November 04, 2003

Oh, man...

I think I lost my temper a bit for the first time since coming to Canada, tonight. Well, I didn't completely lose my temper, but I did, I fear, raise my voice in anger. It was over politics, actually -- the justification for the war in Iraq and all that.

So, here is where I say what I wanted to say then: Rulers have no legitimate sovereignty unless the people popularly elect them. The US, Canada, and France are among free nations, even if they often disagree. Saudi Arabia, North Korea and (up until 6 months ago) Iraq are not. People everywhere deserve to be free. I believe (and this is by no means held by most Americans or even most hawks) that if a nation has the power to free people, it has the moral obligation to do so. The WMD debate has largely passed me by, because that's not the reason I thought we should go to war in the first place.

Nevertheless, we were legally justified in invading Iraq as well. The First Gulf War ended in a cease-fire under the conditions that Saddam cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors. He didn't (we nearly went to war over this in 1998, when You-Know-Who was President). He broke the ceasefire, and we had every legal right to invade. The other argument was self-defense; that Saddam was cooperating with terrorists and that if he were not removed, his weapons would end up in the hands of groups like al-Qaida and result in another terrorist attack on the homeland. I thought this argument was weakest, but it's the one the Administration put forward the most.

Anyway, I feel sometimes that Canadians (and the world in general) don't give us any slack. I think that's the reason for a lot of US resentment towards France and other industrialized nations that didn't support us; not that they opposed us but that it seems they were assuming that our motives were greed and powerlust. That's what stings -- the assumption that the people of the United States, simply because we're a bit farther to the right than most first world nations, have some fascist-like uber-loyalty to George W. and just naturally want to take over the world.

It was especially disheartening when Canada didn't follow us, because we see them as a little brother -- and I mean that not in a patronizing way but just in the sense that we're just really close. We're each other's biggest trading partner, we have the longest undefended border in the world, we can enter each other's lands without even a passport -- it's as if you were punched in the face by some bully and your little brother, standing right there, pretended he didn't hear anything.

I love Canada. If you told me I couldn't live in Michigan for some reason, I would probably move to Ontario. And one of the reasons I came to school here was to learn a different mindset -- what it's like to grow up in the shadow of a hyperpower almost 10 times your size. Americans have a problem with pride sometimes, and I wanted to get outside that domestic bubble for a while. It's been great, but it's stressful at times. I realize I'm pretty far right even in the US, so I'm probably not in the mainstream of Canadian politics. Certainly not on healthcare, anyway....

Posted by Tim at November 4, 2003 01:58 AM

On the war, here is one person living in Canada who agrees with you. And, I would argue, agrees with you from the left.

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at November 5, 2003 07:35 PM
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