EDITOR, The Tribune
The imperceptive neo-conservative from the north, Kevin Evans, proved yet again that talking fool is a very serious thing.
Mr Evans seemed perturbed by the verbal contortions from Foreign Minister Darren Henfield as he tried to ad lib a nuanced policy that the Bahamas doesn’t have a dog in the fight between the US and Iran.
Indeed, we don’t, but our values ought to compel us to always seek the moral high ground in international affairs.
Henfield was pained as he attempted to walk a verbal tightrope trying as best he could to hover above the fray without causing offence on Queen Street.
Better he had leaned on history, international law and on our core founding principles that enshrine our abiding respect for the rule of law.
In the latest dust-up in the Middle East, he could have said that we support the 1907 Hague Convention as well as Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These laws state that in peacetime extrajudicial execution is illegal.
We earn respect when we keep faith with international law while privately urging our friends to do the same. For the record, Mr. Evans, the Bahamas enjoys friendly relations with both the US and Iran. The enemy of our friend is not automatically our enemy.
The doctrine of geo-politics combines with our shared history with the US and together they anchor our foreign policy.
We do see eye-to-eye with the United States on the need to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In 2008 we passed a law called the International Obligations (Economic and Ancillary Measures) (Iran) Order which prohibits any Bahamian person, entity, vessel, or aircraft from aiding and abetting Iran’s nuclear programme.
By that Order we proved our intent to promote global peace and harmony. And even this wasn’t aimed specifically at Iran. Rather it can be viewed as an extension to our commitment to the UN’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which we acceded 44 years ago.
Mr. Evans posits that we should blindly support this US action in the Middle East on the irrational basis that the end (eradicating terrorism) which we support, justifies the means (killing a senior member of a foreign government) which we don’t.
Mr. Evans should also get his facts straight lest he become a purveyor of the same kind of fake news and misinformation that passes for fact, science and logic in important capitals these days.
He would do well to understand that saying all Muslims are the same is as illogical and naïve as saying all Christians are the same.
The principal divisions of Islam are Sunni and Shia. Al-Qaeda, the jihadist group of mostly Saudis that attacked the United States on 9/11, is Sunni, as are ISIS and the Taliban. Iran happens to be Shia.
As then US President George Bush was at pains to explain following the 9/11 tragedy, Islam did not attack the United States. Terrorists hiding behind a peaceful religion did.
And it is seriously disconcerting to hear Mr. Evans cast aspersion on the prophet who founded one of the great religions of this world.
We can hope that Mr. Evans tones down his xenophobia long enough to appreciate our solemn responsibility to the truth, to the rule of law and to getting along with all nations.
Likewise, former Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell would do well to dial back his rhetoric and to practice restraint in his tiresome never-ending attacks on the government.
Mr. Henfield and the Finance Minister should simultaneously try to sing from the same music sheet on policy matters, but their indiscretion didn’t open the door to Mitchell’s latest bout of “chicken little syndrome”.
Events vindicated the government’s strategy to “watch and wait” as the US and Iran squared off. Mitchell wanted travel warnings, red flags and sirens, but an appeal for vigilance by citizens abroad was all that the situation required.
As our longest serving Foreign Minister, the late Paul Adderley would have growled if briefed on Kevin Evans’ spiel: “I don’t have time for foolishness.”
And neither do we.
January 22, 2019.