We’re all familiar with the racial theories of Adolf Hitler and Nazism and his attempt to exterminate the Jews, the Poles, the Slavs, and other ‘inferior’ races.
World War One also had a racial basis.
Kaiser Wilhelm made any number of speeches where reference was made to the age-old struggle between Teuton and Slav. This is where some of Adolf’s attitudes probably stemmed from, exacerbated by his sense that the nation had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by ‘the November criminals,’ who had capitulated in 1918.
The truth is somewhat different. The German high command actually went to the Kaiser and informed him that further conflict was pointless and they could not hold out indefinitely against the full weight of the allies.
Victory was no longer possible, an important consideration to a certain mindset, and therefore further conflict would serve no end except the destruction of Imperial Germany and its people.
Popular journalism of the day reflected these values. Even the ‘good guys’ would speak in those terms, as if the war had anything other than an economic basis for the British Empire for example.
The enemy was popularly referred to as ‘the Hun.’ That is a racial basis.
In the first Gulf War, George Bush Sr., President of the U.S., never spoke in those terms.
Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland never spoke in those terms. No recent politician of any merit or standing ever speaks in those terms—and rightly so.
The justification for the invasion was that Saddam Hussein was a threat to world peace. He was a threat to his neighbours. Saddam had waged aggressive war, for economic ends. He invaded the Kingdom of Kuwait, and stood poised with hundreds of thousands of troops, ready to invade the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
If Saddam Hussein had taken control of Saudi oil reserves, and if no one did anything, he would have been sitting on top of about one-third to half the world’s oil reserves. Nations which did not enjoy energy self-sufficiency would have had no choice but to do business with him. There is no doubt in this writer’s mind that Saddam would have continued to buy arms and wage aggressive war in the region, all with a view to the eventual destruction of Israel.
No responsible leader in the Coalition ever expressed the justification for war and invasion in racial terms.
It was never expressed in religious or cultural terms. While it is true that dictators always try to fool the outside world and use ‘legalistic’ and ‘parliamentary’ terms in the acquisition and use of their power, the Coalition had a few things going for it in the legal sense.
In terms of international law, the United Nations passes resolutions. In the event, they may try to enforce those resolutions, and force is always the last resort in this consultative political body. The United Nations is an international body, composed of almost two hundred countries. The United Nations and their predecessors, the League of Nations, has the sanction of time. Its stated goals are not warlike.
You cannot stand up in the United Nations today and make a speech, and outline the justification for war and lay it all out in racial, religious and cultural terms.
You would be laughed, booed and jeered out of the building.
It is true that there is such a thing as bigotry. There are probably still world leaders who are personally bigots.
Yet they also know they can’t get away with it openly—not in the context of modern world political culture.
We’re too close together now. We do business with each other, we invest in each other’s industrial development. We understand each other a little better now than we did fifty or a hundred years ago.
The world really is a better place for it, isn’t it?
No serious businessman can afford to exhibit bigotry or prejudice in racial, religious or cultural terms, for word will get around and sooner or later no one will do business with you.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a kind of justice.
What is disturbing is when certain anti-social elements in our society and in other societies, begin to express things in terms of bigotry. You’ve probably heard some of them talk.
|The choice is ours.|
Islam is not a threat to the culture of the West.
Western secularism is not a threat to Islam.
They have peacefully coexisted, for long periods of time, without major conflict.
I would submit that the continuous conflict in the Middle East may have some racial, religious and cultural overtones, but the reason, the justification, is economic.
With millions of displaced people in the region, with no hope of economic justice for the Palestinians in sight, it would appear that conflict is inevitable. It is a question of an equitable distribution of the resources. The major stumbling block is land—land for the Palestinians and land for the Israelis.
We’re not going to have a solution in the Middle East until the question of economic justice has been addressed. After that it will take some generations before the hatred, the fear, the distrust, begins to fade.
Only then will there be peace in the region.
No one goes to war because someone else’s skin is the wrong colour, or their culture is somehow wrong, or that their religion is somehow a big threat to our own beliefs. Deep down inside, political leaders know that is nonsense and has no real economic benefits except to generate another war.
Wars are, and have always been, fought for economic ends, and the second greatest cause of war is self-defense. I say that because we always have a choice as to whether we go to war or not.
The other option might be to let the enemy, who intends to exterminate you, come in and take over without resistance. Naturally this a hard sell, and of course no one ever does it.
Domestically, we still have bigotry, and prejudice, and knee-jerk reactions. We have our fears and concerns.
Our leaders should look beyond that, and have the maturity not to feed and fuel those fears. For the most part, here in Canada, they do a pretty good job of that, and I for one am thankful.
There are no inferior races.
There are no inferior cultures.
The basis for all modern war is economic. The civil war in Rwanda and the Balkans War aren’t really exceptions, in the sense that inferior peoples were exterminated in so-called ‘ethnic cleansing.’ But bear in mind that a country depopulated offers economic benefits to the dominant race or belief system. The leaders still had to justify their aggression, and sometimes their electorate is unsophisticated, intolerant, and riddled with irrational fears which can be manipulated using mass media.