Defence Minister Graham
Inexorable War Creep
C. L. Cook
May 9th, 2005
Canada's pretence to non-alignment, or at least nothing more than a loose affiliation, with Bush administration ambitions of global energy domination lost another veil with Bill Graham's announcement of a Canadian troop deployment to the oilfields of Darfur.
There's been thunder and bluster coming from the Tory benches for more than a year, demanding the humanitarian situationin Darfur requires an immediate military response. The risk we take in waiting is another Rwanda in Sudan, they implore. But that logic begs belief in the necessity to spend Canadian lives and taxes to avoid the possible repeat of an event these same critics didn't care about when actually happening in Rwanda.
Saving black African lives has never been a priority, not among the men making policy. Who cares now about Congo, where nearly ten times as many have died as in the tragic Sudan? No, the real tragedy of Darfur is its unfortunate proximity to a great black sea of oil. As in other theatres of the grand global turmoil: Iraq; Colombia; Venezuela; it's oil putting Sudan in the octopus' sights. And the humanitarian disaster is the side-show, merely another Kosovo.
And Canada's tentacles do great agency to the work: Troops engaged in the illegal war and regime change in Afghanistan; Canadian war ships, under U.S. command running search and seizure patrols in the Persian Gulf; federal police and Canadian military aiding an illegal and brutal regime in Haiti, a regime Canadian machinations helped implace; Yugoslavia; Somalia, and now Darfur. It would be just another sad and too typical foreign policy story for Canadians long enduring these past years, but there's more to Darfur than meets the media eye. Because, there's more than one monster in the tar.
Both China and India haven't rested on their sweatshop laurels. The two most rapidly growing economies in the world have been going abroad, investing, greasing palms, and all the other ugly deeds done to cut deals. China has been especially industrious, securing much of coveted Darfur, and they're determined to keep it. With the "Stans" gone Uncle Sam's way for now, China has to make a play in Africa. They've supported the government there with equipment and, depending on the source, some thousands of Chinese troops. Are Canadians really up for the Red Army? Is the final gambit in the great game a WWIV scenario over control of Africa's oil and minerals?
Clearly there is a humanitarian crisis in Darfur, but it has little to do with the story being peddled to "justify" another bloodbath for oil and reconstruction contracts. The infamous dastards this time are the Janjawid, an "anti-government militia" much in the style of Colombia's AUC; they are conveniently classified as enemies, while being used to do the government's dirtiest work. In this case, as in the wilds of Colombia, their job is to clear the indigenous from the riches they happen to reside atop. Meanwhile the emperor's agents have the ears and balls of the "rogue" leadership firmly in hand. It's a crisis, but not without a calculated cause.
Judging by ongoing Canadian interventions around the world, is it reasonable to expect positive results from a Canadian-style operation?
Afghanistan is still a disaster three and half years after their liberation. Haiti worsens by the day, Iraq and the Persian Gulf boil hotter now than ever. Central America poised on a hair's edge, Castro and Chavez calling militias to readiness. And now Canada is to sally 150 hapless souls into the emperors breach. Just the first of more hundreds of handfuls of fodder to feed the indefatigable maw of war? And barely a murmur.
The great opposition to our collective march into the 19th century is a political sling sent at Minister Graham, purporting he makes the move to appease a dissaffected defector of the Liberal party. A stain on a blue dress to keep the "dogs of the press" busy, while Martin dons the steel.
Chris Cook hosts the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada and serves as a contributing editor to the pro0gressive news site, PEJ.org. You can check out his blog, here.