A few weeks ago, an article in The American Conservative mentioned US troops being instructed to ignore boy rape committed by their Afghan allies. This flashed me back to Christmas 2009, when our Conservative government prorogued Parliament, rather than let the torture issue be discussed. According to news reports at that time, Canadian troops were also ordered to ignore the screams of boys being raped.
It’s not difficult to see what’s right and wrong in this situation. Child rape is pure evil, and in a better world our troops would have arrested the perpetrators. If high-ranking English and/or American officers were involved, arrest them too! Instead of which, Canada withdrew from the Afghan mission.
Ten years later, the war still drags on. And the way things look today, the Taliban enjoy more credence in the Afghan countryside than the Americans do.
For a Canadian senior, this type of thing is highly disturbing. We’re a newer country and I loved seeing Canada take its place in the world as an independent country, standing for human decency.
Today these attitudes are largely discarded. With the Americans now so strong, we’re pulled toward behaving like a satellite state. This tendency is strengthened by the intelligence group, the Five Eyes, which is made up by the white, English speaking nations. The word “allies” is always on the politicians’ lips, even though there’s no major war.
A similar dynamic seems to underlie the Brexit move. The British would not cut ties aimlessly; they must feel they have somewhere to go. And, they definitely bring experience to the table. The U.S. could do worse than learn from them in the Afghan situation: forget propping up a bunch of perverts, and establish a proper imperial government.
Imperialism’s been around a long time, and it operates under one main law. “It’s forbidden to make friends with those who do not submit.” (This saying is attributed to Genghis Khan, but it rings as true today.) In other words when imperialism comes in, right and wrong go out the window.
Unfortunately for the old-style imperialists, our world has undergone rapid and massive change. Population has exploded and so has technology. Other countries have nukes too.
My gut feeling: the aggressive behavior which once created great empires is not just wrong in today’s world. It’s obsolete, and highly risky.