Progressive Proselytizing: Why Canada is going to war in Iraq: From Harper’s Mouth

I recently wrote a post about the motivations for middle powers like Canada to join international coalitions for wars such as the recent war in Iraq. Now that we have seen Harper official justification for the war to Parliament, it is worth noting how closely what I said tacked with what Harper himself said. We ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Why Canada is going to war in Iraq: From Harper’s Mouth

I recently wrote a post about the motivations for middle powers like Canada to join international coalitions for wars such as the recent war in Iraq. Now that we have seen Harper official justification for the war to Parliament, it is worth noting how closely what I said tacked with what Harper himself said. We ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Harper’s small but important lie on Iraq

Harper got caught in a lie important enough that the US Secretary of Defence’s office took the somewhat rare move of embarrassing Harper by telling everyone it was indeed a lie. Namely, as reported by Global News,  Harper made something of a big show that the US was asking for Canadian help in the newest war ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Harper’s small but important lie on Iraq

Harper got caught in a lie important enough that the US Secretary of Defence’s office took the somewhat rare move of embarrassing Harper by telling everyone it was indeed a lie. Namely, as reported by Global News,  Harper made something of a big show that the US was asking for Canadian help in the newest war ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Thoughts on Crimea

As the world prepares to accept the near inevitability of Crimea becoming part of Russia, the dominant feeling around the world is one best described as impotency. With the referendum coming in at 95% pro Russian, even if it skips over any official process and was boycotted by opposition groups, Russia has enough political cover ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Syria – Is there nothing we can do?

In the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, as the world collectively tried to parse the abhorrent barbarism and purposelessness that had occurred, a new foreign policy doctrine was proposed: liberal interventionism. It was a policy that advocated for military intervention by the powerful west in situations where the humanitarian crisis was so severe that it demanded ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Why Omar Khadr’s psychology does not matter

This post is a quick update to my previous post ‘Why Omar Khadr still matters‘ in response to a CBC article that contrasts the views of two psychologists who studied Khadr. As interesting as the article may be, everything I wrote previously about whether Canada should repatriate Khadr, whether his proceedings were legal, and whether ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Why Omar Khadr still matters

A decade after a wounded Omar Khadr, a then fifteen year old Canadian citizen, decided to lob a fatal grenade in the middle of a firefight in Afghanistan, Ottawa is still dragging its feet on finally repatriating Khadr back to Canada from Guantanamo Bay where he is currently detained. Khadr’s fate is ultimately set; he ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Lessons from Iran for North Korea

North Korea became the biggest international story of last week when it decided to launch a satellite into space (ostensibly a weather satellite) that ultimately broke down shortly after being launched. This episode puts into peril the nascent moves towards genuine talks regarding food aid in exchange for abandoning nuclear ambitions and a denouement in ...

Progressive Proselytizing: How the GOP should criticize Obama on Iran

Leaders of Brazil, Turkey & Iran As the Republicans continue to escalate their misguided criticism of Obama and his handling of the issue of a nuclear Iran, they desperately need a brief history lesson. I am not talking about a history lesson that extends back to the days of a US backed, CIA installed, Iranian ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The chances of an Israeli strike on Iran

As a large caveat, let me first say that I think it is very hard to come up with a reasonable estimate of the chances that Israel, or the US, decided to attack Iran within, say, a year. For the casual analyst like myself, we can read the statements from top Israeli and US officials, ...

Progressive Proselytizing: A domestic foreign policy: Iran, Israel, and the US

Foreign policy is ostensibly something to do with other countries. However, when politicians talk about it they are largely doing so for their own domestic interests. Discussions of foreign policy are constantly evolving in the ideas, rhetoric, policies and details; the discussion of Iran today is very different than it was in 2008, for instance. ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The expanding War on Terror: their hypocrisy, and ours

It is hard to imagine how the timing could have created a more poignant juxtaposition. At the same time as the Obama administration triumphantly withdraws from Iraq, Congress is set to institute the legal codification of the largest expansion in the War on Terror yet, up to and including the indefinite detention of US citizens ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Lessons from Uzbekistan

The Central Asian states such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan often don’t get too much attention in the west. However, the region is both important from a geostrategic perspective as well as having its tumultuous recent history providing many important insights for western policy in Asia and many other regions. Previously, I looked at Kyrgyzstan and the lessons that could ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Lessons from Kyrgyzstan

A year before the Arab Spring, Kyrgyzstan experienced a populist uprising of its own complete with violent conflict, from both the state and between ethnicities, and resulted in a change of governance. The lessons that can be drawn from the recent history in Kyrgyzstan are useful in putting some of the Arab uprisings into perspective and demonstrating ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The myopic terrorism lens

One of the main failures of western understanding of the Middle East and South Asia, and the subsequent failures of actions taken by the west in these regions, stems from viewing these regions through the lens of terrorism. This terrorism-centric view pervades both military and political elites as well as media pundits and the general ...

Progressive Proselytizing: US, Israel and Canada’s response to Palestine’s UNESCO membership

When Palestine overwhelmingly got approved to be a member state in UNESCO, a long standing congressional trigger was activated which entirely defunds the US contribution to UNESCO (about a fifth of its total contributions). This comes on the back of freezing various aid money to Palestine as a punitive reaction to applying for statehood in ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Externalizing the costs of war in Somalia

Perhaps the epitome of a war that externalizes costs out of sight of the average voter is one where the voter is unaware a war is even going on. Such is the case in Somalia, where most Americans might list Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya as wars the US is involved in but not Somalia. Despite ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The US Congress’s punitive actions against Palestine

In response to the Palestinian bid for statehood, the US House, against the wishes of the White House, has frozen some $200 million dollars worth aid to Palestine. The funds were targeted towards food aid, healthcare and infrastructure development. One of the central claims about the Palestinian statehood bid – in addition to fear mongering about a ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The role of public relations in the military

Canada’s top military figure, Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk has gotten media attention recently since it was revealed that he spent over a million dollars on government aircraft to fly to such things as “Military Appreciation Nights” at NHL and CFL games. In addition, money was seemingly egregiously spent on such things as ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Iran’s overstated military capacities

Iranian Missile Test With the main thrust of the Libyan intervention dieing down – and with it the need to justify it by villainizing Qaddafi – Iran has firmly regained its place as public enemy number one. Ahmadenijad makes it easy to draw attention to him given his recent ridiculous UN speech, which countries tripped ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Nuclear weapons and motivations for Libya and Iran

Perhaps one of the greatest triumphs of the non-proliferation movement was the 2003 decision by Colonel Qaddafi of Libya to entirely abandon his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program, throwing open the doors to inspectors and allowing the program to be dismantled and removed. It is a success story which flies in the face of ...

Progressive Proselytizing: The left’s opinion change on Pakistan and the drone war

The issue of the drone war and the public reception to it, particularly among progressives, demonstrates both the strength and failings of that movement. The hallmark test of legitimacy for any body that espouses political opinion is and must be consistency. If we change our tone and criticism based on the zeitgeist of the times ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Libya Rebel Leader Underscores Our Deep Hypocricy

When it first became clear that NATO actions in Libya were going to far exceed the UN mandate of a no-fly zone to protect civilians and would instead be a massive and sustained bombing campaign on all kinds of military targets in support of the rebels who would – in all likelihood given the assistance ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Israel/Palestine Overview

The Israel/Palestine issue is a particularly difficult topic to talk and write about simply because it is such a poignant, polarizing and established issue. Within a few sentences, western commentators on the issue quickly get lumped as either “pro-Israel” or “anti-Israel”. It becomes necessary to make explicit a somewhat long list of background qualifiers on ...