If ISIS is our major threat, then Canada is doing just fine says author Gwynne Dyer
Dyer delivered the annual Dominick S. Graham Lecture at the Wu Centre, courtesy of the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society. He spoke, without notes, to a large turnout of approximately 70 people (mostly over the age of 40) about the conflict in the Middle East, emphasizing that ISIS is not a threat to the West.
“We really don’t know how good we have it. The fact that the major international problem we worry about at the moment is terrorism, suggests we’re doing pretty well,” said Dyer. “It’s a very small problem masquerading as a big problem.”
Dyer is an established author, lecturer, historian and journalist from Newfoundland.
In October 2015, he published Don’t Panic: Islamic State, Terrorism and the Middle East. His twice-weekly column on international affairs is published by 175 newspapers in 45 countries and the Fredericton Daily Gleaner.
In his lecture, Dyer told western countries to stay calm and urged people not to think of ISIS as an existential threat.
“Terrorism is a way of leveraging violence in order to make it appear far larger than it actually is,” Dyer said.
Dyer put into context the events of the past 50 years that have lead to the current situation in the Middle East— from the rise of Islamism as a political ideology to revolutionaries and Osama Bin Laden and the aftermath of 9/11.
“There is a problem in the Middle East, the problem comes from appallingly bad governments that have caused it to grow and fester and they [those governments] are our friends and allies,” Dyer said, referring primarily to America’s reaction to 9/11.
“We are now simply a pawn on the board in a game we are not meant to be a part of.”
Currently, according to Dyer, the worst case scenario would be if ISIS overran the al-Nusra (Syria’s al-Qaeda) front or if the Syrian regime collapsed. “In terms of how it would impact us in the West— it would be a great tragedy we would watch on television or the technology of our choice,” said Dyer.
Dyer said that Canada may have a moral obligation in terms of helping the populations in the Middle East, but, “When you send our troops there, you are ordering some of them to die, you just don’t know which ones yet.”