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If establishment media be the bellwether, whatever remained of personal agency and responsibility have apparently vanished with Donald Trump in the White House.
From MAGA hat kid Nick Sandmann, pilloried for provoking a Native elder with his cap, to Iran’s mullahs who obviously had no other choice but to down a commercial jet because Trump ordered a drone strike killing their “revered general”; Trump-derangement is real.
So here we are in clown world where facts, circumstances or assuming any responsibilities go right out the window every time the press smells a calamity they can pin on the U.S. president.
At 6:12 a.m. (Tehran time) on January 8, four hours after Iran ended its missile bombardment of two Iraqi military bases housing NATO forces, Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 bound for Kyiv was cleared for takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport.
Minutes later, shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile launched inside Iran disabled an engine on the 737-800, which ultimately caught fire before the plane slammed into the outskirts of Tehran, killing all 176 aboard including 57 Canadians.
Despite these facts at hand; the flight’s origin point, its clearance for takeoff by Iran’s aviation officials and then its inglorious takedown by one of the regime’s surface-to-air missile batteries; many in Canadian media were hell-bent to pin this atrocity on the U.S. president.
CBC’s newly-minted Washington correspondent Katie Simpson set the table Thursday for what came next during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s afternoon press conference.
Simpson caged Iran’s downing of the passenger jet as “unintended consequences” of Trump’s decision six days prior to blast the Islamic regime’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani all over Baghdad’s airport parking lot.
At this juncture, it’s worth mentioning that Quds Force has been a “listed terrorist entity” by Public Safety Canada – our version of homeland security – since 2012.
Nevertheless, following Trudeau’s Thursday remarks–that available intelligence suggested flight 752 was victim of an Iranian surface-to-air missile–Simpson’s state broadcasting minions and other likeminded reporters hounded the PM about U.S. culpability.
The first blame Trump/USA volley came from Quebec media: “To what extent do you consider that the United States has a share of responsibility considering that it created the situation in which this incident happened?”
Next up was CBC’s David Cochrane: “If the intelligence is accurate, then it seems this is the end result of a sequence of events that was sparked by the drone strike ordered by the U.S. President… how much responsibility does the United States bear for this tragedy?”
Then Reuters’ Steve Scherer took a crack: “Given the tensions in the area were the cause of a drone strike by the United States, do you think that the United States is at least partially responsible for this tragedy?”
Fourth and finally, a more subtle volley from National Post’s Maura Forrest:
“I just wonder what you think Canadian families of the victims must be feeling now, knowing that there is a good possibility that their loved ones have been caught up in this dispute between the US and Iran?”
Defence Minister Harjet Sajjan’s icy glare at reporters who asked these questions, then his side glances at Trudeau were telling.
As Sajjan is on record describing Soleimani’s killing as “an act of deterrence”–in line with NATO officialdom–it’s as if he were projecting, say no, Justin. Just say no, god dammit!
Unfortunately, Trudeau came off unclear in his answers, failing to quash any notion he blamed the U.S., missing a golden opportunity to bolster sagging relations with our American ally, and proffer a much-needed statecraft lesson to lamestream’s Trump-deranged.
What Trudeau should’ve said:
Absolutely not. Neither Trump nor the United States are responsible for the downing of this aircraft. Individual states are responsible for their own actions–United States for the U.S., Iran for Iran, Canada for Canada, and so on. Accident or no accident, Iran bears complete responsibility for the fate of flight 752.
Instead our prime minister left this door of conjecture wide open, insofar as Canada’s official position on where blame should squarely lay. And for this ambiguity, he was subsequently skewered.
Statecraft or the “skillful management of state affairs/statesmanship” as the Oxford Concise defines it, touches Canadian lives in so many ways–from trade relations to matters of immigration and the free movement of our citizens holding Canadian passports, to name but a few.
Inside the statecraft game, individual nations attempt to advance their interests in a contest that never ceases and for which every state is an active, 24/7 player, whether they want to be or not.
Stronger and richer nations have more leverage than smaller, poorer ones and because of this power imbalance, state players align along mutual interests; NATO is one example of such alignments, the Arab League, OPEC and the G20 are others.
And some states are more active than others, in an array of military, trade or foreign-aid goals all of which reap consequences when these intersect with the interests of others.
In Iran’s case, it has become an international pariah for making terrorism among its primary trade exports.
Terror groups like Hezbollah are part of Iran’s alignment axis; Houthi rebels in Yemen another. The country is also an OPEC member.
Before United States took out Soleimani, over the past year he orchestrated the downing of an American drone, the commandeering of foreign-flagged vessels in the Persian Gulf and a missile attack from Yemen on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.
Most recently and egregiously; Soleimani organized an assault on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad; graffiti left by Iranian-backed militia who layed siege on the compound even tagged its walls: they followed Soleimani.
And it is this spate of bellicosity that precipitated Trump’s decision to remove him from the battlefield; a stark reminder for anyone still confused about what America First means, or the consequences for threatening U.S. interests.
America First is not a campaign slogan, but Trump doctrine that U.S. allies and enemies would do well to pay heed.
Trump has made America’s and its citizens safety and prosperity paramount and to fulfill this mandate he has stated plainly, and acted boldly on what in principle is any nation’s default, statecraft position.
Now this has sorely rubbed journalists, their pals in academia who ballyhoo liberal internationalism as if it were gospel, and even Barack Obama acolytes like former U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, who never misses a Canadian media opportunity to bash Trump.
Meanwhile Canada has Trudeau, whose brand of leadership offers stark contrast to Trump’s.
Many of our prime minister’s loudest detractors have said and will continue to say that unlike Trump, Trudeau puts Canadians secondary when it comes to a range of policies, from climate change to immigration.
And by not repudiating the idea that Trump is responsible for Canadians killed by Iranian hands, the prime minister once again invites criticism that he prefers his anti-Trump brand over any other consideration.
At a time when Canadians deserve the minimum of clarity Sajjan offered after Soleimani’s killing, shame on Trudeau.