Sunday, January 11, 2009

Liberals Tying Themselves in Knots over the Middle East

I have been watching the ongoing disagreement amongst Liberals, over what has been going on in Gaza for the last few weeks, with interest and amusement.

On one side you have Jason Cherniak essentially giving the Israelis a free pass on everything they do. On the other side you have others, James Curren being one of the most vocal, who have condemned their actions. It has become quite personal at times and Mr. Cherniak has even used his position as an administrator of Liblogs to advance his position using Liblogs.

While watching all of this has given me great moments of mirth it has also left me shaking my head at the shear silliness of it all.

I have my own opinions about what is going on over in Gaza but I have kept them to myself.

The reason is simple. Nothing I say or do will have an iota of an effect on the current or future situation in the Middle East. Further, there is nothing the Canadian government can do to have any effect either.

The Arab-Israeli conflict has been around since 1948. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been around in its contemporary form since 1967. With one exception the different sides in these conflicts have not shown any desire to make a lasting, equitable peace. All sides have demonstrated that they have no problem with the current situation. In the case of the Israelis and the Palestinians their leadership decided long ago to accept the death of their people as a price for continuing the status quo. Both sides use their civilian populations as pawns in their little game.

This is not going to change as a result of anything Liberals say for or against either side.

As well, it has been amusing to see how many have expressed disappointment in the statements by Mr. Ignatieff. There have been rumblings about the lateness of his statement and its content.

With regard to its lateness I would just mention that it is inappropriate for the Leader of the Opposition to make a statement about a foreign policy crisis before the government. The real scandal here was how long it took the government to finally make a statement. But of course Liberals pretty much ignored that issue and focused on what Mr. Ignatieff said instead.

When the Liberals finally begin to focus on the Conservatives instead of their own leadership they will finally demonstrate that they are ready to govern again. Until then it is much safer for them to be in Opposition.

It is also not appropriate for the Leader of the Opposition to contradict the government during a crisis. That is something the Conservatives do but I would hope that the Liberals have more class and a greater sense of responsibility. So, Mr. Ignatieff's statements were appropriate. When Mr. Ignatieff is sitting in the PM's chair he will be able to put forward government policy and it will be at that point that we as Liberals can critique that position.

I have always been a big believer that there is no use getting myself worked up over things I cannot change. The situation in the Middle East is the epitome of that. Nothing I say or do will change that situation so although I will always have an opinion on what is going on there I will not let those opinions cost me any friendships or remove my focus away from the goal of finally turfing the Harper government.


Blogger jaded101 said...

I have found that one of the best ways to get a viewpoint that is stripped of the veneer of bias is to read what the journalists are writing in the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) opinion pieces.

January 11, 2009 5:08 PM  
Blogger Cicely said...

Ottlib: your understanding of the roll of the opposition in times of crisis is decidedly American. During a 'crisis' it is absolutely necessary that the opposition have the ability to present a different approach or policy (should they have one). I would agree that opposition for its own sake is pointless but if the opposition is muzzled by this faux sense of what is 'appropriate' than what happens is the Iraq war.

The Dems were silent in the lead up to the US invasion because the US media quashed dissent by reinforcing the narrative that in times of crisis such dissent is either treasonous (Fox & Limbaugh) or 'inappropriate' (all other MSM).

Thanks but no thanks. That is not what I want for Canada.

January 12, 2009 9:24 AM  
Blogger LeDaro said...

This is a cop out. What is happening in Gaza is slaughter. If we will not speak out who will.

If we had taken the same attitude towards Hitler what kind of world we would be living in. Thanks but no thanks to become Neville Chamberlain.

January 12, 2009 1:23 PM  
Blogger Steve V said...

"The reason is simple. Nothing I say or do will have an iota of an effect on the current or future situation"

You could easily extend that to every opinion, you have on every issue, outside of your immediate sphere of influence. I understand the argument, in terms of futility, but to not offer an opinion under that rationale makes no sense.

January 12, 2009 4:23 PM  

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