- Linda McQuaig is a prominent, award-winning Canadian
journalist, sadly less well-known in the US because she writes about her
own country. She was a national reporter for the Toronto Globe and Mail
before joining the Toronto Star where she now covers Canadian politics
with her trademark combination of solid research, keen analysis, irreverence
and passion. She's easy to read, never boring, and fearless. The National
Post called her "Canada's Michael Moore."
- McQuaig is also a prolific author with a well-deserved
reputation for taking on the establishment. In her previous seven books,
she challenged Canada's deficit reduction scheme to gut essential social
services. She explained how the rich used the country's tax system for
greater riches the way it happened in the US since Ronald Reagan, then
exploded under George Bush. She exposed the fraud of "free trade"
empowering giant corporations over sovereign states while exploiting working
- She also showed how successive Canadian governments waged
war on equality since the 1980s, and in her last book before her newest
one she took aim at why the US invaded and occupied Iraq. It's catchy
title is "It's the Crude, Dude: war, big oil, and the fight for the
planet." It's no secret America's wars in the Middle East and Central
Asia are to control what Franklin Roosevelt's State Department in 1945
called a "stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest
material prizes in world history - the huge amount of Middle East oil alone
and veto power over how it's disbursed and to whom.
- "Holding the Bully's Coat - Canada and the US Empire"
is her eighth book. She writes about a country slightly larger than the
US in geographic size with around one-tenth the population and one-twelfth
the GDP. It also shares the world's longest relatively open, undefended
border extending 3145 miles. In her book, McQuaig explains how corporate-Canada,
its elitist "comprador class," the Department of National Defense
(DND), and mainstream commentators want Canada to be Washington's subservient
junior partner. The result is Ottawa abandoned its traditional role in
peacekeeping, supporting internationalism, as a fair-minded mediator and
conciliator, and it's continuing downhill from there.
- Today Canada's allied with the Bush administration's
belligerent lawlessness in its phony "war on terrorism." It's
not part of the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq but joined
Washington's war of aggression and illegal occupation in Afghanistan.
In February, 2004, it partnered with the US and France ousting democratically
elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, then became part of the repressive
Blue Helmet MINUSTAH paramilitary force onslaught against his Lavalas movement
and Haitian people under cover of "peacekeeping." More on that
- In "Holding the Bully's Coat," McQuaig further
explains how Canada lost its moorings. As an appendage of the US empire,
it abandoned its traditional commitment to equality, inclusiveness, and
rule of law. She wants her country to disgorge this virus plaguing it
- its uncharacteristic culture of militarism, loss of sovereignty and one-sided
support of privilege, returning to its roots to reclaim its once proud
status now lost. Its leaders might recall former Mexican dictator Porfirio
Diaz's lament saying: "Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the
US." Closeness plagues Canada, too. It can't choose neighborhoods
but can still go its own sovereign way.
- This review covers McQuaig's important book in detail
so readers can learn what afflicts America affects Canada as well. It's
a cancerous disease, and all people everywhere suffer for it.
- McQuaig starts off noting the "significant shift
in how Canada (now) operates in the world (having) moved from being a nation
that has championed internationalism, the United Nations and UN peacekeeping
to being a key prop" in George Bush's "war on terrorism."
It belies Canada's now sullied reputation "as a fair arbiter and
promoter of just causes (and as a) decent sort of country." She laments
how the conservative Harper government aids the beleaguered White House,
joined its war of aggression in Afghanistan, and continues distancing itself
from its European allies "with whom we have a great deal in common."
- Canada and the continent have "compelling similarities"
shown in stronger social programs, "aspirations for greater social
equality," and wanting "a world of peaceful co-existence among
nations." In contrast, America continues growing more unequal, focusing
instead on achieving unchallengeable economic, political and military supremacy
in line with its imperial aims for world dominance. Nations daring to
step out of line, risk getting flattened the way it's now happening to
Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Canada's tilt to the right began in earnest in the 1980s
under conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney and his relationship with
Ronald Reagan. Corporate American elites fondly remember his December,
1984 appearance at the New York Economic Club where one writer said business
heavyweights were "hanging from the rafters" to hear what he'd
say. They weren't disappointed, and it's been mostly downhill since. Back
then, the order of the day was mainly business, but it no longer would
be as formerly usual with Mulroney delighting his listeners announcing
"Canada is open for business." He meant US corporations were
welcome up north, the two countries would work for greater economic integration,
and America's sovereignty henceforth took precedence over its northern
- Before Stephen Harper took office in February, 2006,
McQuaig notes Canada's foreign policies began tilting to the right under
Liberal prime minister Paul Martin. He replaced Jean Chretien in December,
2003, stepping down after 10 years in office just ahead of the federal
"sponsorship scandal" over improper use of tax dollars that doomed
the Martin government after an explosive report about it was released in
February, 2004. While still in office, Martin's April, 2005 defence policy
review stressed the integration of Canada's military with the US. He also
approved redeploying Canadian Afghan troops away from "peacekeeping"
in Kabul to fighting Taliban forces in southeastern Helmand province.
Based on Taliban gains, since its resurgence to control half the country,
he and Harper may live to regret that decision.
- McQuaig notes the absence of any evidence Canadians approve.
In fact, polls consistently show they're "increasingly wary of our
involvement in Afghanistan (and too close an alignment) with the United
States." Their feeling may be heightened under Harper's "flag-pumping
jingoism" aided by the country's dominant media championing the war
effort much like their counterparts in the US. Public approval doesn't
count in Canada any more than in the America. What George Bush wants he's
mostly gotten so far, and Stephen Harper is quite willing to go along.
- Anti-Canadians at Home and Abroad
- Since taking office in February, 2006, Harper's been
in lockstep with Washington, even abandoning Canada's traditional even-handedness
on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One of his first shameless acts was
to cut off aid to the new democratically elected Hamas government. Showing
his pro-Israeli bona fides, he failed to show concern for 50,000 Canadians
in harm's way in Lebanon after Israel launched its summer war of aggression
last year. Instead of calling for a ceasefire, Harper defended Israel
calling their action "measured." In fact, it flattened half the
country causing vast destruction, many hundreds of deaths, massive population
displacement, and untold human misery and desperation still afflicting
those in the conflict areas.
- McQuaig notes Canadian internationalism evolved post-WW
II. It showed in support for the UN, peacekeeping as opposed to militarism,
the rule of law, distaste for imperialism, and by following a good neighbor
policy toward all other countries. It was completely contrary to American
belligerence, hardened under George Bush post-9/11, and now largely embraced
by Stephen Harper just like Britain did it under Tony Blair. The UK leader
is leaving office June 27 at the end of his prime ministership with an
approval rating lower than George Bush's (at 26% in latest Newsweek poll
nearly matching Richard Nixon's record low of 23%), maybe signaling what's
ahead for Mr. Harper.
- His government, Canada's elite, and its military support
policies distinct from the public's. They want tax cuts for the rich,
cuts in social spending, more privatizations and less regulation, increased
military spending and closer ties to the US and its belligerent imperial
agenda. That includes its policy of torture Canada's now complicit with
as a partner in Bush's "war on terrorism" and how it's being
waged. In contrast, the public "favours a more egalitarian agenda
of public investment, universal social programs," and maintaining
Canada's identity distinct from its southern neighbor. Most Canadians
don't wish to emulate it, nor would they tolerate living under a system
denying them the kinds of essential social benefits they now have even
though they're eroding.
- Their feelings are especially strong regarding their
cherished national health medicare system. It's "founded on the principle
that everyone should have access to health care (and) be treated equally,"
unlike in the US where everyone can get the best health care possible as
long as they can pay for it. If not, too bad, and for 47 million Americans
without health insurance it's really bad along with around another 40 million
who are without it some portion of every year. For Canadians, that's unthinkable
and wouldn't be tolerated.
- It should be as unthinkable that the Harper government's
so-called Clean Air Act of October, 2006 meant Ottawa's effective abandonment
of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The Chretien government accepted
and ratified it even though little was done under Liberal rule, making
it easier to do less under Conservative leadership. That's in spite of
near-universal agreement global warming is real and threatening the planet
with an Armageddon future too grim to ignore. Canada's doing it under
Harper just like Washington ignores it under George Bush.
- A large part of the problem is both parties' support
for industry efforts to triple oil sands production by 2015 to three million
barrels daily. At that level, it's impossible meeting Kyoto targets,
but Washington approves as most production is earmarked for US markets.
It will feed America's insatiable energy appetite meaning planet earth's
fate is someone else's problem, and maybe it will go away if we stop talking
about it. And maybe not after we learn it's too late to matter. Canada's
record is already disgraceful with one of the world's highest levels of
greenhouse gas emissions per person. Unless it acts to change current
policy, it risks being called an international scofflaw, no different than
its southern neighbor, except in degree.
- The Harper government is also massively ramping up Canada's
military spending he plans to increase over 50% above 2005 levels to $21.5
billion annually by 2010. That's in spite of the nation facing no threats
and a public consensus favoring social spending. It's also contrary to
Canada's traditionally eschewing militarism unlike the US with its long
history of it since the nation's founding. It intensified post-WW II after
it emerged preeminent and chose to pursue an imperial agenda for new markets,
resources and exploitable cheap labor now endangering all planetary life
by its recklessness. That's what Canada chose to partner with making it
complicit with whatever happens henceforth.
- Unsurprisingly, the Bush-Harper "war on terrorism"
partnership now focuses on the Middle East where two-thirds of the world's
proved oil reserves are located (around 675 billion barrels) and the Central
Asian Caspian basin with an estimated 270 billion barrels more plus one-eighth
of the world's natural gas reserves. It doesn't matter that claimed "terrorism"
is phony and "war" on it against "Islamofascists" threatening
our freedoms unjustified. It only matters that people of both countries
believe enough of the daily media-fed fiction so their governments can
pursue what enough popular outrage never would allow. Anger and disillusionment
in both countries are growing but haven't reached critical mass.
- It's the job of the dominant media to prevent it getting
there. So the beat goes on daily keeping it in check in both countries
suppressing ugly truths and preaching notions of American exceptionalism.
We're told it's unique in the world giving the US special moral authority
to make its own rules, irrespective of long-standing international laws
and norms it openly flouts as "quaint and obsolete." Because
of its privileged status, it reigns as a self-styled "beacon of freedom"
defending "democracy-US style," empowered to wage imperial wars
using humanitarian intervention as cover for them. In the made-in-Washinton
New World Order, America answers only to itself, the law is what the administration
says it is, and, the message to all countries is "Either you are with
us, or you are with the terrorists." Thus, Spaketh a modern-day Zarathustra,
aka George Bush.
- McQuaig continues explaining how Canadians are used to
their own media, academic and corporate elites pandering to Washington
rather than taking pride mostly in their own country. She notes the National
Post and C.D. Howe Institute serve as "spiritual home(s) for neoconservatism"
favoring the same kinds of policies as the US-based bastions of conservative
extremism like the Heritage Foundation, Hoover Institution and Wall Street
Journal editorial page that's hard right enough to make a Nazi blush.
She mentioned C.D. Howe's sponsored lecture in late 2004 by former Canadian
ambassador to the US, Allan Gotlieb.
- He stressed Canada is a faded world power needing to
accept the "transcendant (reality of) US power" and align with
it. He said Canadians have a choice between "realism" and "romanticism."
The former means accepting US preeminence, even when it violates international
law. Further, Canadians must "liberate themselves from the belief
that the UN is the sacred foundation of our foreign policy." According
to Gotlieb, international law, embodied in the UN Charter, is obsolete
and irrelevant including what constitutes legitimate armed intervention.
- The "romantic" approach respecting international
law and treaties, that are law for signatories, are "narcissistic"
and "sanctimonious." Following this course will marginalize Canada
reducing its influence. It can only be enhanced by aligning with Washington
so as its power grows, so will Canada's opportunity to benefit from it.
Advancing this kind of tortured logic guarantees Canada only trouble in
light of George Bush's failed adventurism and US status as a world-class
pariah mass public opinion condemns nearly everywhere. McQuaig says "it's
hard (imagining) we'd be viewed with anything but contempt (for having
chosen to "hold the bully's coat" as its) unctuous little sidekick."
Not according to Gotlieb who scoffs at the idea of "remain(ing) committed
to the values we hold....advance them to the world" regardless of
what direction the US takes.
- McQuaig compares her country's government, business and
military elite to the 19th century notion of a "comprador class"
serving foreign business class interests. Modern-day Canadian compradors
serve as intermediary junior partners for corporate American giants especially
as so much of Canada's economy is foreign owned or controlled - 28% of
non-financial sectors with 20% by US companies in 2004. It's much higher
in the key oil and gas sector at 45% overall and 33% in US hands. Further,
of the 150 most powerful CEOs on the Canadian Council of Chief Executives
(CCCE), about one-fourth of them are with subsidiaries of foreign-owned
companies and 18% of them are American.
- McQuaig stresses these numbers are significant but not
overwhelming. What's astonishing and overwhelming is Canada's growing
dependence on the US market now accounting for 87% of all exports. It
explains why Canadian business championed its Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
"leap of faith" in 1988, NAFTA in 1994, and the new Security
and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) founded in March, 2005
by the US, Canada and Mexico. SPP aims to advance a common security strategy
veiling a scheme to destroy Canadian and Mexican sovereignty under a broader
plan for a North American Union under US control.
- The plan is to create a borderless North America removing
barriers to trade and capital flows for corporate giants, mainly US ones.
It also wants to guarantee America free and unlimited access to Canadian
and Mexican resources, mainly oil, of course. That will assure US energy
security while denying Canada and Mexico preferential access to their own
resources henceforth earmarked for US markets. Finally, it wants to create
a fortress-North American security zone encompassing the whole continent
under US control. The scheme, in short, is NAFTA on steroids combined
with Pox Americana homeland security enforcement. It's the Bush administration's
notion of "deep integration" or the "Big Idea" meaning
we're boss, what we say goes, and no outliers will be tolerated.
- Stephen Harper and Canadian business leaders endorse
the plan. Canadian businesses will profit hugely leaving the country's
energy needs ahead for future leaders to worry about. Today, it's only
next quarter's earnings and political opportunism that matters. McQuaig
notes how Canada's elites want to push the envelope further by giving more
tax breaks to business and the rich while cutting social spending for greater
global competitive opportunities. It's heading for the way it is in the
US with a growing disparity between rich and poor economist Paul Krugman
- It led to a Citigroup Global Markets 2005 report describing
the developed world divided in two blocs - an "egalitarian" one
made up of Europe and Japan and "plutonomies" in the other one.
There the US, UK and Canada are cited as members where wealthy elites
get most of the benefits and the disparity between rich and poor keeps
getting more extreme. McQuaig mentions journalists like Murray Dobbin
saying resistance to the US empire is futile and promotes "pre-emptive
surrender(ing)" to it. McQuaig thinks Canadians in their roots have
other ideas being "neither anti-American nor self-adoring - just resistant
to bullies, on both sides of the border." But given the state of
the world and how Canada today is closely aligned with Washington, ordinary
Canadians have their work cut out for themselves standing up for their
- How they've been cheated shows in a study released in
March backing up Citigroup Global Markets 2005 findings. It was conducted
by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) titled "The
rich and the rest of us - The changing face of Canada's growing gap."
It documented how Canada, like the US, is growing progressively more unequal
with income and wealth gaps between the richest Canadians and all others
widening dramatically. It's happening because all segments of Canada's
political elite, even the New Democratic Party, have been complicit since
the 1980s in reducing social services, attacking worker rights, cutting
corporate taxes and supporting corporate interests, and redistributing
wealth from the public to the privileged so that real, inflation adjusted,
incomes for most Canadians have stagnated or fallen even while they work
longer hours for it.
- No More Girlie-Man Peacekeeping
- Canada sunk from "peacekeeper" to partners
in illegal aggression as McQuaig explains in this section. US General Thomas
Metz stated it his way sounding the alarm that Islam was "hijacked
by thugs" that could number in the millions posing the greatest of
all threats the West faces - radical Islamic terrorism. It doesn't matter
the threat is a hoax, and it's easy inventing this or any other one out
of whole cloth by just repeating it enough.
- Why now? The general explains that, too, noting America's
energy security for its huge appetite. It needs one-fourth of world oil
production for 5% of its population. And, by chance, two-thirds of proved
oil reserves are in the Muslim Middle East and three-fourths of it in all
Muslim states combined worldwide. How best to control it? McQuaig explains:
by "old-style imperialism - plundering the resources of another country"
using wars of aggression claimed for self-defense against "the scourge
of (Islamic) terrorism."
- McQuaig calls Canada's new Chief of Defence Staff, General
Rick Hillier, a "whole new kind of general - tough, brash, straight-talking....exuding
a (new) kind of bravado." He eschews Canada's traditional "girlie-man
peacekeeping" role opting instead for a "warrior ethic"
and partnering with Washington to do it. Stephen Harper feels the same
way, and so does defence minister Gordon O'Connor. They're on board together
for ramping up military spending and getting knee-deep in America's "war
on terrorism." All they needed was getting the Canadian public to
go along that over the years showed a 90% enthusiastic endorsement for
peacekeeping, not war-making.
- McQuaig notes "Canada (for decades) was a star international
(peacekeeping) performer, participating in virtually every UN mission (with)
substantial numbers of troops." In recent years, however, "Canada
has virtually disappeared from the UN peacekeeping scene" along with
the West's declining involvement overall, preferring aggressive intervention
instead through NATO or concocted "coalitions of the (coerced and/or
- Enter the dominant Western media functioning the way
they do best. Michael Parenti calls it "inventing reality" while
Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky call it "manufacturing consent."
It means manipulating public opinion to go along with state and corporate
policy, nearly always counter to the public interest. So we've had a warrior
agenda post-9/11 invented out of whole cloth against "Islamic terrorism"
threatening Western civilization unless stopped. It turns reality on its
head portraying innocent Arab victims as victimizers and Western aggressors
as targets acting only in self-defense.
- Using CIA asset Osama bin Ladin as "Enemy Number
One," illegal wars of aggression are portrayed as liberating ones.
McQuaig calls the "arrogance of this notion stupefying" including
Western indifference to the "collateral damage" of huge numbers
of innocent lives lost. Most go unreported, while the few getting attention
are dismissively called "unfortunate mistakes." Noted Canadian
law professor Michael Mandel disagrees saying every death constitutes a
grave international crime because the Iraq and Afghan wars are illegal
aggression under international law.
- No connection exists between 9/11 and those wars or that
Saddam Hussein or the Taliban posed a threat to US or western security.
Mandel also points out that prior to the October, 2001 and March, 2003
invasions, the Taliban and Saddam preferred negotiating with Washington
but were rebuffed. Mandel stresses nations have an obligation to respect
Article 33 in the UN Charter stating "the parties to any dispute shall,
first of all, seek a solution by....peaceful means (through) negotiation,
enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration (or) judicial settlement."
- America flouts international law choosing imperial wars
of aggression Canada chose to partner with. Mandel explains nations doing
this are guilty of "very serious crimes, in fact, supreme international
crimes." But unlike at Nuremberg, he notes the "great big hole
in the modern practice of international criminal law: its refusal to distinguish
between legal and illegal war-making, between aggression and self-defence."
It's "How America Gets Away With Murder" (the title of Mandel's
important 2004 book) with the developed world barely blinking an eye.
But then, who's brave enough to challenge the world's only superpower ready
to lash out against any nation that dares. It's lots easier partnering
in aggression, sharing in the spoils, or just staying silently complicit
in the face of overwhelming criminality.
- Canada chose the easier route, its dominant media's on
board selling it, and it's no small factor that 87% of the country's exports
go to US markets. That means Canada's economic well-being and security
depends on America's willingness to accept them. McQuaig argues if long-standing
trade and security ties obligate Canada to partner in Washington's wars,
it's a "compelling argument for loosening (them), for developing more
independent economic and military policies...." Otherwise, it amounts
to committing war crimes "to protect our trade balance."
- McQuaig wants Canada to renounce its warrior status and
return to its traditional role of internationalism and peacekeeping as
a member in good standing in the world community of nations. Her book
touches on peacekeeping without going into what this writer covered in
detail in a February, 2007 article called "UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism."
It documented how often Blue Helmet peacekeepers end up creating more
conflict than resolution or became counterproductive or ineffective. In
the first instance, they became paramilitary enforcers or occupiers for
an outside authority. In the second, they end up causing harm because
they fail to ameliorate conditions on the ground ending up more a hindrance
than a help. The record post-WW II makes the case.
- The UN's first ever peacekeeping operation in 1948 was
and still is its greatest failure and outlandish disgrace. It's the UNTSO
one undertaken during Israel's so-called "War of Independence."
The operation is still ongoing, peace was never achieved, the UN is still
there playing no active role, and Israel gets away with mass murder with
world approval by its complicity and silence.
- Over five dozen peacekeeping operations have been undertaken
since the first one with far too little or nothing to show for at least
most of them, including where peacekeeping was most needed. The article
couldn't cover them all so chose five other examples:
- -- UNAMIR IN Rwanda
- -- UNIMIK in Kosovo
- -- MONUC in the Democratic Republic of Congo
- -- UNMIS in Sudan, and
- -- MINUSTAH in Haiti the article focused mainly on.
- They all were and are dismal failures or worse.
- No country on earth suffered more than Haiti from its
unparalleled legacy of 500 years of colonial occupation, violence and exploitation.
It's still ongoing today horrifically with Canada having an active role
to its discredit and disgrace based on the facts on the ground. It was
complicit along with France and the US in the February, 2004 coup d'etat
ousting democratically elected President Jean-Betrand Aristide. His "crime"
was wishing to serve his people, not the imperial master in Washington
who engineered his forcible removal for the second time.
- The UN Security Council voted in April, 2004 to establish
MINUSTAH peacekeepers with Canada in an active role. From inception, its
mission was flawed as it had no right being there in the first place.
In principle, peacekeepers are deployed to keep peace and stability though
seldom ever achieve it, in fact. In the case of Haiti, Blue Helmets were
deployed for the first time in UN history enforcing a coup d'etat against
a democratically-elected leader instead of staying out of it or backing
his right to return to office. Today, Haitians are still afflicted by
its US neighbor and world indifference to its suffering. Canada shares
the guilt acting as a complicit agent in America's crimes of war and against
the humanity of the Haitian people.
- McQuaig stresses how Canadian elites want to move the
country away from its traditional peacekeeping role opting instead for
supporting American exceptionalism and its right to "impose a Pax
Americana on the world" that's, in fact, a "Pox." As Washington
flouts international laws and norms, "they want us to stand by, helpfully,
holding the bully's coat."
- All Opposed to Nuclear Disarmament, Please Stand Up
- McQuaig highlights the difficulty of achieving nuclear
disarmament by showing how hard it is eliminating land mines. They're
mostly used as terror weapons inflicting most of their damage after conflicts
end. So in spite of a Canada-led Ottawa Process agreement in 1997, it failed
because the Clinton administration refused to sign it. It acceded to Pentagon
obstructionism in spite of most of the world backing it including Nobel
Peace Prize winner Jody Williams and Princess Diana before her death. They
both spearheaded the effort without success.
- Canada was on the right side of this issue exercising
what its lead proponent, Lloyd Axworthy, called "soft power."
His efforts led to a December, 1997 signing ceremony accepted by two-thirds
of the world's nations, an extraordinary achievement by any measure. And
as Axworthy noted: "No one was threatened with bombing. No economic
sanctions were imposed. No diplomatic muscles were flexed....Yet a significant
change was achieved in the face of stiff opposition."
- Using "soft power," Canada initially played
a small role, Washington opposed, on nuclear disarmament. The Bush administration
was so determined to thwart any efforts in this direction it refused even
to allow any resolutions being placed on the agenda for discussion at the
May, 2005 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference in Geneva.
As a result, nothing was accomplished, and NPT was left in shambles with
nuclear disarmament derailed.
- Canada then led an effort circumventing the failed Geneva
talks by going to the UN General Assembly with voting rights but no enforcement
authority. Washington's opposition was intense enough, however, to get
Ottawa to back down just hours ahead of the October 12 deadline. The Martin
government acceded to Bush administration demands it do so, and "the
moment had been lost." But it likely didn't matter as America under
George Bush claims no need to ask permission from other nations to do whatever
it wishes in the name of "national security" that can mean anything.
- For many years, Canada was more even-handed than Washington
on matters concerning Israel and Palestine. While fully supportive initially
of a Jewish homeland and the rights of Israelis thereafter, Canadian leaders
also respected Arab peoples and their interests. McQuaig noted by 1987,
Canada had tilted heavily toward Israel, refused to support Arab UN resolutions
condemning its crimes, and was ranked by observers as "second only
to the US in support for Israel."
- Now, under Stephen Harper, Canada's Middle East stance
is as hard line as Washington's. It views everything in the region from
the perspective of "Islamic terrorism" while ignoring the plight
of Palestinians and the illegal occupation of their land. Harper also
joined western nations cutting off all aid to the democratically elected
Hamas government in 2006 and supported Israel's summer illegal aggression
against Lebanon last year. He also supports the US-Israeli coup against
the democratically elected Hamas government co-opting Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas to shamelessly participate in it. Ottawa and Washington
approve of his defying Palestinian Basic Law and international law. He
dissolved a duly constituted legitimate government, and replaced it with
his own headed by illegitimate new prime minister Salam Fayyad, the pro-Western
former IMF and World Bank official chosen by Washington and Jerusalem.
- The Most Dangerous Man in the English-Speaking World
- It's not George Bush, at least not in this section of
McQuaig's book. It's former Canadian statesman, diplomat and prime minister
(from 1963 - 1968) Lester Pearson, but not because he was a menace. After
being elected to Parliament, Liberal Prime Minister St. Laurent appointed
him minister of external affairs. In that capacity, he supported an internationalist
approach to foreign policy highlighted by his determination to reduce Cold
War tensions with Moscow and Peking. That stance so irritated American
cold warriors, it got Chicago Tribune owner Colonel Robert McCormick to
denounce him in 1953 as "the most dangerous man in the English-speaking
world." It was because Pearson refused to cooperate with Senator
Joe McCarthy's witch-hunt communist hearings. They produced nothing but
destroyed lives and ruined careers, all to serve his own corrupted political
- Pearson also thought NATO should be more than a military
alliance to be able to deal with economic and social issues as well as
defense. He wanted the alliance to encourage western ideas and free market
alternatives to communism. Pearson was bold in ways unimaginable today
in Ottawa or nearly anywhere in the West. He spoke out against Truman's
threat to use nuclear weapons in Korea and challenged Washington when he
thought its positions were dangerous and provocative.
- In 1955, he became the first western prime minister to
visit Moscow. He spoke out against colonialism and the rights of Third
World nations to their own sovereignty. Overall, he supported internationalism,
conciliation and peace including helping in 1956 create the UN Emergency
Force (UNEF) following the Suez crisis that year. It was formed after
Israel, Britain and France's war of aggression in October, 1956 against
Egypt following President Nasser's decision to nationalize the Suez Canal.
For his efforts, Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year.
In his Nobel lecture, he stressed nations faced a choice - "peace
or extinction." He continued saying nations cannot "be conditioned
by the force and will of a unit, however powerful, but by the consensus
of a group, which must one day include all states" and that predatory
ones can't be tolerated.
- McQuaig notes Pearson's "trickiest" relationship
was with the US, even at a time Washington's footprint was less obtrusive
and aggressive than now. He supported sitting administrations and their
aim to contain communism. He even stood with Lyndon Johnson's military
aggression in Vietnam "aiding South Vietnam....resist aggression."
For that, he shares Canada's complicity in Washington's illegal war effort
that had less to do with containing communism and more about America's
imperial ambitions ramping up in those Cold War years following the Korean
stalemate. For his actions, Pearson exhibited an "early example of
Canada holding the bully's coat" even though he later publicly challenged
the US role in Vietnam in a Temple University address.
- Pearson supported peace and peacekeeping. His Nobel lecture
cited "four faces of peace" - prosperity, power, diplomacy and
people. As prime minister, peacekeeping was one of his four top priorities
that later began to erode when pitted against the powerful Department of
National Defence (DND) bureaucracy. By the early 1980s (long after Pearson's
tenure), peacekeeping amounted to less than 0.5% of Canada's defense budget.
- Earlier in the late 1970s, DND's aim to regain a war-fighting
orientation got a boost from NATO that Canada participates in as one of
its founding members. At its 1978 summit, member nations agreed to increase
their military budgets 3% annually to offset a supposed Soviet threat.
The real aim was to accede to defense contractors wanting bigger profits.
- In the 1980s, Reagan administration militarism helped
Canada's defence lobby "emerge as a potent force in Canadian politics."
Most important in it is the Conference on Defence Associations (CDA) functioning
as an "umbrella group representing military and retired military personnel
as well as business, academic and professional types with military interests."
CDA has enormous influence at the highest levels of government and key
to it is the involvement of corporate Canada, including the nation's multi-billion
dollar arms industry. CDA and weapons makers are closely tied to the Pentagon
and America's defense industry. It's a natural fit as many large Canadian
companies are US-owned including half of Canada's top 10 military contractors.
- This assures Canadian government support for and involvement
in America's war agenda that keeps profits flowing. Conservative prime
minister Brian Mulroney's election in 1984 provided and "energizing
tonic for....Canada's defence lobby" as he supported a strong military,
wanted Canada to be "open for business," and "accepted Canada's
branch plant role in the US military-industrial complex...."
- McQuaig noted the danger then that's now even greater.
A stronger Canadian defense industry and military establishment favors
not just diverting "the country's resources towards the military but
ultimately" pressuring the country to use it for war-making. In the
1980s, the phony "Soviet menace" was portrayed as the threat
while today it's "Islamic terrorists" involving Canada in Washington's
imperial agenda of reckless foreign wars and occupation.
- The Threat of Peace
- The thought of it chills the marrow of the defense establishment
in both countries. It happened in November, 1989 when East German authorities
announced entering the West would be permitted, and the rest is history.
The "wall" came down paving the way for German reunification,
and peace broke out. Keeping it depended on a strong UN that wouldn't
take long to prove mission impossible, but for a short interregnum, anything
was possible. In 1992, UN Secretary-General Boutras Boutras-Ghali, at
the behest of the Security Council, prepared an Agenda for Peace. It was
an ambitious plan promoting diplomacy, peacekeeping, peace-making and peace-building.
- In the early years of the nuclear arms race, there were
various efforts to achieve disarmament and promote peace, some far-reaching
and anchored by strong UN enforcement mechanisms. Despite the best efforts
of peace visionaries with good intentions, it was all for naught. Distrust
and a prevailing culture of militarism, especially in the US, trumped reason
and sanity. But with the dissolution of the Soviet empire, there was never
a better time to achieve what always failed earlier, if only the moment
could be seized.
- It wasn't, as McQuaig explains because "the opportunity
(for peace) fell....to two men who....viewed the concept of 'disarmament'
through world law' with ferocious contempt." They represented Republican
extremist thinking resenting the notion of internationalism the UN represented.
That body was to be rendered impotent under US control, even more than
in the past, especially its agenda for social progress and peace-making.
- With George HW Bush president, Defense Secretary Dick
Cheney and his undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz were tasked to shape America's
post-Cold War strategy. Boutras-Ghali's Agenda for Peace was doomed with
two hard line US high officials committed to America's imperial supremacy
enforced by unchallengeable military power from the world's sole superpower.
In George HW Bush's final year in office, Paul Wolfowitz and convicted
Richard Cheney aide Lewis Libby drafted the scheme in their Defense Planning
Guidance some call the Wolfowitz doctrine. It was so extreme, it was to
be kept under wraps, but got leaked to the New York Times causing uproar
enough for the elder Bush to shelve it until his son revived it in 2001.
- In the early 1990s, public sentiment and high officials
in Canada's Senate and House of Commons supported Boutros-Ghali's agenda
embracing diplomacy, peacekeeping, peace-making and peace-building. The
country's DND felt otherwise fearing promoting peace meant marginalizing
the nation's military establishment. Wanting to remain a fighting force,
the military was threatened with good reason. Strengthened by international
support, Canadian NGOs established the Citizens' Inquiry into Peace and
Security. They travelled the country holding public hearings. They drew
large supportive crowds influential enough to get the Liberal Party to
highlight peacekeeping in its Foreign Policy Handbook in May, 1993. Liberals
were backed by some prominent academics, enlightened business leaders,
and even some media commentators in the Canada 21 Council they formed to
direct Canada's defence policy toward peace efforts.
- It was a threatening time for the military establishment
closing ranks to resist change harmful to its interests and vision of what
a fighting force is for. DND fought back with a Canadian Institute of
Strategic Studies (CSIS) watered-down counter-proposal, the Liberals bought
it, and the party's 1994 defence review ensured no meaningful change from
the status quo. The defence interests were served meaning public sentiment
for peace efforts lost out to militarism. They were reinforced by a Committee
of 13, composed of generals, hawkish academics and defense industry officials,
countering the Canada 21 Council ending up on the losing side.
- McQuaig speculates whether wars are an expression of
human nature and inevitable consequence of human aggressiveness. She used
an analogy to dueling, once considered a proper way to settle disputes.
No longer, and anyone in civilized society trying it will end up afoul
of the law. So why might not wars one day also be seen as an anachronism
no longer practiced? She cites political philosopher Anatol Rapoport and
political scientist John Mueller who think so, believing this practice
only exists because we give it legitimacy. They point to other once widely
accepted practices failing to survive over time - slavery (illegal everywhere
but still widely practiced sub rosa even in the West), absolute hereditary
monarchy, gladiatorial combat to the death, human sacrifice, burning heretics,
segregation and Jim Crow laws, and public flogging among many others. Over
time, customs changed and these practices ended, or mostly did.
- So why not wars, and Europe post-WW II shows it's possible.
The horror of two world wars on the continent combined with the emergence
of super-weapons underscored what Einstein said half a century ago on future
wars: "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought,
but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." European
leaders apparently feel likewise as the continent was relatively peaceful
for the past 62 years, with the Balkan wars a major exception, yet a localized
one. In lieu of more wars, the European Union was formed and continues
expanding. McQuaig strikes a hopeful note: Maybe "war among European
nations lost its legitimacy."
- For that to be true, however, requires these nations
renounce wars everywhere, not just in their backyard or on their soil.
With today's super-weapons, nations have the capacity to end what Noam
Chomsky calls "biology's only experiment with higher intelligence."
It can happen and once almost did during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October,
1962. Forty years later, we learned only a miracle saved us because a
Soviet submarine captain, Vasily Arkhipov, countermanded his order to fire
nuclear-tipped torpedos when Russian submarines were attacked near Kennedy's
"quarantine" line. Imagine the consequences if he'd done it.
- Today, we're back to square one with a group of American
rogue leaders usurping the right to unilaterally use first strike nuclear
weapons. They claim it's part of the nation's "imperial grand strategy"
threatening everyone with extinction if they follow through - and don't
bet they won't.
- Back From the Abyss
- McQuaig highlights the secret September 13, 2006 American,
Canadian and Mexican elitist meeting in Banff, Alberta, Canada held to
discuss the Bush administration's scheme for a North American Union. Such
an eventuality would mean US North American hegemonic control. It would
have enormous consequences on matters of political, economic, social and
national security issues adversely affecting everyone on the continent
except the privileged plotters benefitting at everyone else's expense.
- McQuaig called the meeting "the ultimate expression
of treachery" as two key themes were North American energy security
and Canada-US military and security cooperation. These are US priorities,
not Canadian ones, so Ottawa's acceding to American demands amounts to
a national betrayal of the public trust. The fact that the meeting was
secret only underscores the threat. That it was held at all shows the
Harper government placed "holding the bully's coat (above) Canadian
public interest in energy, military and security matters (crying) out for
an independent Canadian course...."
- Even worse, McQuaig notes, is that the centerpiece Alberta
oil sands development part of a North American energy strategy undermines
responsible Canadian global warming efforts. By fall, 2006, the Harper
government proved no better than the Bush administration as a leading climate
change obstructionist. Unlike European nations cutting greenhouse gas
emissions, Canada's are rising and are now among the highest levels in
the world per person. In the age of George Bush, Canada, under conservative
leadership, is heading in the wrong direction on this and most other vital
national and world issues. Included among them is being "complicit
in some of the worst aspects of the US 'war on terrorism.' "
- Torture is one of them, even of Canadian citizens, like
the outrageous case of Maher Arar. He was detained at JFK Airport in September,
2002 on his way home, based on false Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
information about him US authorities had. It was the beginning of "delivering
an innocent Canadian man into hell" because of Canada's role in Washington's
"war on terrorism."
- Arar was initially held in solitary confinement in the
US for nearly two weeks, interrogated and denied access to legal help.
He was falsely labeled an Al Queda member, "renditioned" to
Syria where he was born, ignored by his government, held under appalling
conditions, brutally tortured for a year before being released in October,
2003 and allowed to return home. A subsequent thorough investigation proved
his innocence provoking outrage across the country. Canadian authorities
treated him with contempt, even leaking false information to the media
suggesting he was a terrorist and his claims about being tortured were
untrue. That underscores Canada's moral depravity under Stephen Harper's
leadership umbilically linked to the roguish Bush regime in Washington.
- McQuaig stresses Harper's cooperation with Washington's
"war on terrorism" "lies at the very heart of (his) agenda."
Maintaining that close relationship with America on all matters important
to Canada depends on it. Defiling the rights of its citizens and ignoring
international law are minor matters by comparison and easily ignored as
Canada sinks into the same moral swamp as America. It's partnered with
Washington's war on the world, now directed at Islam, but pointing in all
directions against any nation unwilling to become a subservient client
state. Washington demands no less from all nations, and those refusing
risk the Marines showing up followed by regime change. The lord and master
of the universe tolerates no outliers.
- Canada's on board under Stephen Harper, so it needn't
worry. McQuaig's book, however, sounds the alarm all Canadians and Americans
need to hear. At book's end, she stresses how "Powerful forces in
this country are encouraging us to accept the notion of American exceptionalism
and a role for Canada as adjunct to the US empire." She then quotes
Rudyard Griffiths, Dominion Institute's executive director, saying "the
country's most cherished myths seem to be melting away. If we are not
what we were, what now defines us as a nation?"
- McQuaig asks if Canadians will allow war-making to replace
peacekeeping and will sacrifice its social state to pay for it. Her answer
is no, that Canadians want none of neoconservatism, and instead want its
political leaders returning to the nation's traditional values now abandoned.
Her own views likely mirror public sentiment: "a vision committed
to fair treatment and equality, to decency and to the rule of law."
That's what being Canadian means for her. It's not serving "a helpmate's
role, with a lucrative perch inside the US empire, obligingly assisting
the bully as he goes about trying to subdue the world." She can take
comfort knowing most Americans likely share her views and don't want that
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on TheMicroEffect.com
Saturdays at noon US central time.