Whole of West should toast Harper poll win

By Robin Shepherd, June 16, 2011
Principled stance: Stephen Harper

Principled stance: Stephen Harper

At the Conservative Convention in Canada last week, newly re-elected Prime Minister Stephen Harper laid it out for all to see. Canada, denied a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council last year because of its uniquely principled stance on Israel, was not going to conduct its foreign policy by trying to "please every dictator with a vote at the United Nations", as the Calgary Herald reported him as saying.

"We know where our interests lie and who our friends are and we take strong, principled positions in our dealings with other nations, whether popular or not… That is what the world can count on from Canada."

Thus spoke the most pro-Israeli head of government in the Western world. Last November he again made the headlines by saying: "When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand."

With Stephen Harper, it's a common theme. Why does he do it?

There are strong echoes of Harper's stance in the words and thoughts of former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, who also consistently proffers a two-pronged argument for standing up for Israel: Do it because it's right, and if you can't do it because it's right at least do it because it's in your interests.

If ever the case for Israel is going to be won in the chancelleries of the West, it is that latter argument that needs to be driven home. (Of course, it would be delightful if they could be persuaded of the moral argument, but let's not hold our breath.)

What Harper has understood and internalised is that Israel not only stands on the front line of a battle against Islamist extremism that simultaneously threatens all of us, it is the very embodiment of Western values in a sea of pre-modern political-cultures and despotisms, the falsely named "Arab Spring" notwithstanding.

Should Israel fall, it would, therefore, not simply be a disaster for the Jewish people, it would represent a potentially decisive (world-historic, even) victory for the forces of barbarism. Does anyone really believe, for example, that Iran 's ambitions would be satisfied by the fall of the "Zionist entity"? Can anyone doubt that the defeat of the Jewish people would do anything other than embolden and energise the enemies of the West to go for more?

These are the kinds of questions that haunt Stephen Harper's thinking, marking him out as the most inspirational Western leader of our day and giving hope to those who might often be forgiven for thinking that it's all a lost cause.

Harper is showing the way, now it's up to others to follow his lead.

Robin Shepherd is owner/publisher of The Commentator. www.thecommentator.com

Last updated: 1:59pm, June 16 2011