Gwynne Dyer explains why terrorism is overblown and why Islamists want western countries to attack the Islamic State

Time and time again, people like Gwynne Dyer attempt to downplay the importance of the Middle East.

"Don't worry", they say, "Terrorists only kill a handful of people a year", while simultaneously dismissing the notion that maybe, just maybe, anti-terror operations occasionally break up an attempted attack or two.

They downplay the necessity of Middle Eastern oil, while ignoring the incredible influence the Middle Eastern countries hold over our oil-dependent economy. At any given notice, OPEC or instability in some corner of the region could plunge our economy into recession (some Albertans would argue they already did).

They downplay the extent of the moral bankruptcy that is extremist Islam. Did you know that 54% of Lebonese people think suicide bombing of civilian targets is acceptable in some circumstances? Even Turkey, the 'middle east success story', 30% of people agree. This might not sound like a serious problem to Dyer- but when the majority of Muslims in the Middle East say that bombing non-combatants for the purpose of defending the faith is okay, I get nervous.

And what of our morals? Dyer has been a avid critic of Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, and is outspoken against the genocide that occurred 20 years ago (rightly so). Are we to intervene in Rwanda but not Syria or Iraq? I have a hard time reconciling this. I do not believe that Western powers should police world affairs- but at what point do we cross 'the red line'? Genocide? Flouting of international law? Piracy? What of the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces? What of the gassing of the Kurds? What of the drug trafficking, people trafficking and oil production hijacking of Daesh? We often see the same anti-war folks chanting 'Free Dafur' while simultaneously supporting a troop reduction in Afghanistan. I don't have the answers to those questions- but it appears that Dyer does not as well.

And /r/Canada continues to support the notion that the war against Daesh is some sort of conservative lunacy, or that it's not really a problem, or that Harper has some sort of secret religious/Zionist/imperialist/illuminatist agenda. The simple fact is that the Middle East matters. It is an economic choke point for the Western world. It continuously spirals into instability with or without Western intervention. Millions live on a knife edge, where a sudden shift in regional power could result in some new 'cleansing'. Dyer is correct- we're talking about 10% of the world's population here. He may callously turn his back on them. I'm not prepared to leave 10% of the world's population out of global affairs.

To be clear, I don't support a 'Let's Glass the Middle East' policy. We need to pick and choose our battles carefully with the intent on fostering stability (and at times, recognize that this needs to happen with or without democracy being apart of the long-term strategy). I don't know if we should be allying with slobbering sociopath that is Assad. But I do know that we need to try.

/r/canada Thread Link - straight.com