. There is no credibility to a foreign policy that avoids condemning terrorists.

This is not a matter of being a little bit pregnant. There is no such thing as fighting back but with restraint. That is pure and absolute b.s. and a concept that people hold to when they live in safe environments and can't understand what it is like to be threatened by death at a moment's notice.

I applaud Harper's courage. He has practiced what he preached with Quebec and now his foreign policy.

He is an admirable man. This is a man who knows full well he may lose votes over this.

I also think if someone bothers to read his comments they will see at NO TIME has he been disrespectful to the Lebanese victims. This man knows the Lebanese people like the Israelis will have many deaths. It is a tragic shame and Harper knows it.

You want to talk pathetic, take a look at Jack Layton suggesting Canada should send peace-keeping troops to Lebanon.

Tell me would any Canadians ask for Israeli soldiers to be sent to Canada as peacekeepers and place them in Mississauga to protect against future terrorism?

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Why are you reflexively against the West. Don't you realize you wouldn't be posting freely under a world dominated by communism or fascism of any stripe, including Islamofascism.

How does my criticizing asinine (IMO and Lou Dobb’s as well) foreign policy make me "against the West" and in favour of communism or fascism? That's a pretty radical leap... In fact, it was a ridiculous statement but "I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."

Self-defense, assinine? I'll have to remember that.

I take it you didn't read the CNN article that I posted... I was referring to American foreign policy in the middle east. Here it is again http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/07/18/dobbs.july19/index.html

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A good article by Lou Dobbs from CNN about America's foreign policy in the middle east. I think he makes some excellent points.

This may sound churlish, and I don't want to appear impolite but what is an article by Lou Dobbs (copied in its entirety) doing in a thread about Harper and the Middle East in the Federal Politics category? If the article's not enough, jbg then goes and copies the whole article again to respond.

The article isn't coherent or very well written either. It's just loud.

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