The Musings and Rants of Three Progressive Canadians
I do not know what is worse, the UAE fiasco or the fact that these bombastic simpletons thought they had 150 votes in the bag. I don't know what is worse, either. The fact that you think we should have caved in to UAE extortion (attempting to link military and commercial interests), or the fact that you think we should care that most of the world's thugs, dictators and tyrants don't care for our foreign policy (which we can proudly say was Made in Canada for the first time in decades).
It always amazes me that so many Conservative bloggers are unable of think for themselves. They just parrot the party line as you just did. States try to extort other states all the time. It is just the way of the world. I hope you did not think, for example, that states only give aid out of the goodness of their hearts. Aid is leverage. A seat security council is leverage.What is unusual about the spat between Canada and the UAE is that the government was caught completely unawareness. The defense minister was in mid flight for Christ sakes. These things take time to go public if they go public at all. There is usually a back and forth and warnings given before things are escalated.The UN vote was further evidence that diplomatically we are flying blind. Not only do we not have the same level of influence as we once did, the government is completely clueless as to just how little influence it has. Now as for your asinine red herring about tyrants, ghosts and things that go bump in the night, the notion we are more valuable to Israel, for instance, cheering them on from the sidelines than we are keeping a low profile and securing positions of influence is fucking retarded.
Koby,You are mixing apples with oranges.I totally agree that the UAE fiasco was a ham handed piece of CPC brittleness. I also agree that the SC vote was either useful and important or it wasn't. The government can't claim that it meant something before it happened, preparing to trumpet our international swagger and then pretend it's just all a shell game controlled by snake oil salesmen and "bastards" to quote the Aussies. However that is the "orange". The "apple" is the importance of Canada not becoming some sort of weak kneed bowl of moral and political jelly. If you think that being a strong friend and advocate for Israel is important, then, it's important. We shouldn't be pretending to suck up to Muslim State's just for some votes. It is disingenouos and bad policy. I would suggest you read Conrad Black's op ed in the Post on this. Many blogger's are forgetting that we do have a foreign policy and it has been pretty clear where it goes and what it means. Disagreeing with it is fine, But pretending we haven't got one is just a little snake oil selling, just like those corrupt government's that play games at the UN. Maybe, like Portugal, we should have sent a few delegates to some tropical island for a little wine, women, and song. I think not.
Tomm: "The "apple" is the importance of Canada not becoming some sort of weak kneed bowl of moral and political jelly. If you think that being a strong friend and advocate for Israel is important, then, it's important. We shouldn't be pretending to suck up to Muslim State's just for some votes. It is disingenouos and bad policy." The Conservatives have knee capped Canadian foreign policy by taking "principled" stances that reality have nothing to do with foreign policy and are simply designed to play to a domestic audience. Our ability to effect any kind of change depends on our ability to position ourselves as deal makers and honest brokers. The Conservatives have positioned us on the sidelines by taking these "principled" stances. Two more things: Those same foreign states that you speak are key to Israeli security. Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey are part of a informal alliance knitted together by American largeness. Of course, the populations of the latter three 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, Jordan lack popular legitimacy --- as does to lesser extent the Turkish military -- and their restive populations resent the US for propping up such regimes. This situation is made all the worse by the fact that these populations are reminded daily of the illegitimacy of such an alliance and their own leaders whenever they hear stories coming out of the West Bank and Gaza. 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 immigrants in 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. The aforementioned alliance helps the US manage the flow of oil in an out of the Gulf. However, it does nothing for Canada. Our strong support for Israel has no upside. Worse, we have more to loose. Canada has the highest immigration rate in the Western world and a significant chunk of that in absolute terms is from Muslim countries. As the case of the Toronto 18 has shown, what Canada chooses to do internationally can have impact at home. 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 what would happen if the Montreal subway was attacked on a number of occasions. For example I wrote this last December: "Make no mistake if the Montreal subway is bombing and motivation for the attack was the 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 UN vote was further evidence that diplomatically we are flying blind. Not only do we not have the same level of influence as we once did, the government is completely clueless as to just how little influence it has. If you really believe that, you are woefully ignorant of political reality, not to mention still stuck in the Cold War mentality. Those days are gone, I'm afraid...you can either change with the times or become a dinosaur. I prefer the *real* influence Canada has now to the previous tactic of patting ourselves on the back and smugly proclaiming ourselves to be relevant. We weren't...we were patronized and tolerated as long as we performed the function expected of us. Now that we have our own, independent foreign policy we can chart our own course, and we have Prime Minister Stephen Harper to thank for that...
Kool Aid Drinker Fred: "I prefer the *real* influence Canada has now to the previous tactic of patting ourselves on the back and smugly proclaiming ourselves to be relevant. We weren't...we were patronized and tolerated as long as we performed the function expected of us."Against the backdrop of the UN vote, it is uproariously funny that you are proclaiming that we now have "real" influence. It is clear that we have none. Countries with "real" influence are not publicly embarrassed twice in one week. We are held in such low regard that the UAE felt comfortable denying the Canadian defense Minister access to their air space without any warning and if reports are true no fewer than 36 countries had no problem lying to our face about how they were going to vote. These votes are only "secret" to those who are out of the loop and apparently, that is Canada. Oh yeah, there is also those stories about the US not lifting a finger to help us and other countries, most notably, India working against us. As for your ridiculous claim about us now having more "independent" foreign policy, two things. One, the "principles" Harper refers to are remarkably similar to the principles of the Republican party has held near and dear for some time now. Two, Canada has historically been innovator on the foreign policy front and has shown an independent streak. With regard to the former, Canada was driving force behind a UN Peace Keeping force and it was the first Western nation to establish diplomatic relations with Communist China. With regard to the latter, despite US pressure, it stayed out of Vietnam and the second Iraq and it maintained diplomatic ties with Cuba.
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