Columns and Letters

Letter: Free speech once again

June 15, 2022

Dear Editor,
    I invite Mr. Lywood to read NATO’s Charter. It is here at this link: Within this text there is no mechanism for NATO to launch an attack upon anyone. Article 5 allows for collective action in the event one member is attacked. The charter also references building a better, more peaceful world through the principles of the United Nations. I am unaware of the source of Mr. Lywood’s conviction that NATO is not a defensive organization and trust that having read the actual charter he will realize that whatever other source he relies upon is false. Of course, he is free to write falsehoods about any topic he wishes. I hope that he finds more productive uses for his time.
    Likewise, his comment about the United States “stated desire to control the world.” He will not find that in any credible publication or document outside of Putin’s propaganda machine. Most of us know better than to rely upon that source.
    There is no such thing as “The Nuclear Global Treaty of 2021.” At any rate, Canada does not possess and is not developing nuclear weapons, as always, even though we could have easily become one of the founding members of the nuclear arms club. I am unaware of the source of Mr. Lywood’s assertion that Canada is viewed as a rogue state by much of the world. I have found none that would support his statement.
    The Chinese Communist Party, since the massacre at Tiananmen Square, has been ever more aggressive in its assertion that the People’s Republic of China’s current form of government and their world view, both quite different from ours, are the only tolerable path for China. While not an enemy, China is certainly a rival. That they play by very different rules was most clearly displayed by taking two Canadians hostage when Canada honoured its treaty with the US and detained a Chinese Citizen charged with breaking US Law. That the Canadians had not broken any Chinese Law was irrelevant. They were made to pay a high price for simply  being in China when Canada took lawful action that China did not like. China also routinely persecutes any of its own citizens that it finds inconvenient.
    North Korea, likewise, is not an enemy. At least not at the moment. Like China, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s system of government and world view are very different from ours. That difference bears no benefits that I can discern and certainly imposes a high price on the people of the hermit kingdom. That North Korea spends a huge proportion of its GDP on a nuclear weapons program and a massive conventional military suggests that its leader is determined to convince North Koreans that everyone else (perhaps even China) are enemies. While Kim Jong-Un’s mad dash to military supremacy may well develop into a serious threat, North Korea remains mostly an enemy to itself.
    Iran is run by a theocratic oligarchy with an attachment to medieval religious beliefs. Canada has had a number of diplomatic run-ins with Iran, but we are not enemies.
    All three of the above nations through their own actions have proven that they do not share our values. Yet there is no credible organization within Canada or the West that is teaching anyone that these three nations are enemies. Credible threats and nations to be watched, but not enemies. We all remain hopeful that given time and perhaps significant internal changes, they will be worthy friends.
    Russia, under Putin, has steadily increased its aggression toward its neighbours and started the largest war in Europe since World War II. War is the most extreme form of diplomacy and unfortunately no amount of peaceful diplomacy will deter a nation that has chosen war to achieve its aims. The attacked nation has two choices, surrender or fight back. To surrender without at least imposing a high cost on the attacker only invites the aggressor to engage in more war. This has been demonstrated over and over again in world history. Putin chose war over honouring Russia’s commitment to respect Ukraine’s borders. That act negates the value of any agreement we could negotiate with Russia. Russia attacked Ukraine, first in 2014, then through proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk, finally an all out assault on February 24th. There is no excuse for Putin’s war. Putin himself has said that NATO’s expansion into Finland and Sweden is not a threat to Russia. That calls into question why he would think the opposite for Ukraine. Putin has said his aim is to re-establish the Russian Empire as in the days of Peter The Great. Putin is a clear and present danger to quite a few of his neighbours in Eastern Europe. Some of those nations are our allies. All of them are our friends. The only restraint upon Putin is NATO, Ukraine’s tenacious defenders and the West’s willingness to assist Ukraine’s defence. Putin’s actions, alone and without anyone’s teaching, have made him our enemy.
    While I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Lywood that peaceful diplomacy and cooperation are preferable to war in the pursuit of global peace, prosperity and happiness, I must remind him that insisting on waving flowers at those who insist on using weapons only makes us targets. Our government’s primary responsibility is to maintain the safety and security of Canadians. Without safety and security, nothing else matters. In the real world in which we live, safety and security requires a more robust attitude than Mr. Lywood prefers. I for one am glad that our government, no matter which party is in power, has chosen that Canadians not be mere targets.
    Gerald Woodill
    West Lake Ainslie



















































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