Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Losing the UN Seat Was Not Our Only Diplomatic Disaster

Losing the UN Security seat was definitely a black mark for Canada and a reminder of just where this party is taking us. But it was not the only diplomatic disaster this week.

As Don Martin reminds us:
The foreign affairs fizzle of losing its bid for a UN Security Council seat on Tuesday, while a humiliation for the history books, was not Canada's major diplomatic breakdown of the last week.

The dogfight in the skies over the United Arab Emirates has the potential to punch a billion-dollar hole in Canadian exports to the region even while we're hastily evicted from a military base that has cost tens of millions of dollars to carve out of the desert sand near Dubai. Long after the red faces fade over Canada's smackdown at the UN and Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives up his desperation tactic of blaming the failure on trash-talking by Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, the negatives from losing Camp Mirage and resulting economic tensions with this wealthy sheikdom will linger on.
And again the Harper government is trying to use fear tactics, that aren't working.
A UAE official has expressed disappointment over the recent statements of the Canadian government on the landing rights dispute and termed them as “fear tactics” of the Neo Cons. The Canadian media reports that a military plane carrying its defence minister was refused landing permission in the UAE was nothing but a deliberate leak of misinformation, Gulf News reported quoting an official source.

The source said the agreement granting Canada landing rights had expired in June, but was given an extension for three months. But a Canadian military source told CTV News that the UAE on Monday turned back the plane carrying its defence minister Peter MacKay, Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Chief of Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk who were returning from Afghanistan.

Lamenting the lack of reciprocity in goodwill showed by the UAE, the source said “Canada today is behaving like the defunct states of the Iron Curtain” when it came to free trade and liberalisation.
An "iron curtain". That's it exactly.

And as usual Harper became a one man show, cutting everyone else out. And yet he never takes the blame for anything. Go figure.
Ottawa’s eviction from a Mideast military base has exposed a rift within the Harper cabinet over how far Canada should go to satisfy its Arab hosts: an internal debate in which Stephen Harper cut Defence Minister Peter MacKay out of negotiations. Canada is set to vacate Camp Mirage, a once-secret military installation, by Nov. 5 after failing to reach an agreement with the United Arab Emirates over what would amount to compensation for nine years of accommodation near Dubai.
In one of his photo-op trips to Afghanistan, Harper told the troops that Canada was not an island. So why has he sent us adrift?

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