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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 29, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta 4 THS IFTHBRIDGB HERALD Wettnosdoy, November 29, 1972 Canada's peacekeeping role Gloomy reports Irom Pans not- wimauinumg, sooner or later there aiuai ue a tedsewe in Viemam. The beiuuig in Wasiiuigion ana is tnar. 11 will come a0out early m the Year, if ana wnen it does, tnere will have to be some sort of supervisory agency to ensure that tne lerms of me mice are ooserved or at least that violations are noted. At the moment, tiie favored phrase Eor sucn an agency is ceasetire com- mission, and it is generally assumed that Canada, Hungary, Indonesia and Poland will be invited to provide the personnel required. When the idea of Canadian parti- cipation was first mooted, indica- tions from Ottawa were that Canada would very willingly do her part, as she has done in every United Nations peacekeeping operation. There have been later reports of a force, of detailed arrangements be- ing under way, and of troops being Dlncially warned for duty in Viet- nam. But in spite of the reported willing- ness, and" all the detailed prepara- tions, it is quite apparent that there is some foot-dragging, that the gov- ernment may not be quite as en- thusiastic as earlier reports may have indicated. This reluctance should not surprise anyone. Canada is no stranger to the busi- ness of peacekeeping. In addition to Vietnam, where Canada, India and Poland have formed an International Control Commission since 1954, Cana- dian troops have manned peacekeep- ing missions in the Middle East, in the Congo, on Cyprus, and along the disputed border between India and Pakistan. No nation has had more experience with such forces, or the situations in which they operate. That experience clearly warns that the mission in Vietnam will be in- finitely more difficult than any like endeavor in the past, and moreover that it holds a very high probability of early and disastrous failure. From time to time, as the Viet- namese fighting has dragged on, there have been many truces and ceasefires. Every single one has seen almost continuous violations by one side or the other. During one three- day truce arranged to celebrate some especially holy occasion, some 500 violations were reported in one sector alone. In a conflict where both sides ignore ceasefire agreements, or regard them as jokes, the role of a supervisory force is not a reward- ing one. .Even more ominous is the ex- treme difficulty negotiators are hav- ing in trying to determine a basis for any ceasefire agreement. This ex- tended wrangling unquestionably means an agreement, if and when one is reached, full of complexity and compromise, not really accept- able to either side. The legal basis for a ceasefire, then, will be an understanding, of which observance or violation are to be matters of inter- pretation, by whoever happens to be on the spot. As if that were not bad enough, the country itself is almost unbeliev- ably fragmented. There are virtually no roads. Communications, rudimen- tary at best, have been bombed to oblivion. Government, as understood in the West, is non-existent in many areas, a matter of dispute in others, and everywhere precarious; often, it amounts to no more than whoever happens to be present with a show of strength, at any given time. Cloak that in dense jungle sprink- led with wide stretches of flooded marsh-land, add a tropical climate and a culture gap that is continents wide and ages old, and the task of supervision of peace, or anything else becomes virtually impossible. It can be argued, and not unreason- ably, that Canada's wealth of exper- ience in peacekeeping missions im- poses an obligation on her to do what- ever can be done to preserve or fa- cilitate peace in Vietnam. But there is another argument, at least as good, that that very experience is reason for Canada saying that until a truly workable agreement exists, offering at least a reasonable chance for successful operation of a peace- keeping force, the task of the nego- tiators is unfinished. Certpinly Canada must not haz- zard whatever reputation she has, among the nations of the world, by agreeing to take part in a charade. The ties that bind Defeat of the Heath government's bill on reciprocal worker permits with Common Market countries is no cause tor rejoicing on the part of Common- wealth supporters. It could well mean a speedier demise for the Common- wealth than had seemed to be in the cards. The outcry unhappily concentrated on the outrage of excluding people of British stock in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. This can scarcely go unnoticed by the non white people who form the majorities in other Com monwealth countries who were also being discriminated against by the bill. If the dark skinned people hence- forth show an even greater indiffer- ence to the Commonwealth than in the recent past it should not be sur- prising. The message that has come through to them is that the Com- monwealth is a white man's associa- tion. Britain has not been able to satis- factorily assimilate the large incur- sion of non whites from Common- wealth countries in recent years. A potentially explosive situation exists as a result. The necessity of establish- ing reciprocal arrangements with Common Market countries seemed to provide an opportunity for shutting off further immigration and thus cool- ing down the situation. But sentimen- talism appealing to the ties that up the plan. Mr. Heath may be able to appease everyone and keep the Common- wealth from blowing up over the race issue. But sooner or later it be apparent that Britain's ties are with Europe. As those ties become more binding, the older ties can only fade. There is no long term future for the Commonwealth and there may not be even a short term future as a re- sult of the stupidly sentimental com- motion that was raised The casserole A poignant little piece showed up on the Canadian Press wire last week. It concern- ed a really gutsy performance by the U.S. Air Force, which carried right on bombing hell out of North Vietnam, undeterred by the sudden realization that bombing from B-52s can no longer be guaranteed to be completely of them was shot down the other even by the fact that the bombing crews would have to miss the special Thanksgiving Day ser- vices! In reporting a sharp drop In the num- ber of Christmas trees Canada exports to the United States and elsewhere, whoever calculates such things noted that last year the total export was down to a mere 4.1 million trees, valued at just under mil- lion. That works out to less than a dollar a tree, and last Christmas they were sell- ing locally at around 75 cents a foot, or f5 or per tree. Which sounds !ike the wheat and gas people aren't the only ones to have dis- covered the two-price system. It could bo that the experiment nf a 72- year old Toronto widow is worth consider- ing In combating vice. Equipped with n whistle this spry, brave soul whistles for help each time a purse-snatchcr approach- es, with tho result the thief has scurried off and immediate help summoned. Tile whisllo technique has proved so suc- cessful she now keeps one In her purse, her pocket and on her telephone I able just in case of emergency. Her decision to uso this alerting device followed a rash of mo- leslings. Whistle carrying could indeed avert a va- riety of robbery attempts. It would keep a lot of frustrated thieves constantly on the run. A lot depends on how you look at things. A recent prediction from Washington in- dicates that automobile prices are likely to rise by what will amount to an average of ?50 per unit. That doesn't seem b'ke a great deal, when one considers that it amounts to little more than one per cent of the price. But. another prediction is that the auto- mobile industry will turn out in excess of ten million units this year. Ten million times comes to which isn't exactly peanuts. Dealing with a question concerning the Ku Klux Klan, (luring debate on the re- cently adopted Alberta Bill of Rights, the attorney genenil expressed the view that no special provision need be made re- garding Iho Klan, as the ordinary good sense nf Albertans would ensure it never amounted to anything that would have to bo. taken seriously. True enough, no doubt. If, is wilh only the tiniest trace of uneasi- ness, though, Ural, one recalls that just a few short years before the National So- cialist I'arly took control of Germany in it had been dismissed os "an Idiotic gaiiR o( and thugs, led by a clownish madman." "And If That Doesn't Convince You How Desperately We Want Peace, I've Got a Bigger One! And If That Dirty peace predicted By Joseph Kraft, U.S. syndicated commentator PARIS The dirty war in Vietnam is undoubtedly in its final days now. But what is sure to follow is a dirty peace. Talks with all parties here at the Vietnam negotiations show that no government in- volved directly or indirectly in tbe conflict has behaved with honor or even good sense. As to the main parties, the best thing that can be said of the North Vietnamese and Presi- dent Nixon is that they deserve each other. Consider first the issue that has been the big obstacle in the present, final phase of the peace negotiations. It involves withdrawal or regroupment of North Vietnamese forces cur- rently operating in South Viet- nam. Through all the years of neg- otiations with the United States, Hanoi refused to pull its troops back to North Vietnam as a counterpart to withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam. That refusal persisted through the agreement worked out with Henry Kissinger here in Paris last month. But now that President Ngu- yen Van Thieu of South Viet- nam has asked for withdrawal and regroupment, the Hanoi negotiators are listening. In- deed, it seems pretty clear that they eluded the Americans on troop withdrawal for the pre- cise purpose of eliciting a re- quest from Saigon. Which in turn means that Hanoi had no more intention than Washington of keeping the provisional Oct. 31 date for the signing of the accords. On the contrary, the North Vietnamese logic, if that word can be used, seems to have gone something like this. The American military presence in Vietnam was an act of aggres- sion. Therefore, North Viet- namese troop redeployment in response to an American troop movement would stamp Hanoi as outsiders and agressors. Saigon, however, has troops in South Vietnam by right. North Vietnamese redeploy- ment in response to a request by President Thieu would only confirm the legitimacy of the Communist presence in South Vietnam. Therefore, Hanoi re- fused agreement on troop with- drawal, first with Averell Har- riman and then with Henry Kis- singer, precisely in order to force the Saigon regime to put forward the demand in an offi- cial negotiating context. That the war should have con- tinued for years for such a nar- row principle, and hundreds of thousands of persons killed as a result, is a piece of stagger- ing immorality. But such has been the policy of North Viet- nam. On the American side, there is the matter of the Council of Reconciliation set up to prepare and administer future elections in South Vietnam. Because President Nixon insisted he would never accept a coalition regime in Saigon, the council has been totally disassociated from even the remotest connec- tion with such a government. The chief device of disasso- ciation has been a provision that the council, which is ap- pointed by the Saigon regime on the one hand and the Com- munists on the other, make all decisions by unanimous vote. But what are the true results of that proviso? Well, first it is predicatable that the Council of Reconcilia- tion will rapidly break down K'o one believes in unanimous agreement among all the men appointed by Saigon and all those appointed by the Com- munists on the most critical is- sues of life and death. As one American official put it, the provision for unanimous deci- sion is a "formula for failure." But that failure engages the future of South Vietnam. Beset by difficulties, with the Council of Reconcilation unable to come to agreement on elections for what offices at what date, South Vietnam is prone to suffer an administrative collapse. It will probably not even be able to make good use of the aid sent as part of the recon- struction program set forward in the peace agreement. Meanwhile North Vietnam, with its administrative struc- ture intact, will be rebuilding apace. All of this, to make matters worse, is previsible to the neutralist political leaders here in Paris who could contribute so much to the survival of South Vietnam. Despite the urgings of the French government, the most talented of the neutralist leaders are not going back to South Vietnam. It is now practically certain that South Vietnam will found- er in the next few years. In time there will be sitting hi Saigon a pro-Communist re- gime, friendly to North Viet- nam and disposed to move slowly towards unification. For the sake of superficially hold- ing true to the president's word, what has been arranged is a sellout. Once again, hundreds of thousands of persons have been killed, including Americans, for the sake of a not very meaningful formula. Amidst this sorry wreckage, I draw one consolation. The dirty peace and the dirty war were not inevitable. They were not written deep in the history and customs of American soci- ety and politics and leadership. If we have been shamed as a nation, as I think we may have been, it is largely a matter of circumstance the circum- stance of haying been able to find in the Vietnamese a belli- cose people, capable mainly of fighting each other and thus eager to play out on their own soil a senseless blood feud. Hope for peace in Ulster By Nora Beloff, London Observer LONDON Prime Minister Edward Heath and his col- leagues believe that in the ag- onizing turmoil of Northern Ireland they are at last begin- ning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are still daily reports of bombings, at- tacks on British troops, sec- tarian murders and accusations about torture by the army. Yst the government now feels that both militarily and politically, solutions may be in sight. On the military side, there has been a sharp reduction of terrorist acts inside the ties notably in Belfast and London- derry where it was worst and the Irish Republican Army gunmen are apparently re- treating to the border, over which they can escape into the Irish Republic. This improve- ment has been the result, of the British army's action last, July when they went into the Catho- lic working-c lass "no-go" areas, which had previously been IRA strongholds. Many Conservative MPs, in- cluding Mr. Winston Churchill, grandson of the wartime prime minister, have a 11 a c k c d Secretory of State for Ireland, William Whitclaw, for taking so long between the mo- ment direct rule was imposed from Westminster last March and the time by which he mov- ed against enemy territory. But Mr. Whilclnw argues that ho gave orders for action only when the army nssiired him Iho operation could bo carried through as it was wilhout the loss of innocent lives. As the essential struggle is for Iho support of Ihn non-lo.rrnrist masses tn.sidc the Catholic com- munity, he is determined to do nothing which would moko these people feel the IRA ara their only protectors. The retreat of the gunmen to the border gives increasing im- portance to effective military and intelligence cooperation be- tween the Irish EepubUc and the British government and this is why so much attention focused here on Premier Lynch's visit to Mr. Heath. Al- ready by jailing the head of the Provisional IRA, Sean Mac- Stiofain, Mr. Lynch has shown he is no longer as afraid as he used to be of the influence of the Provisionals in his country. But even though the British government now feels it is get- ting on top of the IRA, its major reason for hope is that it is also beginning to see the out- line of a political settlement which could have the backing of the moderate majorities on both the Catholic and Protest- ant sides in Northern Ireland as well as substantial support from the opposition Labor and Liberal parties and the ruling Conservative party in Westmin- ster. The first item In such a set- tlement is to reassure the Prot- estant majority there will bo no forced reunion with the South. It is for this purpose that the Westminster Parliament has just approved the principle (though not yet the details) of bill for holding a plebiscite for or against the continued union of the six counties of Northern Ireland with Britain. This plebiscite will promise that Ireland will only lie united if the majority of Ulstermen agree. Tho