Saturday, April 16, 2016

Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

A version of this sent to The Globe and Mail, May 8, 2016. Unpublished.

Plans are under way for a sale of $15-billion dollars worth of light armoured vehicles from a Canadian manufacturer to Saudi Arabia.

Objections to the transaction have emerged. Cited are Saudi Arabia's human rights record, its execution rate, its war in Yemen, and the fear the vehicles may be used against its own people.

By those criteria, Canada should suspend trade with China. That nation's human rights record is a source of shame, it will not reveal its execution rate believed to be high,  it has waged war and occupied Tibet, and it has used tanks against its own people in Tienanmen Square.

By those criteria, Canada should suspend trade with the United States. That nation's human rights record against its black citizens is a source of shame, its execution rate is on the same level as that of Saudi Arabia, it has attacked and/or exploited every nation in the Western Hemisphere, and is currently equipping its municipal police forces with surplus military light armoured vehicles for use against its own people.

The objections are a confusion of morality, law, politics and business. Trade with Muslim countries continued during the so-called Crusades. Need we love those with whom we do business? Need we approve of their behaviour? And they of ours? We should not hesitate to deal with the devil it it redounded to our benefit.

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