And the Role of Neville Chamberlain Goes to…Canadian PM Jean Chrétien

By: Rachel Marsden


In a television interview that aired on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien suggested a link between the terrorist acts on the United States and uneven distribution of wealth and power in the world. He said, "I do think the Western world is getting too rich in relation to the poor world and necessarily, you know, we're looked upon as being more arrogant, self-satisfied, greedy with no limits. And September 11th is an occasion for me to realize it even more". His "blame the victim" remarks are disgustingly embarrassing, and are akin to blaming the victim of a mugging for wearing expensive clothes.

Chrétien's comments were so outrageous that when ABC News anchor Peter Jennings--a Canadian citizen--was asked about them in a phone call to CNN's Larry King Live, Jennings said that he "wouldn't believe for five seconds" that Chrétien had actually made the remarks. Jennings went on to say that he believed "any Canadian politician who said that today would find his career practically doomed". It looks like Jennings has lost touch with the political landscape of his homeland, because Chrétien's political career IS, in effect, doomed. He has already announced that he will step down within the next 18 months as the leader of the left-leaning Liberal party, and will not seek another term as Prime Minister. Unfortunately, if he's going to keep making remarks of this nature that are embarrassing to all Canadians, he couldn't step down soon enough.

Reality check: Canada, the United States, and other so-called "wealthy Western" countries have given oodles of money and aid to the poorer nations of the world. Poverty has decreased, literacy has increased, and--what do you know--terrorism is still alive and well. Why? Because terrorism is fueled by fundamentalist Islamic radicals whose ultimate goal is the extermination of all people who do not submit to Islamic rule and law. It has everything to do with religious brainwashing, and nothing to do with poverty. In fact, none of the al Qaeda terrorists who were identified as participants in the 9/11 attacks came from the slums. Ringleader Mohammed Atta was the son of an Egyptian lawyer. He was working on his Masters degree in Architecture in Germany at the time he fantasized about turning an American passenger jet into a missile. One of the terrorists who was on United Airlines flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania was given a brand-new Mercedes 300 by his father two days before the attacks. Osama bin Laden himself is highly educated and is far more wealthy than the vast majority of Westerners.

Chrétien has bought into the notion that these radicals can be appeased with money, and that if we Westerners were only a little more generous towards them, they'd see the errors of their ways. He has bought into exactly what the terrorists would like us to believe. The reality is that they will only ever be appeased when the whole world has converted to Islam and is worshipping Allah. Western wealth isn't their problem, our very existence is.

Before the Second World War, there was a statesman who had a similar mindset to that of Chrétien. His name was Neville Chamberlain, and he was the Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1937. He was so committed to avoiding war with Hitler that he adopted a policy of appeasement. He figured that if the Western democracies were just a bit more generous with Hitler, then Hitler and his thugs would simmer down. Chamberlain's strategy culminated in the Munich Pact in 1938, which led to the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Fascist Italy. It turned out to be the worst possible strategy to employ, as Hitler was merely stalling for time. Much bloodshed could have been avoided if Chamberlain would have put his foot down earlier.

Chrétien's perspective of the War on Terrorism is naively Socialist in theory. It may appease his left-leaning power base, the pointy-headed academics, and the campus crowds, but--as history has shown--it will do little to solve the current problem. In fact, it may even prove to be the most detrimental approach of all. Thank goodness it's almost time for Chrétien to exit stage Left.