Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bob Foul-er

The Liberals have been having a focus-session this week, trying to get on their pins again after 'Wolfie o' the North's latest gaffe. To do that,  they had invited a number of  'doers and thinkers' to address the party hacks with a view to acquiring a new 'vision'. With the exception of Bob Fowler, they might have been better advised to do a week on water and colonics in some 'cleansing' ashram.

Of all the ruminators, Bob Fowler's forty minutes really gave the Libs something to think about.

 Bob  Fowler is the Canadian who was ambassador to Teheran when the Shah n Shah's balloon went up, back in the days when the Ayehtolleh was Khomeini, rather than Khameini. That little bit of 'Jamie Bondism' garnered Fowler the 'respect' of the Americans and a posting as ambassador to Washington. After he stepped-down from Canada's foreign service. Bob Fowler 'took up' with the UN. In this role he was kidnapped last year in Niger and held for a few months by the AlQaeda (viz bandit) organization there. In  all his travels and works, Bob Fowler has gained a perspective on many of the current trends of history. Unfortunately he's a little out-of-synch with the conventional wisdom displayed in Ottawa and Washington these days.

Bob Fowler, with a nod to the Canadian government efforts to gain his release, chastised the Conservative government for squandering what good will had been gained for Canada in Africa by changing the focus of Canada's foreign aid to Afghanistan. He also pointed out that, no doubt due to having to pay for a war there as well, the Conservatives had failed to reach Canada's promised GNP/aid ratio. That wouldn't matter anyway, as CIDA would be pumping the boodle into more 'model villages' and non-operating maternal health (abortion and birth control) centres in Kandahar City.

But Bob Fowler dropped a bombshell on the Libs, one that they aren't ready to do anything about. He charged that they were pandering to special interest groups in order to get elected. The biggie was the 'I love Israel' special interest group that forms the bed rock of all three (four) Canadian political parties. This love for the Holy Land, Fowler charges is at the root of many of the problems in the world to-day. The west's backing of Israel, and its consequent intransigence in reaching a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian Arab problem, is the nub of all the anti-western perspectives in the Muslim world. Actually it's the second nub. For the first remains America's notion  that the 'free market' needs to be taken to the middle east and central Asia for the benefit of American interests. 'Playboy after Dark' and American 'culture' had as much to do with the rise of the Taliban and Islamic fundamentalism, as did the occupation of east Jerusalem. But the Palestine problem is one that all Muslims can understand and the Zionists have been fairly stiff-necked in seeing that perspective broadcast abroad.

For Ignatieff, as for Harper, Layton and, possibly, Duceppe the Jewish lobby is very close to home, if not actually in residence. Prominent members of all parties are of the Jewish persuasion and very few of them are not synoptic with the middle east's only 'democratic' atomic and military power. For Canada to go back to the days of the 'honest broker ' - a view never shared by Canada's military peace-keepers, by the way - in middle eastern affairs, would, to-day, be considered a hearty stab-in-the-back by Benny Natanyahu, if not by the White House. But Fowler has definitely called the kettle black and it remains to be seen if anybody will act on this notable political differentiation. More than a few Canadians worry about Israel's propensity and apparent ability, to involve the west in its police actions, wars and security fears. Fowler's words have made him a target for the ADL and the letters to the editor as well as the local pols, from 'grass-roots Canadians',  are, no doubt, in the mail. No 'anti-semite' hate stuff , yet. Just some 'elitist' commentary by a  Hebrew on the Ottawa Citizen. But it has been a slow sort of week.

"There are some things I disagree with", pontificated an awakened 'Wolfie', "but Bob Fowler has earned the right to say them." Geez, ya gotta love the free speech we have in Canada. In less civilized lands somebody would be lining up to drill him. But in Canada he'll be quietly ignored. It's a cinch he won't be getting nominated to run Liberal in any riding in Canada, even if there's a groundswell of public support. Neither will his views be considered.

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