Friday, September 4, 2015

Refugee Crisis - How many children have to pay the price.


The recent politicization of the death of two young boys escaping a civil war has been a low point in Canadian politics; I’m unsure who introduced these boys misfortune into the mix first; they should be ashamed of themselves. Given that the Conservatives had nothing to gain from the assertions that Canada is AWOL on the refugee front, one can deduct then it was someone else.

Now that refugees are front and center on the campaign trail the topic is at hand and it presents an opportunity to point out where refugees come from. We have refugees because we have conflict and disruption, we have conflict because the world community has failed to manage the region effectively. Please look at the history of the Middle East and you will make the following observation, the pain incurred there by these people is a product of incomplete effort on the part of intervening nations in our contemporary reality and the fracturing of regional order as a result of European management post Ottoman Empire.

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Russia attacked Afghanistan so they could have a fossil fuel transportation corridor to the lucrative Pakistani and Indian markets; the United States intervened by supporting Afghani warriors “freedom fighters” as they were called and they drove the Russians out, this gave birth to the Taliban.  The Taliban gave refuge to Osama bin Laden and a stronghold for al-Qaeda in the Pashtun region of the country. It then became necessary to bomb the al-Qaeda stronghold and invade the country. It is important to note that many in the United States governing body wanted to take a stronger presence in Afghanistan post the Russian occupation, had they done so the Afghanistan story would be much different – because of passive foreign policy however, in excess of a decade of war and hardship ensued. Even now, having been through the cycle before and post a trillion dollar military adventure, we (the west) are poised to make the same error in Afghanistan. We need to focus on effectiveness in the Middle East, on outcomes there and stop letting western election cycles and the whimsy of the populous politics determine our course.

Having seen this same process unfold several times elsewhere, we had to once again repeat history in Iraq. The Coalition took Iraq handily militarily speaking and then invested trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, millions of civilians killed, injured and displaced to win the peace, to effect a secure living circumstance for the country. This was a herculean undertaking with an unspeakable human toll, only to walk away to let the cycle unfold again, in was popular to take US troops out of Iraq – it was just stupid in the extreme. Granted there are other causal elements at play in the rise of ISIS, the “desert spring” and the collapse of several national orders in quick succession has played a role as well, the point is that had the US maintained military presence, there would be remaining a point where order exists. The two little boys who drowned were Kurds, “Kurdistan” or the Kurdish region of Iraq was beginning to prosper before the war do a degree and then gained momentum as the new order in Iraq took form; most of Kurd’s progress took place with just western air support. Had we (the west) exercised our obligation to protect, had we stayed the course, those two little boys would have opportunity to be living in a stable and prosperous place.

The generous country of Canada never killed those boys; a dismal circumstance and extended western neglect did. 

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