No 2350 Posted by fw, August 12, 2018
“Riyadh’s aggressive response to Canada’s diplomatic slap-on-the-wrist reflects the growing power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Through militarism and the promotion of a virulent Saudi nationalism, bin Salman is seeking to strengthen Riyadh’s role as a regional hegemon allied with Washington. That being said, Ottawa’s attempt to pose as a defender of human rights reeks of hypocrisy and cynicism. The reality is that the Trudeau government, like its Liberal and Conservative predecessors, has invoked “human rights” to justify a series of violent Canadian imperialist military interventions around the globe.” —Roger Jordan, World Socialist Web Site
Roger Jordan dissects what’s behind the squabbling between Ottawa and Riyadh, the Saudi capital.
In addition, Jordan analyzes the fallout from the rift on the home front: Conservatives denounce Freeland and Trudeau for putting human rights ahead of national security; Unifor union bosses worry that human rights concerns will trump the Saudi arms deal, trade, and cut into members’ dues if workers are laid off; and, On the other hand, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh applauds Liberals for what amount to “posturing as a defender of ‘human rights.’”
“Singh’s remarks,” says Jordan in his closing sentence, “underscore how the NDP serves as a key prop of Canadian imperialist foreign policy and of the interests of an important section of the ruling elite which views human rights propaganda as a useful means to advance its economic and geo-strategic interests in the Middle East and around the world.”
Below is my repost of Roger Jordan’s excellent analysis, including added subheadings and text highlighting. Alternatively read his piece on the WSWS website by clicking on the following linked title.
Chrystia Freeland’s tweet stirs a diplomatic standoff between Canada and Saudi Arabia
The diplomatic standoff between Canada and Saudi Arabia that was triggered by a Twitter post late last week by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland shows no sign of abating.
Ottawa agitated by Washington’s refusal to curb the Saudis
Riyadh has announced sweeping measures to punish Ottawa for Freeland’s hypocritical criticisms of the absolutist regime’s human rights abuses. The vehemence of the Saudi reaction has stunned Canada’s Justin Trudeau-led Liberal government and elite. But what has most perturbed, even roiled, Ottawa is Washington’s refusal to take any steps to rein in its Saudi ally.
Saudi’s arrest of women’s right activists, including Canadian citizen triggered Freeland’s tweet
The row erupted when Freeland tweeted her alarm at the news that Saudi security forces had arrested women’s rights activists, including Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Ralph Badawi, whose wife is a Canadian citizen.
Was the tweet Ottawa’s clumsy effort to deflect public attention from Canadian-Saudi economic, political ties?
Freeland’s post was a continuation of the Liberal government’s efforts to conceal Canada’s substantial economic ties with, and political support, for the Saudi dictatorship—including a massive $15 billion arms deal—behind vacuous human rights propaganda.
Saudi regime struck back — quick and hard
But to Ottawa’s shock and dismay, the Saudi regime chose to take great umbrage at Freeland’s post. Denouncing the Trudeau government for interfering in its “internal affairs,” Riyadh has kicked Canada’s ambassador out of the country, ordered 7,000 Saudi foreign students to leave Canada, suspended flights to the country of the Saudi national airline, vowed to prevent future commercial deals with Canadian companies, and ordered a fire-sale of Saudi-owned Canadian assets.
Saudi policy did not allow the dispute to affect its oil exports to Canada
For several days it was unclear whether the 75,000 barrels of oil that Saudi Arabia exports to Canada daily would be affected. But on Thursday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Riyadh has a “firm and longstanding policy” that political disputes should not impact on its oil sales.
Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia is “one of the world’s most vicious and repressive dictatorships”
A close ally of US imperialism in its predatory wars across the Middle East and preparations for war with Iran, Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most vicious and repressive dictatorships. It regularly beheads prisoners and arrests dissidents at home, while waging a near genocidal war in neighbouring Yemen that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and displaced millions.
The aggressive response to Canada reflects attempt to strengthen Saudi’s role as regional hegemon with US
Riyadh’s aggressive response to Canada’s diplomatic slap-on-the-wrist reflects the growing power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Through militarism and the promotion of a virulent Saudi nationalism, bin Salman is seeking to strengthen Riyadh’s role as a regional hegemon allied with Washington.
Trudeau invoked “human rights” to justify violent Canadian imperialist military interventions around the globe
That being said, Ottawa’s attempt to pose as a defender of human rights reeks of hypocrisy and cynicism. The reality is that the Trudeau government, like its Liberal and Conservative predecessors, has invoked “human rights” to justify a series of violent Canadian imperialist military interventions around the globe. [including, for example –]
Trudeau’s hypocritical grandstanding in the face of Saudi reprisals
Meanwhile Canada’s elite’s worry that Washington “is intent on redefining its relationship with Ottawa”
However, the Canadian elite’s biggest concern over the developments of the past week is that they have provided yet further proof that Washington is intent on redefining its relationship with Ottawa.
Canada’s media see Washington’s neutral statement as slat in the face for Ottawa
When asked to comment on the Canada-Saudi dispute, the US State Department, in a carefully-worded statement, described both Canada and Saudi Arabia as important partners, and pointedly refused to either criticize Riyadh for the jailing of the women’s rights activists or urge it to withdraw any of its retaliatory measures. This has been interpreted in the Canadian media as a slap in the face for Canada given Ottawa’s decades-long strategic partnership with US imperialism, including in the NATO alliance and through NORAD, and its prominent role in the current American military-strategic offensives in the Middle East and against Russia and China. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s purported “newspaper of record,” led its Wednesday edition with the front page headline, “US refuses to back Canada in Saudi Arabia dispute.”
Washington is more interested in advancing its “global predatory ambitions” and in Saudi support of war drive against Iran
Washington’s refusal to sign on to Freeland’s hypocritical criticism of the Saudis’ human rights record reflects the fact that under Trump, US imperialism has all but dispensed with any attempt to conceal its global predatory ambitions behind a cloak of “humanitarian” propaganda. More fundamentally, Washington clearly does not see it to be in its interests to ruffle feathers in Riyadh. Not when it is expecting Saudi Arabia to play a vital role in its war drive against Iran, both by ramping up oil production to compensate for the unilateral US embargo on Iranian oil exports and to spearhead a military coalition of Arab Sunni states against Tehran.
As well, Trump wants Canada to be more accommodating to US interests
By striking a pose of neutrality in the Canada-Saudi dispute, the Trump administration has reiterated the message it has already spelt out in the NAFTA “renegotiation” and through its demand Ottawa increase military spending far above the Liberals’ planned 70 percent hike by 2026: if the Canadian bourgeoisie wants to continue to enjoy a privileged partnership with Washington it will have to be still more accommodating to US interests.
The post-Second World War, American-led capitalist world order is unravelling
The growing rift between Canada and the US is part of a much broader unravelling of the post-Second World War, American-led capitalist world order.
Under conditions of deepening economic crisis, all of the imperialist powers, Canada included, are seeking to aggressively assert their interests, through intrigue, diplomatic power-plays, protectionist measures, rearmament and war, in a struggle for markets and profits that is being waged increasingly openly as each against all.
Significantly, Canada’s European allies are sitting on their hands
Significantly, none of Canada’s ostensible European allies has come to its support in the dispute with the Saudi absolutist regime.
[Fallout on the home front from the Canada-Saudi rift]
Conservatives denounce Freeland, Trudeau for putting human rights ahead of national security
The diplomatic spat with Riyadh has also brought divisions in Canadian ruling circles to the fore. Leading Conservative Party figures, emboldened by corporate Canada’s growing criticism of the Trudeau government, have denounced Freeland and Trudeau for allowing human rights concerns to get in the way of “national security” considerations.
For Unifor union, Saudi arms deal and trade, and income from workers’ dues, trump human rights
The Unifor trade union has also expressed concern, lest the dispute impact its involvement in the $15 billion arms deal with Riyadh. Unifor is the bargaining agent for workers at the General Dynamics’ plant in London, Ontario, where the armoured vehicles are built. In 2015, after then NDP leader Thomas Mulcair criticized the Saudi arms deal in the hopes it would boost the party’s flagging election campaign, Unifor officials prevailed on the social democrats to drop the issue like a lead balloon.
“There is an absolute clear and present risk to jobs,” declared Unifor Local 27 President Jim Reid this week following Riyadh’s threat to cut commercial ties with Canada.
Far from being concerned about the fate of the General Dynamics’ workers, Unifor, which has spent the past three decades imposing vicious concessions and job cuts on workers in auto and other sectors, fears the impact the unraveling of the Saudi arms deal would have on its dues income.
However, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh applauds Liberals “for its posturing as a defender of ‘human rights’”
On the other hand, the Trudeau government has won plaudits from the NDP for its posturing as a defender of “human rights.” Issuing not a word of criticism over the bogus character of the Trudeau government’s humanitarian credentials, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh told CBC, “There are other nations we can look at in terms of access to oil. I think we should look at that as an alternative to dealing with a nation that has a serious track record of human rights violations …”
“… that Canadian imperialism can be a protagonist for human rights on the world stage is both absurd and deeply reactionary”
Singh’s suggestion that Canadian imperialism can be a protagonist for human rights on the world stage is both absurd and deeply reactionary. It comes from the leader of a party that has endorsed every Canadian imperialist military intervention over the past two decades. Singh’s remarks underscore how the NDP serves as a key prop of Canadian imperialist foreign policy and of the interests of an important section of the ruling elite which views human rights propaganda as a useful means to advance its economic and geo-strategic interests in the Middle East and around the world.
Unifor demands NDP keep silent on Canada-Saudi Arabia arms deal October 13, 2015
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