Daryl Copeland gives a gives a concise overview of why Canada needs to end its military involvement in Iraq and not extend it into Syria (“Five reasons Ottawa shouldn’t extend Iraq mission,” Toronto Star, 23 March 2015):
1. It doesn’t work: Beginning with Afghanistan in 2001 and continuing with Iraq and Libya, western military action has proven itself both ineffective in defeating violent Islamist forces and a destabilizing force that directly led to the creation of groups like the Islamic State.
2. It plays into the hands of Islamic State strategists: Bombing Iraq and Syria is exactly what the Islamic State wants the West do, as it plays directly into the hands of their propagandists who want to capitalize on the perception that the West is at war with the Islamic world.
3. It spoils Canada’s brand:
Participating in U.S.-led wars undercuts what remains of Canada’s international reputation as a force for peace and progress, while exacerbating the threat to domestic security and the safety of Canadians abroad.
4. It reinforces the gross imbalance in the distribution of international policy resources: The military mission against the Islamic State shows Canada’s increasing emphasis on the military as a tool of foreign policy, at the expense diplomacy and development, which have traditionally been Canada’s main tools of foreign policy
5. It is militarily insignificant and wasteful : Canada’s contribution is purely symbolic due to its insignificant contribution to the coalition , essentially making it a waste of resources.
So how can Canada positively contribute to a sustainable peace in the region?
“A national debate on all elements of international policy — defense, diplomacy, trade, aid and immigration — is desperately needed.”
Canada also needs to adopt a specific comprehensive policy in regard to the Middle East, as opposed to just the simplistic, unconditional support for the Israeli government we have now.
Lastly, Canada needs to stop pouring resources into the “Global war on terror” and start focusing on the manifold challenges that the international community faces.
“Our increasingly heteropolar world is riven by a host of wicked, complex, transnational issues, including climate change, environmental collapse, diminishing biodiversity and resource scarcity.”
Overall the conflict in Iraq, and more broadly the war on terror, demonstrates the terribly misguided nature of current Canadian foreign policy.
Read the full article here: Five reasons Ottawa shouldn’t extend Iraq mission
Photo credit: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann, Flickr