Mirror, mirror on the wall

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What peculiarly interesting times we are going through.

Turkey, a member of NATO, and the lynchpin to containing the disastrous emptying of the Middle East into Europe, is engaged in a major purge of any real or imagined critics of the present government. President Recep Erdogan a semi-professional footballer, former mayor of Istanbul, and former prime minister, is an archenemy of the involvement of the military in politics, and rightly so given the past history of his country. At the same time he has threatened judicial independence, failed in peace talks with Kurdish rebels, has actively supported ISIS in Iraq and Syria, breached the constitutional terms of his office by not maintaining political neutrality, violently cracked down on the press and academics, blocked access to social media and is well on his way to assuming dictatorial powers. At this point, NATO and the EU need him more than he needs them. The only question now is how far he will go in establishing a fascist style government. I reckon he will do just that. And the western democracies will go along – even if he executes his political opponents.

Speaking of NATO, I can’t help but be amused at President Obama’s pretty speech in Ottawa about the world needing Canada and chiding us for spending less than our commitment of 2 per cent GDP on our military. This, coming from a president who has shifted the USA administration’s primary approach to dealing with international terrorism from the military to intelligence agencies – heavily relying on the CIA, special operations and drone attacks. As a result, Putin has been having a field day flexing his military muscles and China has no concerns about its expansionist moves in colonizing the Far East islands.

Giving hawkishly articulate speeches while minimizing the use of his armed forces isn’t working in the area of international power politics. Under his presidency, we are witnessing the decline and fall of an American Empire. But that may change. Hillary Clinton had a history of being highly supportive of using military force as an integral part of the USA global diplomacy options. That was until she started running for president championing the Obama doctrines on domestic and foreign policy. That leaves an increasingly demoralized and cynical American citizenry to look to Donald Trump to re-establish America’s international prestige and power.

Meanwhile in Alberta, we have our own version of Trumpism. Jason Kenney has decided to save Alberta from the high spending, obscene debt accumulating NDP. He will unite the right. Well, sort of. In recounting his central role in arranging the merger of the federal Progressive Conservative Party with the Alliance Party, he pointed out that there was opposition from a small group of left leaning progressives such as Joe Clark – which he bypassed and ignored. Interesting, very interesting – as Arte Johnson used to say on the Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In TV show. It strikes me that we just got rid of the Rt. Honourable Mr. Harper and his closest associates because of their arrogance and combativeness.

After Mr. Kenney has had a chat with his sidekick Mr. Jim Prentice, he might wish to take a look in a mirror.

Alan Murdock is a local pediatrician.

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