Saturday, August 12, 2006

If we are going to "stand with our allies", don't they need to be allies?

Straussian political theorist Clifford Orwin takes to the national newspaper's op ed pages to argue that we should reject the role of "honest broker" and stand with our allies, Israel and the US, war crimes or no.

One problem with this line of thinking is that Israel is not our ally. We have no treaty of alliance with it. Israel has always rejected any security guarantees that could compromise its freedom of action. What is being proposed is not an alliance, but a blank cheque.

Canada and the US are signatories to the North Atlantic Treaty. Of course, so is France, and we are not invited to think of it as an ally to whose judgment in foreign affairs we must always defer. Also Article 5 restricts the alliance to defensive purposes and confines its geographic scope to Europe and North America. This was at the insistence of the Truman Administration, which did not want to defend the European colonial empires. Fair enough... The North Atlantic Treaty also incorporates the principles of the UN Charter, which the Orwins of the world regard as anathema.

NORAD is confined to the air defence of the North American continent.

What is being asked for is not a clear-headed alliance based on mutual interest. What is being asked for is one-sided loyalty, the "Ready, Aye, Ready" attitude that Canadians buried in the Somme along with half a generation.

No comments: