Paikin on Israel's Strategic Imperative

Zach Paikin is running for National Policy Chair of the Liberal Party of Canada. He is intelligent, charming, multilingual, respectful, and well-spoken. In a recent disavowal that his politics could influence the Party, he wrote that the National Policy Chair "is powerless to affect the actual policy of the party." I decided to look further into his political writing and opinions.

“Israel needs to be prepared to enter West Bank cities if necessary, and must be able to create a territorial arrangement therein that suits its interests. Furthermore, ceasing all financial and diplomatic ties with the PA is sure to have major impact. Same goes for Gaza: Israel needs to be prepared to go beyond what it did in Operation Cast Lead and achieve something much more similar in scope and result as Operation Defensive Shield (2002).”

posted by zpaikin 07Sep2011/2312h

“ceasing all financial and diplomatic ties with the PA is sure to have a major impact.”
Israel’s blockade of Gaza has been roundly criticized from within and without Israel for its humanitarian impact, obstruction of the peace process, and damage to relationships with Israel’s allies. To extend a similar policy to the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority will further alienate Israel’s negotiating counterparts in the occupied territories and inflict suffering on non-combatants in the continuing conflict.

“Israel needs to be prepared to go beyond what it did in Operation Cast Lead.”
Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s invasion into Gaza in late 2008, killed 1,400 Palestinians at least half of whom were civilians. In the end, 13 Israelis were killed, three of whom were civilians. While the accusation that Israel deliberately targeted civilians (contained in the Goldstone report) has later been retracted by Goldstone himself, there is abundant evidence that homes, food production, schools, and healthcare facilities were destroyed, crippling Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. Israeli Defense Force veterans of the operation voiced their shame at the heavy-handed tactics employed in a report released by Breaking the Silence.

Paikin characterizes the Arab Awakening as a Sunni Awakening, a religious revolutionary counterpoint to the Shia Awakening that followed Iran’s 1979 revolution. Yet the January 25 Revolution in Egypt was accompanied by a set of demands that included the scrapping of Egypt’s existing constitution (whose second Article declares that Islam is the state religion of Egypt and that Islamic law is its principal source of legislation) in favour of one inspired by Western liberal democracies.

The promise of a plural society and liberal democracy in Egypt needs to be enabled by the West, particularly by those purporting to be liberals themselves, rather than drowning out this rallying cry with a narrative that focuses on Israel’s strategic implications. The region is watching how successfully Egypt navigates its constitutional reforms. Egypt will doubtless be a model for other nations in the region, for better or worse.

There is no question that Egypt’s emergence as a liberal democracy is threatened by a rampant military—with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces casting itself as the sentinel on guard against the Islamists—and surging popular support for the Muslim Brotherhood. At least the Salafist Al-Nour Party has a total of only 5 of the first 168 seats decided to date, a convincing renunciation of the party’s strict Islamist platform. The SCAF’s continued insistence on independence from oversight by the government could result in another Pakistan if the West throws its lot in with the SCAF and not the parliamentary assembly.

Paikin links the threat of political instability in the Middle East to Western nations by raising the spectre of a reprisal of the OPEC Oil Embargo of 1973. Rather than focusing on a policy of energy independence to remove this Sword of Damocles, Paikin instead advocates for a turning of the screw: pre-emptive strikes on Middle East states by Israel. He seems nostalgic for a time when compliant tyrants reigned everywhere in the Middle East. He juxtaposes this nostalgia for the devils we knew with his plug for
Israel as “the region’s only liberal democracy.” Does he truly aspire for Israel to enjoy some company in this category? Or for Israel to enjoy only hegemony, whatever the cost?

Columns by Zach Paikin:

The Good
- combine US and Canadian resources to fight terrorism and cyber-warfare
- sign a joint Canada-US carbon tax policy
- go beyond traditional free trade agreements to reduce barriers to mobility and investment
- make bilateral agreements with India and China a top priority
- make education, agriculture, and technology prime components of our aid strategy

The Bad
- proceed with the purchase of 65 F-35 fighter jets
- negotiate a ballistic missile defense pact with US and Europe
- double the size of the Canadian military

The Ugly
- press the United States to keep Omar Khadr at Guantanamo Bay as long as possible
- designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization
- replace CIDA with "more effective, independent operating units"; i.e. eliminate CIDA


F-35: Multi-Billion Dollar Mistake

Maj Stephen Fuhr (ret) served with the Canadian Air Force as a fighter pilot, flight instructor, and Operational Fleet Manager for the F-18 for over twenty years. He is increasingly frustrated with the government's promotion of the F-35 as the only solution to Canada's urgent need to replace its aging F-18 fleet.

"The people who are supporting it are in love with the idea of the F-35. The problem with it is that it can't deliver the capability it promised on time and on budget, and that's extremely clear to everybody on the planet except the current government."

There are cracks appearing today in the Defense Department's resolve to go with the F-35. Finally, the Chief of Canada's Air Force, Lt-Gen Andre Deschamps, conceded that we are reaching the limits of what would constitute a minimum size for our air fleet with only 65 jets. As costs continue to grow, Canada may find itself having to make a decision about taking fewer planes or increasing the capital budget, a decision that Julian Fantino said is now being deferred to 2013. Deschamps noted that "The number 65 gives us the capacity to cover all our missions with confidence." The corollary? The Air Force could not fulfill its missions if the number of jets dropped below that level.

It is time for the government to evaluate alternatives to the F-35 or risk an operational capacity shortfall: as the F-18's currently in our fleet are decommissioned, we risk not having enough fighters to cover the gap before delivery of our next generation aircraft.

Australia, a country of comparable size and disposition, has elected to defer a decision on the F-35 and take delivery of F-18 Super Hornets instead.


The Latest Immigration Innovation: Grappling Babies

Grappling Baby

Stephen Colbert famously coined the term "truthiness" on the very first episode of the Colbert Report. His most recent neologism? Grappling Baby.
grap-pl-ing ba-by. noun The all-too-common occurrence of a pregnant woman in Mexico aiming her birth canal at America to launch her baby over the border so then she could climb in using the umbilical cord.
Folks, if you don't think this is happening, you are living in a dream world. That's why I'm calling on the Department of Homeland Security to deploy thousands of volleyball players to the border to spike these criminals back to Mexico.
Grappling Baby Spike


Recommended Search From Conan

Wanna find out about Christmas? Conan suggests:
giant men with big packages squeezing into tight places

Some Conan material for the faithful

Friedman on the Corporatist State

Milton Friedman, the much vilified Chicago School economist, put together a book and series of TV programs in 1980 to inculcate the public on his vision of capitalism called Free to Choose.

In one of these, Friedman faces off against Michael Harrington, of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. In the course of his response to Harrington, Friedman surprised me—alarmed me—with views that echo my own.

"I am not an anarchist. I am not in favor of eliminating government. I believe we need a government. But we need a government that sets a framework and rules within which individuals, pursuing their own objectives, can work together and co-operate together."

"I do not believe it’s proper to put the situation as “Industrialists vs Government.” On the contrary, one of the reasons I’m in favor of less government is because when you have more government, industrialists take it over and the two together form a coalition against the ordinary worker and the ordinary consumer. I think business is a wonderful institution provided it has to face competition in the marketplace and it can’t get away with something except by producing a better product at lower cost."

this version is suitable for framing:

"My own view is that market systems are the most efficient means of allocating resources. But a free, unregulated market produces outcomes that are harmful to the commonwealth. The state is entrusted with serving the interest of the commonwealth by structuring protections against exploitative or harmful practices: safeguarding the air we breathe and water we drink; protecting workers from hazardous workplaces; protecting consumers from fraud; protecting our commerce from foreign ownership; and so on. The state sets and enforces the rules of the market, then allows the market to operate."

Where Friedman and I differ most profoundly is not on the role of the state in the market economy, but on the role of the state in supporting the vulnerable in our society: the sick, the young, the poor, the unemployed.

For Friedman, the individual is left to his own devices: You're on your own. Are you sick? Tap your savings, tap your benefits from private insurers (you know, those great altruists who have only your interests at heart?), tap your family or your employer (as long as your health is in their enlightened self-interest, they'll help you). Are you unemployed? It must be a consequence of that pernicious measure known as the minimum wage. Eliminate that and the free market for labour will allow you to find an employer willing to pay you something for your services. It might take more than one job to achieve a subsistence wage, though. Maybe three. Or make yourself more marketable by buying your education from a private college.

When the vulnerable are neglected, addiction rates rise; crime rates rise; illness, illiteracy, poverty all rise. Life expectancy falls. Our society becomes more hostile, and more suffering is packed into our shorter lives.

Friedman's warning about the corporatist state are accurate, though. For example, our current government shills shamelessly for the oil sands, and obstructs any impediments to their development, choosing corporate over commonwealth interests. That's the Calgary School of Economics at work.