TORONTO – Former US vice president Dick Cheney criticized the Obama
administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East at the Toronto Global Forum
Cheney, speaking about energy and international security
issues at the conference, said he had a “worrisome concern” regarding current
threats of terrorism in the world.
“I used to believe that was a major
threat. I still believe it is a major threat today,” Cheney said. “If anything,
it’s worse today than it was on 9/11.
We’ve seen in the Middle East
especially a set of developments in recent months... of the reassertion or
reenergizing of al-Qaida.”
Cheney said the Obama administration has made
efforts to convince the public that terrorism is no longer an issue.
problem’s growing in terms of the number, the size and the diversity of
fundamental Islamist terrorists,” he said.
“The geographical areas where
they can find a home – a place for training, a place for sanctuary – is
dramatically expanded and the problem of proliferation of nuclear weapons is
probably greater than it’s ever been.”
Iran’s development of nuclear
weapons would have a ripple effect on the region, according to
“No question in my mind that if the Iranians have nuclear
weapons, the others in the region will, for their own defensive capabilities,
want nuclear weapons as well,” he said. “I think we’re headed down a road that
will be very dangerous.”
Cheney said Obama has done little to instill
confidence in its allies, such as Israel, when it comes to dealing with security
issues in the Middle East.
“Our allies no longer believe us and trust us.
Our adversaries no longer fear us, he said.
“Shortly after Obama met with
Netanyahu and Israel...
and drew a red line for the Iranians and said
‘you will not develop nuclear weapons,’ he cut the naval employment in half in
the United States.
Nobody believes [Obama] in terms of his comments and
statements about the willingness of the US to stand by our friends and
The Toronto Global Forum, presented by the International
Economic Forum of the Americas, took place October 30 and 31. This year marked
the seventh annual installment of the conference, which dealt with the theme of
“globalization at a crossroads.”
Over 70 speakers from Japan, France,
Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Russia, the US and Canada joined to discuss economic issues
facing the public and private sectors both locally and abroad.
keynote speech followed an address by Ed Fast, the Canadian minister of
international trade, who called the tentative free trade agreement between
Canada and the European Union – unveiled on October 18 – “the most comprehensive
agreement the world has ever seen.”
Fast said the deal would become the
world’s “21st century gold standard agreement” as it deals with issues
concerning intellectual property, government procurement, regulatory
cooperation, environment, labor and sustainability.
Unlike this tentative
arrangement, Canada’s free trade agreement with Israel, which has been in place
since 1997, is far less inclusive, he noted.
Fast said the government is
working with Israel to modernize the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement in order
to expand its reach.
“Any time you remove tariff and non-tariff barriers,
it improves trade flow, so that’s certainly the case between Canada and Israel.
The first agreement we struck between us was a first generation agreement,” Fast
He compared the deal to the North American Free Trade Agreement
between Canada, the US and Mexico, which came into effect three years earlier,
calling the deals “not that ambitious.”
“We’re now looking to take that
to a new level and I’m looking forward to having those discussions in the weeks
and months ahead,” Fast said.