A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hmmm....something's missing...

...I wonder what it could be? Perhaps objectivity? But more to the point, I'm sure many of you have wandered over to CTV by now and seen this wonderful little gem of a story. Apparently, according to a BBC poll that examined global attitudes towards various countries, Canada tops the list in a world popularity poll. Now, I won't delve into refutations and rebuttals of those who would claim we have' sullied' our image in international affairs due to recent stands on certain issues. However, I would like to make a few comments on the results of this poll.

"...Israel had the worst rating with only 17 per cent sharing a positive view of the country and 56 per cent with a negative rating. For Iran, 18 per cent were positive and 54 per cent negative."

It seems appropriate to seriously call into question the line of reasoning employed by those who would equate an islamofascist, terrorist state that is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons with a secular, democratic one which requires a strong military in order to continue to exist. Yes, Israel has nuclear weapons too (allegedly), but then again Israel has never threatened the complete and utter nuclear annihilation of any of its Islamic neighbors, despite their opposition to Israel's very existence (Oh, and then there's that whole 'democracy and freedom' thing that they have going on: it sort of gives them an edge over dictatorial autocrats when it comes to who I trust with nuclear capabilities). The moral equivocating that must be going on in these people's minds is astounding. Robert 'f**k the Jews' McLelland would be proud.

"...The United States had the third highest negative rating with 51 per cent citing the country as negative and 30 per cent positive. North Korea had a slightly better rating than the U.S. -- 48 per cent negative and 19 per cent positive."

Again, what more is really there to say? An oppressive nation run by a small-minded dictator who is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and threatening world peace is viewed as equivalent to the nation which has upheld the world's right to freedom and democracy for most of the last century. Thankfully, the US is viewed slightly more positively (30 percent compared to 19 percent), but still equally as negatively as North Korea.

To seriously compare the two countries side by side and not see a clear difference in their global contributions is simply ridiculous. Have we really forgotten the price of freedom in this world, so much so that we now equate the sinister and oppressive with those who would try their best (and admittedly sometimes fail) to protect freedom and democracy for all peoples of the globe? It seems that even gross human rights violators such as China get a passing bill in this poll.

Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (who administered this poll along with pollster GlobeScan) had this to say:

"..Countries that relate to the world primarily through soft power, like France and Japan and the EU in general, tend to be viewed positively," he told the Associated Press."

Have you ever thought about how children like their parents better when they are given free rein to do the sorts of things that they really shouldn't do? 'Cool' parents might pride themselves on how they get along great with their kids because they don't hold them accountable for their actions. But as any good parent knows, to raise your child to be mature, responsible, and capable of getting along with others, you need to punish them when they act inappropriately. Otherwise, they grow up to be spoiled brats who throw temper tantrums when they don't get what they want (Or, you know, maybe try to enrich uranium instead).

If you're one of those types who would balk at this paternalistic view, then think of the analogy as being between a concerned friend and their troubled pal; the result is the same. If you don't tell your friend to pack off when they treat you poorly, you've given then license to treat you as a doormat indefinitely. Unfortunately, it seems that those polled seemed to be more concerned with minding their own business and not rocking the boat than with doing what is right.

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