The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

August 11, 2007

THE ANT AND THE ELEPHANT(S)

I REMEMBER MANY YEARS AGO READING A BOOK TO MY KIDS AT BEDTIME. IT WAS ABOUT AN ANT AND AN ELEPHANT.

The main character was this particular ant, you see, who was unpopular with all the other ants BECAUSE ALL HE DID WAS YELL!!! He could not talk softly.
As a result, the other ants figured, he was excruciatingly annoying.

None of the other insects he tried to befriend liked him either. Because his voice was SO LOUD!!!, he scared off the grasshopper, the caterpillar and others. He alienated everybody he tried to befriend.

As usual, there was a good ending and a good message for my kids: if you speak up, even if you have to yell, you can be heard, because being heard is the most important thing and you have a place in the world.
You can be unpopular, but that can change. And even if it doesn't, being heard is the biggest thing. Everybody is important, in his or her own way.

It turned out the ant with the LOUD VOICE!!! saved the entire ant colony from death when he yelled loudly enough for a herd of oncoming, stampeding elephants to become aware of their presence when nothing else could stop them.

What does this have to do with anything?

In the past couple of weeks, Canada, which is an ant on the world stage, has made A LOT OF NOISE!!! about protecting what it claims is its sovereignty over the Northwest Passage in the vast, virtually uninhabited Arctic.



Our absolutely awful prime minister, Stephen Harper, who doesn't even come close to having a handle on issues in the parts of Canada where people actually live, has made it his mission to protect our so-called sovereignty.


The most recent announcement, only days ago, saw him go up to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, to announce the construction of a pair of multi-million-dollar military facilities within the contested waters of Canada's Arctic territory.
This came on the heels of another laughable announcement that Canada will buy some military boats to patrol "its territory" in the Arctic Archipalego.

This brief info from one news service:

"Canada's new government understands that the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is: Use it or lose it," Harper said about 600 kilometres from the magnetic North Pole. "...Canada has a real, growing, long-term presence in the Arctic."

Right.
The facilities consist of a new army training centre and a deep-sea port inside of the Northwest Passage, which is expected to provide a summer shipping route to Asia over the next few decades because of the effects of global warming and melting ice flows.

The training facility would be manned by up to 100 Canadian Forces personnel (OOOH, 100!) in Resolute Bay, while the port for navy and civilians would be located on the site of an abandoned mine in the village of Nanisivik on the north end of Baffin Island.

The context here is this:

The territory we're talking about is an ice-filled wasteland, its surface hardly navigable by anyone or anything except icebreakers (unless we're talking about subs, we can go beneath the ice...and do all the time, from Russia, the U.S. and others).
It includes 36,500 islands over 1.4 million kilometres. But it's believed to be super rich in minerals, natural gas and oil. And do you think that might just have a little bit to do with why anyone actually cares?

Canada has always claimed this land as its own, even as it has ignored the smattering of Inuit and others who inhabit the area. And other countries like the U.S., Russia, Denmark, Japan and the like have disputed Canada's claim.

Russia recently planted its flag on the seabed at the North Pole, essentially laughing in Canada's face. It knows Canada couldn't defend the entire country from an invasion by the Pope's Swiss guard at the Vatican, let alone any other real military threat.

One scholar, Stephen Clarkson, wrote not too long ago about Canada and its so-called sovereignty:

"[I]n the absence of political testosterone, the state could legitimately be considered castrated, a harem keeper for its global and continental masters, but without any vital fluids to call its own."

Even little Denmark is defying Canada's claim on the Arctic. The Danes claim Greenland, which isn't far away, and they want to claim a big part of the Arctic north of Canada, too. In any event, they want free passage to Asia.

And if global warming does continue to melt the Arctic ice, that would open it up more to exploration for oil, gas and minerals...who cares if New Orleans and all other coastal cities on the planet are destroyed?

There are many more issues here and history. I'm simplifying all of it, I know.

But at the core of it is that Canada is that ant, trying to scream out loud, but in this case it's barely audible. It doesn't have the vocal chords, the lung power or the balls, to hold off all the elephants.

I love our vastness, our resources, our untamed lands. But we don't have the power or the numbers or the resources or anything else to make such claims.

We don't have the strength to climb to the top of the hill and dare another kid to knock us off. We can pump our chest up and say what we want. We can try to assert what we can't protect. But the elephants know.

One step and...squish.

12 comments:

  1. While the infrastructure of our cities is decaying here we are pretending to stand up to the Russian bully. I will tell you WHY.

    Bush and his shadow government have decided to reinstate the Cold War with the Ruskies because it isn't as messy and as unpopular as the War on Terror. Instead of pissing off 1 Billion Muslims who inadvertently get lumped in to the few extremist Islamist nutjobs America can fight them Godless 'white' Ruskies.

    If the world goes back to having everyone else afraid of TWO Superpowers pretending to bring the world to Nuclear War then perhaps all of these little boutique enemies like Osama will lose their street cred. On top of that anyone like Osama and his zealots will have to watch out for hitmen from the KGB and the CIA.

    Pretending to protect our vast frozen wasteland is a pretense to allow the Americans to step up and save their little Canadian cousins from the big, bad, Russian Bear.

    Oh sure the Yanks will gain access to all of that fresh wwater and Oil but they will also be eyeball to eyeball with the Russians.

    Terrorism fades, the Military Industrial Complex gets new contracts, Canada gets protected, and the Americans expand Alaska into a State the size of the lower 49 and Bob's yer Uncle!

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  2. I think His Excellency has it, albeit with a humourous twist, I'm just not sure it shouldn't be "Dub's yer uncle."

    And woe betide the drunken sailor who prangs his oil tanker up there!

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  3. "Because his voice was SO LOUD!!!"

    No one we know (HE)?

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  4. Homo Escapeons:

    A theory that could make some sense, I'd say, and not at all out of the question.

    But I tend to think it's more just plain greed.

    And how about this supposedly wild thought: that the U.S. doesn't care about global warming.

    It wants the polar ice cap to melt so it can move in and have access to all that oil and minerals.

    The U.S. and Russia couldn't care a hoot about Canada's claims, it's like swatting a fly or mosquito.

    It's all about what's under all that ice. So let's get rid of all the ice and be there first when it does.

    Dinahmow:

    His Excellency? And Dub's gone in little more than a year. Oh, right, but Dub's a Texas oilman. I forgot.

    MJ:

    HE, LOUD??!! YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!

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  5. Its funny like a little kid, we dont really want something until somebody else wants it.... Sure its a barren waste land, (althought the glacial sheets are quite stunning) but if the rooskies want it, no we need it... KInd of childish:)

    Annother thing with the aus/can similarities. Australia has 35 877km of coastline and a defence force of 70615 defence personell (inc reserves) about 2 per km.... not a lot of use:)

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  6. Aidan:

    Yeah, Canada IS being childish.

    They see the big Ruskies and others leaving their footprints all over the North and suddenly our airhead PM figures a few military boats and a base or two with 100 men is going to be a deterrent.

    Ha! Maybe they should just put up the land and resources to the highest bidder on EBay!

    They can sell it all to the U.S., just like Russia sold Alaska to the U.S.! 'Cause the Americans are going to get it anyway, donchaknow?

    I like your Australia/Canada comparison. I wonder what OUR numbers are?

    We're way bigger than Aus and we have fewer people, don't we? We've got 30 million or something.

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  7. I quite like ice, in my G&T.

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  8. God! I came here to read something which won't tax my brains and this?

    What has come over you? Leave all those biggies alone and come down my level, please! For now I got a pea sized brain.

    An aside: I accepted the challenge issue to me in your last post. Come check my blog..:D

    PS: What is BIG prize?

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  9. And don't forget to give free publicity to my post!

    *grin*

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  10. Keshi:

    Thx for stoppin' by. :-)

    Ziggi:

    Ha! No doubt.

    Better grab some soon though, everybody's fighting over it and besides that, it's all melting.

    With global warming, will we all run out of ice for our G & T's and rye and Pepsi's?

    Gautami:

    What? THIS taxed your brains? What about HE's latest post? (*Runs away from HE's direction*)

    Come down to your level? I thought after my pooping posting, I had reached the bottom of the barrel!

    I checked your blog to see your purging poem and am amazed. And I urge all 8.7 of my readers to check it out (there's your free advert).

    I am confused about the big prize reference...

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  11. well- considering how much is up for grabs up there- its no wonder so many people are after it!

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