Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Bush Doctrine and Today

After the 911 attacks on the US, then President Bush declared the right to preemptive military strikes against countries before they actually committed an aggression against the United States. At the time, and until this day, very little attention has been paid to the "Bush Doctrine" announced back in those panicky days. Yet, those simple words have transformed the world. Diplomacy died on the vine of National Interest. International law became passe. So it was then with the US wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, so it is now almost everywhere in the world.

The most recent case, unfolding as I write, is the military blockading, bombing and soon to be invasion of Yemen. Ditto for Canada's newly announced policy of bombing within Syria. It was only a matter of months ago the federal government stated it would not send war planes into Syria without either a UN mandate, or an invitation from the Syrian government. Now, we will, and the rationale is section 51 of the UN Charter, and the declaration that Syria is either unable or unwilling to control the conflict within its own borders. That somehow, by bombing ISIS in Syria is a key to Canadian self-defence. It's true that ISIS inspired lone wolves have committed two acts of terror on Canadian soil resulting in two innocent deaths. It's also true that many hundreds more die or are maimed in car accidents daily in Canada. Somehow the idea that little black pajama men with daggers will swim to Canada enmasse to decapitate citizens is, well, just foolish. Yet, it's all possible under the Bush Doctrine. The doctrine of punch first, ask questions later.

Now a similar, and predictable confrontation is playing out just south of the Suez Canal in Yemen - for the moment. As Iran and Saudi Arabia play out their mutual hatred of each other on a regional basis, the Bush Doctrine unfolds yet again. Saudi claims to perceive an urgent need to restore to power a Sunni president, as the legitimately elected head of Yemen. Saudi is not exactly known for its zeal for democracy. What Saudi is known for is a draconian, barbaric oil state, that is ruled by one family - no elections.. no descent. A ruthless, dark place where no democratic fruit is allowed to grow. The truth is, quite simply put, Saudi refuses to allow the Shia Houthi, who are aligned with Iran, to take over at the expense of their guy. International law be dammed. The son of the Bush Doctrine.

When then president Bush declared the US's right to act unilaterally in world affairs, the US recreated the jungle. It took mankind back to the dark ages, only this time with weapons of mass destruction. It removed the need to be responsible and restrained in the exercise of power. It opened the Pandora's Box of "National Interest". As the saying goes, "two can play that game", and in the context of the world, many can play that game. That is exactly what we see unfolding before our very eyes. In every continent in the world - excepting Australia. In every "hot spot" in the world. Even within countries. We don't have to obey rules. We make the rules. Might is right, and we will prevail. Welcome back to the Stone Age. This is the state of our world today. A place where mutual respect is as barren as the desserts of Saudi Arabia, and where the innocent blood flows as it has throughout our history. We never learn that power exercised without restraint is poison to us all.

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