Canada Follows US into the New Cold War at Own Peril

Canada has been one of the most active NATO members in Ukraine

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Ricochet is a new progressive left Canadian publication.

This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at Ricochet

Canada has been an enthusiastic partner with the U.S. and European Union in supporting the right-wing government that came into power in Ukraine last February, following the overthrow of the elected president.

The new government went to war against its population in the east of the country (the region called Donbas) in April.

That was its response to popular demands for more political autonomy and democracy for the region. Kyiv calls its war an “anti-terrorist operation.”

Kyiv would have carried a war into Crimea as well, where opposition to the new government was also very high. But the population there took a decisive step to prevent that by voting on March 16 to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

Canada has been supplying military equipment to Kyiv, and the first Canadian military personnel have hit the ground in Ukraine, in a contingent of ten military police. Canada and Ukraine have signed an agreement providing for Canadian military personnel to commence a support role for the Ukrainian armed forces.

The agreement falls outside the framework of NATO and explicitly states that it also falls outside of any existing international treaties or conventions of war.

Welcome to the new cold war.

Who is accusing Russia?

The ‘blame Russia’ scenario is at odds with the facts of the situation in Ukraine. Dispelling its ideological grip over discourse of Ukraine requires examination of the credentials of the accusers. It’s now official that the lead country egging the Kyiv government on to war — the U.S. — is a rogue torture state.

That’s the inescapable conclusion of a U.S. Senate report released on Dec. 9. A heavily redacted 528-page summary of the full report, prepared by the body’s so-called Intelligence Committee and released to the public, is primarily concerned with the fact that torture didn’t produce great results in obtaining information.

The Guardian reports that 20 European states are likely complicit in the U.S. policy of illegal detentions and torture. At least three NATO member countries — Romania, Lithuania and Poland — are known to have hosted CIA torture centres on their territories.

The Canadian government is trying to evade the stain of association with the U.S. government and CIA policy depicted in the report. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced,

“This is a report of the United States government. It has nothing to do with Canada.”

But the record is clear and shows otherwise. Canada has a disgraceful record of complicity, if not collaboration, with the U.S. torture program in Afghanistan and in other countries.

Its varied record of complicity in torture is detailed in a Dec. 11 Toronto Star column by Haroon Siddiqui. To this can be added the 2011 directive by the federal government to Canada’s spy agency, CSIS, that it may henceforth use evidence obtained by torture from foreign governments or police agencies to guide its work.

Canada and allies on a dangerous and provocative course

Eastern Europe’s growing military buildup against Russia, to which Canada has contributed a warship, fighter aircraft and soldiers, now sees Canadian boots on the ground in Ukraine.

It’s an exceptionally provocative and dangerous course that Canada and its allies have embarked upon.

The NATO imperialist countries are engaged in a political and military offensive in which all the peoples of the region — Ukrainian, Russian, Crimean and more — are threatened and already suffering.

The international left needs to step up efforts to provide all available assistance so that a common struggle for social justice and national and language equality can be forged. That includes opposing the economic embargoes against Russia and Crimea.

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