It's 2056. The main technological advances of the previous five decades was to convert the USA's oil shale and Canada's oil sands to petroleum cheaply and efficiently. They become the two most important oil producers in the world. At the same time, their governments fall further into corruption and tyranny. Elections are still held, but everyone knows they're rigged. Oil profits "trickle up" to the rich, and North America's middle class, once the envy of the world, disappears. The USA has also become militarily weak.
At the same time, in a seemingly miraculous turn of events, the people of China have converted to evangelical Christianity. Where once abortions were encouraged if not required, they are now banned. Filled with the crusading spirit, the Chinese look in horror at the once-great United States and, especially, the million-plus abortions performed there every year. At the same time, the Chinese military has become pre-eminent; China is now the "world's only superpower."
What should the powerful and righteous Chinese do? They decide to save the lives of all those innocent unborn American babies slaughtered every year. The United States must have a regime that protects life, not one that allows life to be destroyed. So if Americans don't ban abortions by themselves, someone must do it for them. That is, the Chinese.
Think tanks are created in China addressing this very concern. There had already been several diplomatic crises between China and both the USA and Canada. Both are promoted by the Chinese media as "threats" and the Chinese people believe it. One Chinese group's position paper promotes "liberating" Canada first, as the linchpin of taking the United States, the "prize."
The Chinese government manufactures a false provocation and attacks Canada. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of troops, the Canadian military falls quickly. The Chinese claim they are only there to help, to end the horror of abortion and rebuild the country. While some pro-life Canadians may collaborate, determined patriots in both English Canada and Quebec want to expel the occupiers from their land. Their own government may have been corrupt, and their laws may have been unjust. But neither warrants an unprovoked attack and occupation by foreign troops; Canadian affairs should be in the hands of Canadians.
What would an American do, even an evangelical, pro-life American? Applaud the Chinese invasion north of the border, or take measures to defend the country?
Some of them might find abortion so abhorrent that they would welcome this invasion of the continent. But I know what patriots would do. They would flood into Canada to fight the Chinese. They know the plan. They know America is next. They would fight the Chinese in Canada so they wouldn't have to fight them in the USA. They would hope to frustrate, demoralize, and exhaust the Chinese so that they never invade the USA.
Both Canadians and Americans would know one thing beyond a shadow of the doubt: the invasion had nothing to do with abortion. It was about Chinese imperialism, about securing Chinese access to North American oil. Cynically, many suspect that the real purpose of the war is to keep oil prices artificially high to provide windfall profits for Chinese oil companies.
But here's a problem. The agenda of the American fighters would not be identical to that of the Canadians (and among Canadians, the agenda of the Quebecois may not be the same as the Anglos). Canadian insurgents may plant roadside bombs that target Chinese tanks and troop carriers; their target would be the Chinese army, but they don't want to destroy themselves in the process. The Americans, however, may think differently. They want to drive the entire country into chaos, to create a "quagmire" for the occupying troops. The "collateral damage" of Canadian civilians matters less to them. They would be more inclined to set off bombs in marketplaces and buses - better to have Canadians suffer now, than Americans suffer later, they rationalize. War is nasty business, after all.
There wouldn't be any doubt of the justice of the tactics and aims of Canadian insurgents - they are defending their own lives, families, and homes from an unprovoked attack. If that is not just, then justice doesn't exist.
The situation of the Americans is a little more complicated. Would these Americans be "terrorists?" Yes. Would their tactics be just? No. But is their cause just? Yes. For they, too, are defending their country. The Chinese couldn't launch a criminal attack on Canada and then exclaim "no fair!" that Americans resort to ruthless means to resist it. The terrorism would not have occurred if the invasion hadn't.
One of the great errors of the American invasion of Iraq is that our leaders - if they were indeed well-meaning - failed to recognize how Iraqis and their neighbors would interpret it. When going to war, what matters as much as having "good intentions" is to empathize with the enemy. This is something Robert McNamara remarks on in the documentary film Fog of War. As Defense Secretary during the Vietnam War, he thought the Americans were fighting communists. But decades later, in a meeting with a Vietnamese counterpart, he was told that they were fighting a war of national independence.
It's something we should have taken to heart. Taking on Iraq may have, to us, meant "liberating" a country, deposing a "madman," and fighting the terrorists "over there so we won't have to fight them over here." But would any of this make sense to the average young Iraqi man? His job has been lost, and members of his family have been killed thanks to an invasion by a country that Iraq never threatened. It is no surprise why they would resist the occupation, and also no surprise that men from neighboring countries would join the fight.
This was all quite predictable, and the only solution is for the USA to withdraw from Iraq.