Canadian Prime Minister Says Taliban Cannot Ever Be Defeated
Ottawa Citizen: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has had plenty to say lately about the West’s intervention in Afghanistan, much of it imminently sensible and overdue. No wonder the Americans are paying attention.
But it’s important for Harper to have this conversation directly with the Canadian people, who sense that our Afghanistan policy is evolving but in a direction that is not entirely clear.
In recent days, first at his press conference with U.S. President Barack Obama and then in a CNN interview, Harper has incrementally let Americans know that Canada could be pulling back from a security role in Afghanistan and redirecting efforts toward training and development. He also made it clear that the Canadian government wants to know the U.S. “strategy for success and for an eventual departure” in Afghanistan.
Harper clearly understands that Canada’s role in Afghanistan will be a costly albatross for his party as he prepares them for a possible spring or summer election campaign. With the global economy in a complete tailspin and core sectors of Canada’s economy at a virtual standstill (tar sands oil and automotive manufacturing) Harper needs to start trimming spending and the Afghanistan mission will be very difficult to defend in a time when 1000’s of Canadians are losing their jobs and homes.
Even though it is an unpopular statement I believe the majority of the free world now realizes that the Taliban and Al Qaeda will never be defeated in a meaningful enough way to make a difference to Middle East peace. As president Obama stated recently, the western world has to start listening to ALL stakeholders in the Middle East. Not just Israel and Saudi Arabia. Middle East peace will NEVER be achieved without everyone at the table, as difficult as it may be.