Right in the centre - Another approach has to be tried


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

I can’t think of a time in my life when people were more unhappy with the state of the world. It seems that the Western countries are on the brink of war with some Middle Eastern countries, especially Iran. Within all that turmoil, Iran is severely at odds with other Middle Eastern countries. It is indeed a very messy situation.

With the shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane last week by the Iranian government, the horror of war came into many Canadian homes and indeed, to some extent, into all Canadian homes. Fifty-seven Canadians died on that plane.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Some blame President Trump, some blame Iran and its leadership, some blame it on the fight for oil or the struggle for religious freedom. There are endless places to set the blame.

I have written many times that if countries would truly become Christian countries, we would have a much different world. The problem is, countries can’t become Christian, only people can, only individuals can become Christians. Any Christian influence on a country’s behaviour has to come from people. Many beliefs and systems have been tried over the centuries. Certainly, many countries that claimed to be Christian committed atrocities against their own and against others. The Spaniards, just for one example, weren’t very nice to the people who lived in what is now the southern United States and further south. The English weren’t very nice in the Crusades. In more modern times, the Germans were horrible to the Jews. And during the 1920-1960 era, the Russians weren’t nice to anyone, including their own people.

To assign today’s troubles to the assassination of the Iranian general is understandable. However, that general was responsible for hundreds, perhaps thousands of deaths, deaths of citizens of his own country, of Iraq and of the United States.

It has always both troubled and puzzled me that killing is seen as the answer to settling human conflict. It has always been that way and perhaps always will be, but is still very troubling.

Over the years, I have become more of an isolationist. I think when Iran bombs Israel, that retaliation with force is justified. I believe when Iraq invaded Kuwait, it was necessary for western forces to fight back.

That said, I think that each country should become as energy independent as possible. The U.S, and other countries, should likely get out of countries where they are neither invited nor welcomed. Canada has contributed in a disproportionate manner to peace efforts in many countries. We have done so for 100 years or more. Maybe it’s time to leave Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t know with certainty, but it needs to be discussed. We certainly don’t need Middle Eastern oil or food. Blessed by a hugely diversified geography, Canada has the luxury of hunkering in and only dealing with countries that either like us or ask for us to be involved. It would appear that Iraq and Iran really don’t like us, so perhaps we should take our cue from that and head home.

That said, Canadians and Americans need to walk softly and carry a big stick, as the old saying goes. We need to have  highly skilled, well equipped and action ready armed forces. And we also need to hope and pray they are never needed to fire a shot. It’s highly doubtful that Canada or the United States can be convinced of that strategy, but it would be nice if it happened. Nothing can be done to restore the lives and losses of the past few days, but another approach has to be tried. The Bible talks about beating the swords into plowshares. We have to do more than wistfully hope for that day.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.