Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 29, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Friday, November 29, 1974 The Arab-Israeli war, continued Four times Israel has fought for her life against Arab attempts to choke her. Four times she won on the battlefield. P'our times she was persuaded to accept a truce. Shouldn't four times be enough? The Arab countries can afford to at- tack and lose and attack and lose and at- tack again. Israel's first defeat may well mean her death. Another war many observers feel is almost certain. It may have been post- poned by Syria's acceptance this week of another six months of policing of the frontier by United Nations (including Canadian) forces, at the urging of the UN secretary general. But Mr. Waldheim feels strongly that time alone, in this instance, is not a healer. Positive steps toward reconciliation must be taken. The emergence of a measure of Arab solidarity behind Arafat and the quasi sovereignty bestowed on Arafat's Palestinians by the whole Arab (and some of the non Arab) world, has changed the Middle East scenario. The pressure is all the heavier on Israel to come to terms with the Palestinians. Israel has only one firm demand, and if the Arabs would grant it every other out-' standing issue could be quickly resolved. That demand is the nation's right to ex- ist. In Arafat's speech to the United Nations he again disputed that right. The right to exist, in the context of Israel's 26 tormentuous years, means the right to defensible borders, and to sincere pledges to respect them. The future of the Palestinians must also be resolved before peace can be secure, and Israel has a major but not total responsibility for that. It must not be forgotten that the Arab belligerents, especially Syria and Egypt, must be held partly accountable for their plight, for three reasons. First, it was not Israel that started the wars that made them refugees. Second, it was not Israel (in the major cases) that displaced them; it was Israel's attackers. And third, it was not Israel that kept them in confinement and frustration all those years, when they might have been making new lives for themselves in the relative vastness of the Arab world. The prior issue, however, as the secretary of the Israeli cabinet said in Calgary this week, is Israel's right to live. That is not negotiable. Once that right is conceded, everything else could fall into place. But there are no serious signs of such a concession. That is the sadness of it all. It behooves all nations of goodwill to support Israel that far. If the notion gains wider currency that for the sake of oil all fair people and nations will for- sake her, then those Arabs still bent on the destruction of Israel need only wait and strike again, and if they lose, wait again and strike again. The Alberta-Ottawa war, continued It was said Thursday night that the Ot- tawa Alberta confrontation was cooling off. It would be extreme folly to assume the crisis has passed. Indeed the battle lines for a bloody showdown battle are forming fast. Premier Lougheed's answer to Mr. Turner's promised tax on royalties paid to the provincial government was to an- nounce a new method of bookkeeping between the oil companies and the provincial government. Instead of the companies producing and selling the oil and paying the province its royalty share, title to all the oil would remain with a new provincial crown company which would sell to the producers their share, meaning the total less the amount of the royalty. This is an interesting device to circum- vent the Turner royalty tax. If the com- panies never in any way have possession or ownership of the provincial government's share, how can they be taxed on it? The production of such a plan suggests that the provincial government felt its previous arrangement might not stand up in court against the Turner tax. The new plan is a lawyer's device for creating a foolproof technicality. And Ottawa's rebuttal was the most ominous (but not necessarily the most ill founded) statement of all. It was simp- ly that the federal government would have no compunctions against taxing provincial crown companies set up to es- cape federal taxation. This, as critics have pointed out, could mean a federal tax on any provincial socialist (govern- ment owned) enterprise. Meanwhile the oil industry, caught between two levels of government both trying to get all they can from the new oil prices, is rapidly fleeing Alberta. It doesn't want to stay around to see its own carcass fought over. Therein lies the real danger to the people, to all Canadians. They cannot afford, at a time of such high world prices, to have their own oil production squeezed off. Clearly cooler heads are needed on both sides. Compromises must be made on both sides. A fight to the death is not the answer. RUSSELL BAKER Observing the oval world We are in for a rare treat, ladies and gentlemen. We are standing behind the arras in the famous oval office where U.S. Presi- dent Gerald Ford, seated behind the famous oval desk, is about to be briefed on American foreign policy in the Middle East. Listen: "As far as I can figure out" that is the president speaking, ladies and gentlemen "what we've got in the Middle East is an oval policy. I mean it meets itself coming around. Can anybody make sense out of it for Mr. President." Henry Kissinger has the floor.) "Our policy is peace." The president is smiling. "Peace. I like it. Henry We must always be for peace." Henry is smiling. "But what I don't understand" now the president is frowning the frown of nonunder- standing "what I don't understand. Henry, is why. if we're for peace, we're selling ail that war material to Middle East countries. "That's easy. Mr. President." (You are now listening to William Simon, the famous secretary of the treasury. He is smiling the smile of easy explanation.) Since we are sending billions of dollars to the Middle East to pay for oil. we have to sell something out there that will cost them billions of dollars in return so we don't get sl'.ick without any money in the treasury." The president is frowning the frown of con- fusion 'Let me get this straight, fellows. Our policy is peace, but we've got to help them make war. or we'll go broke Wouldn't it be more accurate to say our policy is explain. Mr President (You are listening to Defence Secretary James Srhk-smger. who directs the famous oval pen- American policy, there is no such as war material. Weapons arc defence material Our policy, therefore, is not to promote war in the Middle East, but to promote defence The policy is defence of president ;s scratching his famous oval n'-rfti boies and gentlemen, and frowning the frown of a man from Michigan who has just offered the Brooklyn Bridge But from what 1 read in the papers, those birds aren't interested in making defence they're interested in making is war hdl's going to stop them from taking those poij not smiling' 11 b not n pleasingly a rn o y s ova] poll c y No cause for elation By Joseph Kraft, syndicated commentator More dust in the air By Maurice Western, Herald Ottawa commentator OTTAWA In replying to critics of the federal Govern- ment's oil taxation policy, the Prime Minister on Wednesday relied very heavily on fair shares arguments. The diffi- culty is that a case which had wide appeal in populous prov- inces a year ago has become less persuasive in circum- stances which have changed radically within that period and even in the few days since the presentation of John Turner's revised Budget. At the beginning of the year the primary issue beyond any doubt was the question of price. This so dominated the public mind that it was a sim- ple matter to isolate the producing provinces political- ly and even, it then appeared, to separate Alberta from its immediate neighbour, Saskatchewan. Even so, the methods chosen by the federal Government aroused in- creasing uneasiness in other provinces and the situation now is that all of them object (with differing degrees of intensity) to the Budget proposition that royalties should no longer be deductible for federal tax purposes. The radical change is. how- ever, that price has now be- come secondary to the over- riding concern over supply. Mr. Trudeau dealt at length in his speech with charges brought by Premiers Lougheed and Blakeney, and supported by Robert Stan- field, that the federal Govern- ment broke the March agree- ment with the provinces. This was an obviously necessary political exercise. In effect, however, the Prime Minister concedes that the March warnings to the provinces were open to different interpretations. Clarity, as he explained, was not possible because Ottawa at the time had not determined the course to be taken to protect its revenue claims. It is reasonable to assume that this controversy, although it has aroused some bitter feelings in western capitals, will be forgotten in due time when the dust settles. The same cannot be said of the other issues which have come to the fore. In defending fair shares, Mr. Trudeau interprets various statements of western Premiers to mean that the people of Canada (neatly iden- tified with the federal Government) have no right to any share in the new revenues. The obvious objec- tion is that the calculation ex- cludes proceeds of the export tax which provide the price cushion for consuming provinces. If there was no such tax western oil would bring the world price and much larger revenues would flow into Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Prime Minister antici- pated that point by describing the tax as a short term device necessary for the establish- ment of the single price. In his view it does not belong in dis- cussions of long term revenue sharing. This, of course, underlines the change which has come over federal-provincial relations. Whatever the merits of the constitutional argument, the fact is that federal governments over a very long period have respected the right of the provinces to levy royalties secure against the threat of double taxation. To the western provinces, con- spicuous have-nots when the resources were returned, this was taken for granted by generations of people who looked forward to the ex- ploitation of such wealth as a means of redressing the im- balance in Confederation. There is now a new attitude in Ottawa which is not to be seen as temporary but policy for the long term. Fair shares, unilaterally determined, are to endure when the federal Government no longer needs short term devices to support an artificial price system in the country. The Prime Minister, however, paid regrettably lit- BERRY'S Icel sorry 1or you. son You may never be able to aspire to 9 big, luxury, top-ol-the-lme automobile1" tie attention to the fundamen- tal problem which has now arisen. Hard on the heels of the Budget came the report of the National Energy Board. According to the Board's pro- jections the great non- renewable resource is being exhausted at such a rate that by 1982 production will be in- sufficient to meet Canadian market demands. Beginning next year, the Government will start to phase out the ex- ports that yield the revenues for the cushion. An even bleaker picture is painted by the Economic Council. Its report anticipates a higher annual increase in oil consumption and the forecast on that basis is that we will be into deficit before 1980, unless we are fortunate enough to discover new reserves capable of rapid exploitation or unless other measures are taken to develop alternative domestic energy sources. In the Board's view subsidized prices are economically un- sound, reducing the incentive to conservation, fostering the expansion of energy-intensive industries and discouraging the development of the higher cost frontier reserves. There has been other dis- concerting news. Only this week, for example, the Shell group revised its estimate of the cost of the oil sands pro- ject proposed for northern Alberta. The original figure was million: this has more than doubled to billion. Within a few days, therefore, we have learned that development has become a far more urgent concern than was generally realized and that it has also become much more costly than was earlier supposed. In this context, the fair shares argument seems de- cidedly inadequate. It may be. as Mr. Trudeau argues, that policy was over-generous to the oil companies in the years following the war when we were not driven by the threat of scarcity. (Even so. it did produce the reserves that made the Government's re- cent policy But this does not seem a compelling reason for rationing industry resources at the very time when new and urgent reasons have appeared for encourag- ing it to all out effort. The federal fair shares theory seems to have a further disadvantage, it is direct challenge to the provinces who are relied on to help with the rationing. They are exhorted to be reasonable while Ministers hint darkly at the use of big sticks: notably the suggestion that Ottawa will tax Crown corporations if any Premier is so presump- tuous as 1o attempt escape in that direction. This view is contested, of course, by some Government supporters As they see it, the provinces are the aggressors, threatening Ottawa's revenues. Considering all that has happened since the traditional arrangements were disrupted, this is rather like an assertion that the An- cient Bntons invaded Julius Caesar. It may not be an easy case to make in the radically altered framework of the oil debate. BEIRUT Sobriety, not exultation, is the right reac- tion to the new arrangement to limit strategic weapons blocked out by President Ford and Party Secretary Brezhnev at Vladivostok. Fur around the world, and especially here in the Middle East, the Soviet Union and its friends are making great gains at American expense. The world is paying a high price for detente, and the United States, far from glow- ing cheerfully, should be fly- ing warning signals. The most striking sign of Soviet success is the blow which has been delivered to Henry Kissinger's plan for a political settlement here in the Middle East. The basic idea was for a step by step approach toward accord between Israel and Egypt. Since Egypt would not go it alone, another Arab partner had to be found for each step of the talks. The designated partner for the next stage was Jordan. But Jordan has been knock- ed out of the game by the acceptance of Yasir Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization as the legitimate representatives of the Palesti- nian cause. The Russians put their money on Mr. Arafat at exactly the right moment. He owes them not a little of his present status, and he will have to depend on their sup- port more and more as he struggles forward. The blow to the peace process inevitably raises ten- sions between Israel and Syria. Each and maybe not wrongly suspects the other of wanting a new round of fighting. The renewed threat of war increases Syrian dependence on Russia, which is the principal supplier of weapons to Damascus. So acute is the danger that even the Egyptians have felt constrained to turn to Moscow. Mr. Brezhnev is due in Cairo in January for talks which may well mark the resumption of full-scale Soviet military assistance to Egypt. Thus since last spring, when Cairo and Damascus were both bashing Moscow with a vengeance, there has been a complete Soviet comeback in the Middle East. Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko has played his hand masterfully, and the Russian future here is not dark. At the same time, the Com- munists are making hay in Europe. Except for Greece, where the electoral victory of Constantine Caramanlis is a bright spot, the countries of the Northern Mediterranean shore all have disciplined Communist movements now knocking at the gates of power. Inflation has sapped the will of almost all other European countries. Even the doughty Helmut Schmidt in West Ger- many is having to ease off his determination to govern with authority. Valery Giscard d'Estaing in France is turning out to be about as friendly to the United States as Gen. de Gaulle So from the Soviet point of view, the European situation could hardly be more favorable. Except for Iran, weakness approaching disintegration marks the countries of South Asia, and in East Asia oppor- tunity beckons the Russians. As the fall of Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka indicates, the Japanese have not figured out the role they are going to play in a world transfigured by the sudden spurt in the prices and importance of basic com- modities. Tokyo is more than ever open to Soviet blan- dishment. The Chinese by the hint of a settlement of the border dis- pute which they dropped in the Nov. 7 note to Russia have underlined a strong future possibility, That is that Peking, while not making it up with Moscow, will at least stop treating the Russians as public enemy No. 1 when Mao Tse tung dies. In these conditions, there is no place for American elation about the Vladivostok agreement. It is a useful supplement to the 1972 SALT accord at best. Far from ex- ulting about breakthroughs, American officials ought now to be especially wary. The Russians are on the move, and this is just the wrong time to let down the guard. Lucky decision By William Safire, New York Times commentator WASHINGTON The tapes that were played last week at the Watergate trial make in- controvertible the fact that Richard Nixon consistently and deliberately misled the Congress, the court and his fellow citizens about what else was on those tapes, and why he wanted to keep them private. When the president issued his edited version in the spring, he assured all of us who wanted to believe, "this tells it it demonstrably did not. Therefore, we can be thankful that Nixon is no longer president. A man should not hold the most im- portant job in the world if he believes that holding on to that job is more important than anything else. History might ameliorate even the coverup of a crime, but it can never excuse putting survival in office ahead of all honor. And so I must choke out this apology to John Dean; though you deserved all you have received for your blacklists and your bootlicking; and though your motives all along have been tawdry and selfish; when it came to exposing a pattern of deception in high places you were a better man than I was, Gunga Dean. Which reminds me: I left the White House to begin these essays about 18 months ago. On my way out, lugging a satchelful of desk contents. I paused in front of President Nixon's executive office building hideaway and waved goodbye to the pretty recep- tionist. Since secret service men were guarding the door, I knew the president was there; should 1 ask to be admitted to say goodbye? 1 decided to keep walking; Nixon would probably have interrupted his meeting long enough for a brief handshake to a longtime aide, but he hated those awkward moments and so did I. That, it turns out, was the late afternoon of March 21, 1973. Had I walked in, I would have been in on the second meeting of that fateful day with Dean: perhaps the presi- dent would have said, "while you're here. Bill, listen to this To whatever force propelled me past the president's door and on out into the daylight: a fervent prayer of thanksgiving. LETTER Univanted If the feelings of Mr. Ahrens (Herald. November 25. page 13) with regard to the Akamina area have been ac- curately presented, they ought to be vigorously oppos- ed and condemned. To see a civil servant blatantly speak of the benefits to Alberta of an Akamina highway connection to the west, without saying a word about the disaster this would mean, as so clearly spelled out by Andy Russeil (Herald. November 21. page is shocking indeed. With civil servants like that, who needs the Waterton Chamber of Commerce? Especially galling is the clear implica- tion that such a Canadian sacrifice would alleviate traf- fic problems south of the border! Mr Ahrens owes conser- vationists in our province an apology for seriously under- mining their cause in Waterton Lakes Park. JOB KUIJT The Letkbridge Herald Ttti Si S Alberta LETHBWDGE HERALD CO LTD Proprietors and Second Clan Wegwtration No. 0012 CLEO MOWERS. Editor and DON H PILLING Editor DONALDfl OOHAM General Manager f MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editor SOBCTT M Circulation Manager K6WHETH E 8ARMETT Business Manager THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"