Former New Brunswick Premier and former Ambassador to Washington Frank McKenna came to Babel the other day. He told a rapt audience of TD Bank customers about the two greatest threats to world peace and prosperity. From the way he explained the two scenarios, it was hard to say which was worse.
Since the concern about Iran is over nuclear weapons controlled by a theocracy (a country ruled by religion), he gave top billing to the Persians. People in the west do not appreciate the capabilities of Iran and believe the nuclear threat is a long way away. The problem is that Iran can easily turn off the tap on about 20 per cent of the world’s oil supply by simply closing the Strait of Hormuz. The United States would be the country hardest hit by that embargo and that country would have to go to war with Iran. In turn, America’s ally, Israel, would be bombed into a nuclear wasteland unless Israel can take out Iran’s nuclear capability first. It is a chilling story.
Luckily, McKenna believes the current peace feelers to the west from the Iranian leadership are genuine. He feels sure that tensions can be eased if the Iranians see the benefits in cooling the threats to their Middle East neighbours.
His other scenario offered fewer solutions. As the former ambassador to Washington, he is well tuned in to American politics. He sees the intransigence of American politicians as extremely serious. He explains that no matter who wins the White House, the House of Representatives or the Senate later this year, the parties will remain locked in vicious combat over taxes and spending. He sees the politicians as so entrenched in their ideological positions that they could cause a deadlock that would throw the U.S. and then the rest of the world into a bottomless recession.
He says Canada is being caught up in the U.S.problems whether we like it or not. At the same time, he sees Canadian politicians as far more flexible. He noted that we have a former New Democrat running the federal Liberal Party, a former Liberal running the New Democrats and Mr. Harper changing Canada into an oil producing country—if he can ever get the oil south to the Texas refineries or to the east or west coasts. Mr. Mckenna sees the pipeline problems as easily solved.
Mr. McKenna is obviously enjoying his role spreading sunshine for the bank. And the bank customers certainly enjoyed his presentation. He did it with humour and a confident delivery. We should also mention that the bank served coffee and cookies. The cookies were very good!
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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