By Scott Taylor
When U.S. President Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, the critics were quick to pounce. The general consensus from western pundits and politicians alike was that the Donald had been too soft on Putin. This sentiment is rooted in the notion that the U.S., and by extension the other western countries - including Canada -somehow have the moral authority to chastise Putin for his actions, because we are after all, the ‘good guys’.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a particularly harsh anti-Russia stance following the Helsinki meeting of the two Presidents: “Whether it’s their illegal annexation of Crimea, their incursion into the Donbass in Ukraine and the fact that we’re glad to have 200 Canadian soldiers there helping to train Ukrainian armies. Whether it’s interference in Syria and the support for the murderous Assad regime, whether it’s what they were responsible for in the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury on UK soil against British nationals. Canada has always been clear.” Trudeau told reporters.
Those are strong words, but let us take a little closer look in the rearview mirror. In 1999 Canada was very much a part of NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign against Serbia and one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008. So, apparently Canada has no issue with the use of military force to redraw the map of Europe, as long as it’s us who are doing it.
For the record, Kosovo is now a failed state with the lowest GDP and the highest crime rate in Europe, with the Serbian minority population still living in protected enclaves.
As for interfering in the Ukraine’s civil war, how can Trudeau condemn Putin for assisting and supporting ethic Russian-Ukrainian rebels in the eastern enclave, and simultaneously be proud of the fact that we have Canadian solders, thousands of kilometers from our borders assisting and supporting troops of an non-NATO country in the same conflict?
Russia may be in Syria to support the “murderous” regime of Bashar al- Assad, but they are fighting the far more murderous Daesh (aka ISIS or ISIL) and al-Nusra (aka al-Qaeda). Those would be the same terribly murderous Daesh and al-Nusra that our Canadian special forces were sent to battle in Iraq, which would make us allies in a common cause.
For Trudeau to describe the incidents in Salisbury as a Russian State chemical attack is a hyperbole at it’s level best. The intended March 4th assassination targets - Sergei and Julia Skripal - are still alive and we are now to believe that the Russian intelligence agents were so incompetent and carless that they left the excess deadly nerve agent Novichok lying in a public park in an old perfume bottle.
Four months later a local drug addict is alleged to have found the bottle and sprayed what she thought was perfume on her wrists. If human nature still applies to a drug addled brain, her next step would have been to inhale the fumes in the expectation of a perfumy reward to her olfactory glands. Somehow she managed to walk herself to the hospital after inhaling a full on dose of Novichok, which is said to be 10 times more deadly than the notorious VX gas.
She died 7 days later, while her 45-year-old partner and fellow drug addict Charlie Rowley who was also exposed to the Novichok perfume has since recovered. There remains no proof of Russian State involvement other than the initial unsupported claim by UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
On the wider subject of Trump and the west holding the moral high ground one need only to revisit the U.S. led ill-fated allied military misadventures of the past seventeen years.
In 2001, in the wake of 9-ll, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in order to apprehend Osama bin Laden. It was also seen as convenient opportunity to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban regime. Fast-forward to the present, and Afghanistan remains a failed state engulfed in violent anarchy. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have died in that interim.
In 2003, the U.S. lied to the world about Sadden Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction as an excuse in to invade Iraq. Since that juncture, Iraq has been and remains awash in inter-factional bloodletting. More than a million innocent victims have perished in that ongoing conflict.
In 2011 the Canadian led NATO force was authorized by the UN to impose a no-fly zone in the skies above war-torn Libya. From the outset that limited mandate was expanded to a full out aerial bombardment against embattled President Muammar Gadhafi.
After Gadhafi was brutally murdered by the rebels in October 2011, the west left a power vacuum that resulted in the current failed sate awash with violent anarchy. Thousands of innocents have been killed as a result of NATO’s intervention.
It would be one hell of a stretch to blame Putin for these three monumental cock-ups. None of which appears to be extinguishable within the foreseeable future.