Canada must act for peace, not war

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Glenn Michalchuk, speaking on behalf of Peace Alliance Winnipeg, at the 38th Annual Winnipeg Walk for Peace, June 22, 2019. Photo: Paul S. Graham

Statement of Peace Alliance Winnipeg
June 22, 2019 38th Walk for Peace

The world is reaching a tipping point in terms of the growing danger of major conflict between the world’s main economic and military powers. It is as dangerous as the threat imposed by climate change. In some respect the two dangers have the same root cause – the anti-people actions of the present order. Canada has a choice to make. Canada either continues its support for the U.S., NATO and the Western alliance in escalating tensions or strikes a new course, independent and aligned with the interests of peace, international cooperation and development.

The Danger of War is Real and Growing

Increasingly the U.S. is demanding that its Western allies align with its economic and military objectives against China and Russia. It has raised economic war as a prelude to military war. In 2017, the U.S. enacted the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act as a vehicle to impose sanctions on anything considered a threat to U.S. interests.

China and the U.S. are locked in a trade war. Canada has become embroiled in this through the U.S. request to arrest and extradite Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. As part of its strategy to attack China economically the U.S. is demanding its allies not use China’s Huawei in the provision of next generation telecommunications technology; some, though not all, of America’s allies are following its lead. As well, last year 27 out of 28 of the EU’s national ambassadors signed a report claiming that China’s Belt and Road trade initiative was disruptive to European interests.

The economic tensions have their corresponding military tensions. The U.S. has just completed a sale of sophisticated weaponry to Taiwan. This, combined with an escalating U.S. military presence in South Asia begun under President Obama, is aimed at preparing for military conflict with China.

NATO is the spearhead of Western interests against Russia. NATO expansion into Eastern Europe has ramped up tensions with Russia. The tensions have sparked the war in Ukraine, as well as confrontations in the Black Sea and Crimea. The United States is threatening the imposition of sanctions on European companies if they co-operate in building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to transport Russian natural gas. At the same time Trump made the threat of sanctions he also announced sending more U.S. troops to Poland.

The Targets Are Many

The anti-people agenda has many targets. It cannot allow any opposition to neoliberalism and the pursuit of profit. Against Venezuela it has launched economic war through the imposition of ever stronger sanctions in the hope of destabilizing the Maduro government. Venezuela, which has done more for its indigenous people than Canada or the U.S., is labelled a pariah. Canada and Europe have followed U.S. dictates and imposed sanctions of their own. Canada and Europe also followed the U.S. lead in declaring Juan Guaido as the President of Venezuela in the hope this would lead to the overthrow of Maduro.

Democratic rights and freedoms are interpreted as needed to suit western interests. Venezuela is targeted by the West while Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other states are given a free pass. The persecution of the Palestinian people and denial of a homeland carries on with little international reprobation.

Certain principles embody the movement for Peace

Genuine peace can only be built on a foundation of co-operation and respect between nations and a commitment to nonviolence. Rather than sanctioning democratically elected governments, such as Canada has been doing with Venezuela, Canada should be offering to help. Instead of selling arms to notorious human rights violators, such as Saudi Arabia, Canada should be working for international disarmament and turning its war industries to peaceful purposes.

War and climate change are linked. A new study by researchers at Durham and Lancaster Universities shows that if the US military were a nation state it would be the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Clearly, world peace and disarmament would make a major contribution to reducing climate change.

There isn’t anything we, as individuals, can do about the US and other major militaries of the world. But we can, and we must, take responsibility for the actions of our government.

This is the year that we must make peace and disarmament an election issue!

If you agree, please work with us.

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