If I interpret correctly the remarks made by Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird during this week’s Parliamentary debate aimed at extending Canada’s contribution to the NATO mission in Libya by 3 1/2 months, our involvement in Libya is likely to continue well into the future.
And, if NATO/US’s track record of the past decade or so gives us anything to go by, months will soon enough stretch into years as we “build democracy” or some such thing in yet another Muslim country.
“Canada needs to continue its commitment to Libya until the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 are met and until NATO’s goals, as agreed upon by our allies and partners.”
– Peter MacKay
Minister MacKay told Parliament that Canada’s commitment to the NATO-led Libya Mission stands at six CF-18 fighter jets, a refueller, two Hercules tanker aircraft, a pair of Aurora Maritime parole aircraft and a warship equipped with two Sea King helicopters. And, I believe, that’s just for starters.
The minister’s comments such as, “We must ensure that all attacks and threats of attack against civilians have ended,” came as a prelude to his government’s announcement that it would officially recognize rebels fighting the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi—the National Transitional Council (NTC)—as the country’s legitimate representatives. That’s regime change, folks.
Minister John Baird has promised:
“We will maintain an ongoing dialogue with the NTC to identify Libya’s most pressing needs now and into the future. We will do all we can to link the NTC with Canadian expertise on governance and civil society issues.”
It is now obvious that—however reluctant our leaders like Mr. Baird are to say so—regime change is a central purpose of the mission. The UN resolution on Libya may be ambivalent on the subject, but, as Mr. Baird noted, G8 leaders and other global powers mostly agree that “Gadhafi must go.” And, in Mr. Baird own words, “As long as he [Gadhafi] holds political power in Libya, those seeking the rule of law, human rights and freedom and democracy are at risk.”
These comments coupled with Canada’s recognition of the NTC as Libya’s legitimate representatives make the reality of what’s happening on the ground in North Africa crystal clear. We are seeking regime change then the installation of democracy in a country totally unfamiliar, in any practical way, with the rule of law, human rights and democratic institutions.
And so the West once more embarks on regime change in the Arab world. Sound familiar?