Jonah Goldberg

A few years ago I wrote a cover story for National Review with the subtle and nuanced title, "Bomb Canada: The Case for War." It caused quite a stir up there. My argument at the time was that Canada needed to be slapped out of its delusions and forced to stand up for itself in ways other than the Potemkin courage it shows in "standing up" to the United States.

Had I thought of it at the time, maybe I should have had American bombers stand down and suggested instead that Islamic terrorists plot to behead the Canadian prime minister and blow up a few important buildings.

Canada is arguably the most deluded industrialized nation in the world. Because elite Canadians think the U.S. is the font of the world's problems, they think being different than the U.S. and sucking up to the United Nations will buy them grace on the cheap. They claim to be "a nation of peacekeepers," but they rank 50th among U.N. peacekeeper nations in the number of troops sent. They've bravely contributed to the war in Afghanistan, where 2,300 troops still serve, but refused to join the effort in Iraq, believing that jihadists would honor such fine distinctions. That was awfully nice of them. Too bad nice has nothing to do with it.

The presence of a profoundly evil, homegrown terror cell in Canada has understandably provoked a lot of soul-searching to our north. As one Canadian editorial put it: "We are Canada, peacekeepers to the world, everybody's nice guy. Who would want to harm us, and why?" Or as Audrey Macklin, a University of Toronto law professor, confessed to the L.A. Times, Canadians "picture themselves as being thought of as nicer than the United States." Why on earth would terrorists want to hurt a "nice" country? Well, for starters, nice isn't all it's cracked up to be. The frog who carried the scorpion on his back in Aesop's fable was nice. It didn't make the scorpion's sting any less poisonous.

Indeed, there's good reason to believe that niceness is part of the problem, not the solution. Many Canadians (and Americans and Europeans) cling to a deep-seated belief that more multiculturalism, more interfaith dialogue, more "understanding," more Western apologies, more acceptance of Sharia, more "niceness" will fix the problem.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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