Conservatives like to speak of Israel as being alone in a hostile tyrannical sea. Nothing could be more misleading. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey are part of a informal alliance knitted together by American largeness and the 3 latter three are have been key to Israeli security of more than 30 years now. Of course, the populations of the last four are hostile to the very idea of such an alliance and so special care needs to be taken by all involved. The question various Neo Con thinkers raised is whether this alliance is more trouble then it is worth. It does provide a military buffer to Iran and so is key to the continued flow of oil out of the Gulf. However, the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan lack popular legitimacy --- as does to lesser extent the Turkish military -- and their restive populations resent the US for propping up such regimes. Not that any Neo Con thinker would ever admit it, but this situation is made all the worse by these populations getting daily reports from the Occupied Territories. Such reports remind millions of middle Easterners on daily basis of this informal alliance put together by the US for the purpose of securing the transfer of oil out of the Middle East at a cost many Arab nationalists tell them is less than true market value. Where this all comes back to the West is that various foreign jihidis have decided that it is easier to strike at the "far enemy" than the "near enemy" and more troubling still various 1st and 2nd generation Muslim immigrants to Western countries have decided to take up the cause as well.
All that being said, it should come as no surprise that I regard the the level of support offered Israel by the Conservatives as a form of insanity. In material terms, the aforementioned alliance helps the US manage the flow of oil in an out of the Gulf. However, it does nothing for Canada directly. In diplomatic terms all that aid gives the US a great deal of leverage. In diplomatic terms Conservative cheer leading coupled with Ignatieff's me toos, hurts our relationship with the aforementioned non-Jewish states and leaves us ironically in no position to help Israel out. We are lot more more valuable to Israel as low key member of the security council, for example, than we are as a vocal cheer leader pissing in the wind. Our strong support for Israel has no upside.
The only thing tempering the stupidity of such a approach is that we are not the target the US is. Noisy sidekicks are never the real price. Still, as has become readily apparent over the last 10 years, Canada can no longer consider its foreign policy without also asking questions about how this or that policy might impact upon domestic security. The Toronto 18 is a great case in point. The war in Afghanistan was what motivated the Toronto 18. As for the most recent batch of homegrown terrorists, I do not know specifically what motivated them. However, their choice of targets should have raised more eyebrows then it did. In the years leading up to their arrest, I had mentioned on a number of occasions what would happen if the Montreal subway was attacked. For example I wrote this last December: "Make no mistake if the Montreal subway is bombed and the motivation for the attack was the Afghan mission, there would be huge uptake in support for separatism. The PQ and Bloc will argue that the bombing is proof that Quebec needs its own foreign policy." The government can not afford to flippantly pursue policies that might increase the risk of a terrorist attack homegrown or otherwise. It is one thing to pursue policies that might increase the risk of terrorism, but are nonetheless in the national interest. It is quite another thing to pursue policies for cheap political gain that do nothing to further Canadian interests, increase the risk of terrorist attack and the chance of social strife and that is what Conservatives are doing.