Speaker reassures students on terrorism threats
Gwynne Dyer says there are bigger things to worry about than global tensions
Gwynne Dyer is a man who wears many hats. He has done work as an international journalist, broadcaster, lecturer, author and historian. You may have seen his column in Fast Forward Weekly magazine. Wyckham house had the honour of hosting him for his lecture on the “New World Disorder”.
Given his experience in international affairs, Dyer fearlessly informed the audience about current events, such as terrorism and the conflict in Russia and Ukraine.
“Now, I’m old enough to know what a slippery slope looks like and this to me sounds exactly like the first steps into Vietnam,” he said of President Obama’s announcement to send American troops to train Ukrainians in combat against the Russians.
“There really are two Ukraines. Eastern Ukraine is a territory that has been in the Russian empire about 350 years. Most of the people who live here have a strong emotional tie with Russia and speak Russian natively,” explains Dyer.
“Crimea is an almost entirely Russian populated province that ended up in Ukraine by accident in the 1950’s.”
“Putin lost enormous amounts of face. Putin then lost control. And he behaved, like people with hurt feelings and deep embarrassment often behave — not normal,” says Dyer of Putin’s reaction to the dilemma with Viktor Yanukovych last year.
“I don’t think Putin’s trying to take over the world. I don’t think he’s even trying to take over Ukraine,” he says as he assures audience members that he does not anticipate another cold war, or a nuclear war, for that matter.
“Canada had its first terrorist attacks in the past year. What is going on with this renewed terrorist activity, particularly what happened last July?” he asks, referring to the development of the first terrorist-run state. He draws parallels with the actions of Colonial Europe to the intentions of terrorists.
“Should we panic? I don’t actually think so. There are much bigger dangers than this that you have to confront. If you change your diet, you’ll be 100 times more likely to live longer than if you attack terrorism.”
Dyer stated that the places where terrorist groups operate are limited with resources and connections with each other, and as a result, they will eventually fall apart.
“Now aren’t you glad I came?” Dyer concluded after discussing the big concerns of this generation and reassuring students that these concerns aren’t as scary as they seem.