The US is the greatest superpower that world has ever had. The US people, government and military do many great things and I am thankful that we Canadians (and the rest of The West) enjoy the peace and prosperity we do in large part from the protection of the US. This overall support for the US does not mean we should not criticize some policies and actions – au contraire!
Winning the War on Terror – who’s side are you on?:
Of course no reasonable person would support the repressive/terrorist regimes of the Taliban or Saddam Hussein (wait a second, didn’t the US support these groups in the past…) Of course we want to defeat terrorism. The US is doing many things right but have made several major blunders that IMO have been counter-productive.
1. The War in Iraq
2. Breaking international laws (torture, rendition, Guantanamo Bay)
Boiling it down to “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists” is simplistic, ignorant and wrong. I am with the US, against terrorism, but I am not going to agree with counter-productive policies.
Getting to the truth - who do you trust?:
The US administration and military are masters of propaganda and it is naïve to blindly believe them. I will put my trust in multiple sources dedicated to impartiality, for example: Amnesty, HR Watch, the US Supreme Court, the Red Cross, EU courts and parliamentary committees.
The enemy does not follow international laws so neither do we:
IMO, one of the keys to winning the ideological war on terror is the West’s respect for the law and all human life. The US has squandered a big part of this advantage we have over the terrorists. This ideological war is not to be directed at he terrorists – the purpose is to isolate terrorists from as much support as possible.
-The argument that we need to sacrifice personal freedoms and rights for security is false. We need to protect human rights to help win the war!
-After 11 years, how would you judge the results of the War on Terror? What policies and tactics worked and which ones backfired? Were resources wasted needlessly? What is the enemy thinking and planning? What should be the next steps in the War on Terror? These types of questions need to be addressed objectively.
Ideally, every human life would be valued equally. Realistically some lives are worth more than others, but 1000:1? Really? I have never been able to understand this, can anyone explain?
"On 18 October 2011 captured IDF tank gunner Gilad Shalit, captured by the Palestinian militant organization Hamas in 2006, was released in exchange for 1027 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel." http://en.wikipedia....soner_exchanges
I have no doubt that most members of The Council of Canadians and similar social activists genuinely want reduce poverty, but their views on trade are counterproductive.
The Council of Canadians' trade campaign is dedicated to the concept of trade justice, by which we mean a trade regime designed by and for people -- not corporations. We oppose all free trade regimes designed to increase the power of corporations at the expense of social, environmental and economically sustainable development. These have included NAFTA and the WTO, the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas and Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and the recent explosion of Canadian bilateral trade agreements with developing countries and, importantly, the European Union.
My position is that social justice activists should stop counter-productive behaviour of: 1. Blocking free trade agreements 2. Demonizing corporations
The following points support my position: -It is now proven that opponents of the Canada-US free trade debate have lost. Compare Canada from 1988 to 2012 we are much better off by almost any measure. -Look at Mexico, especially the Human Development metrics from 1994 (NAFTA) to today. -Look at human development progress of any developing country 5, 10, 15, 25... years after signing a free trade agreement - I challenge anyone to find one that has regressed -Divide the world into three countries: a.) open to free trade, b.) not open to free trade, and c.) N/A. You will notice that the countries in on list a) are reducing poverty the fastest -The stated goals for almost any corporation is to 1. make money for shareholders, 2. satisfy customer needs, 3. ensure employees are secure and satisfied, 4. comply with all laws, 5. be a good corporate citizen. These goals may conflict in the short-term but I would argue that most corporations do well in meeting all these goals. I cannot think of an “evil corporation” today – can you? -Strong corporations and strong environmental laws can, do, and should co-exist: e.g. California -Free trade, strong multinational companies, strong unions and social programs also can, do and should exist: e.g. Scandinavia and Germany
Of course I am not in favour of blindly trusting free trade negotiators and corporations, however I think that a more co-operative stance by groups like CofC would be more effective in gaining support for more just and environmentally responsible policies that Governments would then be much more likely to adopt.