Bomb, Sanction, Repeat

Canada recently announced a new round of sanctions on Syria. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that 17 high-ranking officials in the government of President Bashar al-Assad will be subject to an asset freeze and dealings prohibition.

“Canada is working with its allies to put an end to the war in Syria and to hold those responsible to account,” Freeland said. “Today’s announcement of additional sanctions against key officials in the Syrian regime sends a strong, unified message to the Assad regime that their war crimes will not be tolerated and that they will be held accountable for their actions.”

Ok. Nice boilerplate rationale.  Nevermind there is serious global disagreement of who is doing what over in Syria.  All that mattered to Freeland and Trudeau was that Canada appear in lock-step with Trump’s America. It’s just another act of Canada going to Washington on bended knee to satisfy our business lobby who want unfettered trade access, no matter what the consequence to Canada as a country. The fact that most of our business lobby are American branch plants only adds more insult to this weak-minded foreign policy.

Thomas Woodley had a recent article talking about our double standard on applying sanctions. “Canada maintains its sanctions against Belarus, while turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and their appalling records on human rights. Canada even goes so far as to ink a deal worth billions with Saudi Arabia, a serial human rights abuser. Similarly, Canada sanctions Iran for its purported nuclear intents, while repeatedly shielding known nuclear power Israel from the requirements of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

But wait, weren’t things suppose to change under Trudeau?  An article back in 2011, under the former Harper regime, outlined who  Canada placed sanctioned on. Comparing the list to today shows very little difference.

Sanctions Under Harper Sanctions Under Trudeau
Belarus Belarus
Burma (also known as Myanmar) Burma (also known as Myanmar)
Côte d’Ivoire Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo Côte d’Ivoire
Egypt Côte d’Ivoire
Eritrea Eritrea
Iran Iran
Iraq Iraq
Lebanon Lebanon
Liberia Liberia
Libya Libya
North Korea North Korea
Sierra Leone Russia
Somalia Somalia
Sudan South Sudan
Syria Sudan
Tunisia Syria
  Zimbabwe Tunisia
Ukraine
Yemen
Tunisia

Mapping out Canada’s sanctions also clearly shows our geopolitical alignment with much of our targets being in the Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa:

It just so happens that many of Canada’s military deployments are in the same regions:

So, to summarize: We help bomb these regions, and then help strangle them economically. Is this the work of a respectable nation who believes in peace and global stability?  And worst of all, most Canadians are unaware of what the government is doing in our names and citizens have little say in what we are doing because the decisions are made behind closed doors with lobbyists.

It’s just another reason that it’s time we democratize our foreign policy.