Canada has always been a part of U.S. imperial ambitions, in spite of our pretensions otherwise. Locked in as we are to the U.S. economy and our dollar only relevant in comparison to the US$, up until the Harper regime Canada was able to maintain that pretense. Our NATO political alignment, the NAFTA trade agreement, the North American Aerospace Defence Command - formerly NORAD - are a few big ticket acronyms that have kept us united and generally subordinated.
After achieving majority power in the last election, the Harper neoConservatives have been open advocates for causes that support U.S. imperial interests. That is not surprising when the history and roots of the Reform Party - Alliance Party - born again Conservative party - is examined. The strong attachments that the neoCons have to the U.S. Republican party has been well covered recently (see Party of One, Michael Harris, Viking, 2014; The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy, Yves Engler, Fernwood Publishing, 2009; among many others).The neoCons share the Republican's fundamentalist, right wing 'might is right', less government, corporate power agenda - and the electoral methodologies used to gain and stay in power.
Now that the U.S. has increased the 'arc of instability' and made it into its 'empire of chaos', Canada is either front running the hubris leading this, or is a perfectly willing assistant to creating chaos. A series of recent events highlights this in the financial world as well as in the military geopolitical world.
King Abdullah, "proponent for peace"
Yes, our great ally Saudi Arabia, has lost its monarch. So sad. The Saudis and our relationship to them are the height of hypocrisy and double standards.
This is the country that supported Bahrain in violently crushing the peaceful demonstrations by the majority Shia against their absolutist monarchy. Saudi Arabia is a country that is itself a monarchy, a fundamentalist autocratic tribal fiefdom writ large on the Arabian peninsula, supported by the reactionary fundamentalist Sunni Wahabi sect.
Rule of law is Sunni sharia law with no written "rule of law" which the Canadian neoCons always tout as being one of the requirements of a country with whom they have good relationships. Misogyny, torture, beheadings, stonings, whippings, amputations, and death (well obviously for beheading) are traits of their "legal" system. "Freedom" and "democracy" have little application in Saudi Arabia.
9/11 has the Saudi name written all over it yet nothing was done concerning those incriminating liaisons. al-Qaeda and the Taliban - associated further back with U.S. efforts to militarize the mujahideen freedom fighters in Afghanistan against Soviet forces - are products of U.S. geopolitical interests. The oil interests of the U.S. have protected the House of Saud in the arc of instability and allowed the free flow of dollars between the oil country and the military corporations and investment houses of the U.S. (see House of Bush - House of Saud, Craig Unger, Scribner, 2004)
Two other events are occurring which adds more hypocrisy and double standards to the mix, both tied in with the empire of chaos: the first is a feature of war; the second is a feature of financial predation, but another part of war in itself.
Harper's hatred of Islam is obvious, his concerns for its peaceful members superficial. His coinage of the pejorative term "Islamicism" to denigrate all that is Islam clearly titles his attitude.
Yet the current transformation of violent reactions to the continued imposed violence on the arc of instability - the region of the Middle East including Iraq, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon - has morphed into the more general empire of chaos with the violence spreading through to northern Africa, the Sahel, the Horn of Africa - well be honest, just about all of Africa. It has spread the chaos through the former Yugoslavia, created the encroachment of NATO into eastern Europe against the promises of President Clinton (yeah, like anybody should believe a U.S. promise), and now is doing its best to destabilize the Ukraine with its neoNazi coup installed government and then on into destabilizing Russia as per the Brzezinski "grand chessboard".
But it is the current iteration of Islamic reaction to this ongoing petrodollar colonialism that has attracted most of Harper's current concern. ISIS is seemingly an amalgam of reactionary Syrians, unforgiving Iraqi sunnis, and many other people wanting to combat the empire. Yet for the nature of ISIS there are questions about its origins. It is an organization that apparently draws support from Saudi Arabia, has been supplied with U.S. weapons, either through Saudi Arabia or indirectly through covert and profiteering actions.
All was well with ISIS until they came too close to Irbil, the main Kurdish city with many international energy corporations seeking profits there. Then the U.S. decided it had to do something. Harper of course, realizing the ability to use this arena to foster his own anti-Islamic interests and create more domestic fear of the 'other' domestically, climbed aboard the USS Chaos. Fortunately for Harper, two lone wolf attacks, carried out in the name of ISIS, helped reinforce that fear of the 'other', without any discourse or awareness as to how and why ISIS came into existence. It really doesn't matter, because as Harper said, "We'll just kill them."
And boots on the ground?
Well certainly. Anytime a country sends in its special ops forces, there will obviously be boots on the ground, well trained boots, boots able and willing to enter conflict, to kill or be killed. A combat mission? If it looks like combat, acts like combat, then yes, it is combat.