The world splitting apart

The question is, in all these countries, at the end of these conflicts, if there is an end, will anyone's life be any better?

The wider world is a scary place and when one contemplates where you’d like to hang your hat, it’s hard to argue that British Columbia may indeed be “the best place on earth”. Granted, we have our issues — the Enbridge pipeline decision promising to be a mighty contentious one for the people of our province. But we have yet to decide to tear ourselves apart.

Even Canada as a whole — grumbling from Quebec notwithstanding — is a stable, mostly healthy place to live and prosper.

That is certainly not the case in other strife-torn nations. Witness the sectarian violence in Iraq, a country that now seems determined to rend itself into pieces as Sunni and Shiite factions are amping up the atrocities on a daily basis. And the United States is contemplating a return to what … restore order? Or perhaps finish off what they started on the fateful day in October of 2002 when the American government decided to follow their fearless leader George W. Bush down a road paved with yellow cake uranium in order to catch a terrorist who at no time was proven to be present in Iraq. And many countries followed blindly behind him.

As a side note, despite all the scandal, I will always consider our Prime Minister Jean Chretien a great man for not allowing Canada to follow down that road. He stood up and said no, and was reviled in the U.S. for doing so. That was one thing the little guy from Shawinigan can rightfully claim as a great accomplishment.

I’m not arguing that Sadaam Hussein was a very bad man, but I will argue that things are no better after a decade of war, and American “nation building”.

Then we turn north to eastern Ukraine, where the looming shadow of Vladimir Putin blocks the sun. I have come to believe that Mr. Putin has an ambition, a life’s goal, and that goal is to restore the great Soviet Socialist Republic, to go down in history as the man who put the Soviet Union back together after Gorbachev et al so foolishly thought to give democracy a try. All those states like Georgia, Uzbekistan and more should be looking very nervously to their borders once Putin is done freeing Ukraine from the tyranny of independence.

And then turn your eyes a little to the northwest to green isle of Great Britain. For a battle is looming there as well. In September Scottish voters go to the polls to decide on whether it remains in the United Kingdom. The question will be simple, “Should Scotland be an independent country?” No sovereignty association, just bam, independence.

The fact that the Scottish National Party, whose central aim is independence, won the 2011 Scottish election by a landslide is probably causing the boys in the House of Lords some concern. They could just do it. They could vote to be independent.

The United Kingdom has been united for just 300 years. Prior to that the two countries coexisted uneasily and sometimes peacefully. But there have been battles. There was the First War of Scottish Independence, the Scots led by William Wallace, which began in 1296, and led to Mel Gibson giving the world Braveheart. That war lasted some 30 years, then there was a two year break followed by the Second war of Scottish Independence. Various Anglo-Scottish border wars followed for the next three or four centuries (!!) culminating in what Scots still consider the end of the Highland way of life, the great battle of Culloden in 1746.

And now, they go for independence again. Peacefully, this time. But the ramifications are huge.

The question is,  in all these countries, at the end of the conflict, if there is an end, will anyone’s life be any better?

Carolyn Grant is Editorof the Kimberley Daily Bulletin