Foreign Intervention: Shooting Up the Middle East


A recent post in the Vancouver Sun reported on the fact that the Canada is now supplying the Iraqi Kurds with rifles, anti-tank weapons and mortars (you can read this here). It is another act of foreign intervention on the part of a Western nation where we tell ourselves that we are promoting righteousness and justice in foreign countries.

From what I understand, the Iraqi Kurds currently are standing up for what is right. But I also know that there is a long, complex history going on here that I’ve only begun to skim the surface of. In a number of conversations with Americans, Middle Easterners and Canadians, I have been alerted to the fact there is a deep-rooted animosity in the Middle East as a result of our long history of foreign intervention.

In an article on Ron Paul’s website I read this quote from Ron Paul: “Far too often, the bombing of declared (or concocted) enemies, whether it’s the North Vietnamese, the Iraqis, the Libyans, the Sudanese, the Albanians, or the Afghans, produces precisely the opposite effect to what is sought. It kills innocent people, creates more hated toward America, unifies and stimulates the growth of the extremist Islamic movement and makes them more determined to strike back with their weapon of choice – terror.” (You can read the article here) This can be applied to arming factions in these nations as well. The deeper you dig into this matter the more you will realize how poor our decisions have been in which faction to arm and which faction to bomb. The fact is, horrors have been perpetrated in the Middle East and we are in part to blame.

Dr. Peter Leithart introduced the term “Americanism” to me while I was studying at New Saint Andrew’s College, in his highly scholarly and theological work entitled: Between Babel and Beast: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective. I was surprised to see an American theologian and pastor attacking American policies in foreign intervention. Here, he discusses how America has become the policeman for the world. He is quoted on the Calvinist International: “Even if it does not make actual converts, American empire must now ‘establish, ensure, and maintain the dominance of America’ and preserve ‘American rule-making hegemony’ (121)” (article). I would highly recommend Leithart’s book which you can find here. Of course, this attitude of control flows over into Canada as well.

In the end, I am not impressed that Canada is pouring weapons into the Middle East. Again. History has proven that often our decisions are uneducated and at best unjust. Being Canadian doesn’t make us any better than being American. The beast of terrorism is one of many heads, and every time the West arms one group, that group eventually becomes the oppressor. I hope Canadian Christians can take to heart Leithart’s exhortation to the American Churches: “Churches do not necessarily need to discourage Christians from participation in American government, or even the American military, though the churches should reserve the right to judge the justice of America’s wars and to forbid Christians from participating in unjust wars or oppressive policies.  Churches should instead encourage Christians to discover ways to turn American power toward justice, peace, and charity. (152).”

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