Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Guest Post: Mulcair vs. the Chickenhawks

Dan Tan weighs in on Thomas Mulcair's principled position on Iran - which may come as a pleasant surprise to anybody concerned that he'd be more interested in appealing to the Very Serious People than thinking carefully about whether military intervention is justified:
North American & European capitals are inundated with the squawks of chicken-hawks. Why not? The technological superiority of our militaries has reduced the amount of life lost on our side. The economic & voluntary nature of military involvement has reduced the perceived value of the lives pledged. Politicians have license to act as Greek gods, treating our sons & daughters as mere arrows meant to intervene in the petty quarrels of foreigners.

Thomas Mulcair was accused of being a chicken-hawk himself. There was the infamous quote about supporting Israel "in all circumstances". Then there was a boast of supporting an attack against Syria. While Mulcair provided more clarity on the Israel issue with a clear policy statement, he let his comments on Syria stand.

In a previous post, I argued that the NDP membership could temper any "adventurist" inclinations on Mulcair's part. But that left the impression that Mulcair's handling of foreign policy would indeed need tempering. I would like to correct that impression.

Recently, Mulcair was interviewed by Carol Off for CBC Radio. The final 6 minutes of that interview proved to be quite revealing, as Off presented Tom with every opportunity to bite into the deadly neo-conservative apple.

She quoted Stephen Harper and suggested that Iran was a nation of religious fanatics unable to handle nuclear technology. She then insisted that Iran was actively developing a nuclear bomb (seemingly unaware that the 2007 & 2011 American National Intelligence Estimates disagreed).

Mulcair could have nodded his head & thumped his chest (as the chicken-hawk is wont to do). Such bravery would surely be rewarded. The sheeple employed in the field of political journalism would approve of another politician parroting their simplistic narratives. The '24' fanatics who all too often dictate foreign policy would cheer as Tom stuck it to the "new Irish".

Instead, Mulcair took down Off's inflammatory claims with the purposeful precision of a sniper. He reminded Off that Iran was not a cartoon but an actual nation of complex human beings. He correctly dismissed the ominous caricature of Ahmadinejad, seemingly aware that the Iranian president is impotent in the face of the Ayatollah & IRGC. He also joined the noble General Martin Dempsey in challenging ill-advised calls to war. Mulcair reminded the audience that war was only justified if Canadians were attacked or the United Nations demanded action.

NDP members should take heart. Rather than a chicken-hawk...we may have unknowingly given birth to a dragon.

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