Thursday, July 3, 2014

Harper's Cold War Becomes Arctic Chill: Why Domestic Politicking Makes For Bad Foreign Relations

Outgoing Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mame, spoke before his departure, lamenting our government's undiplomatic posturing with his country, including Stephen Harper's suggestion that Putin was the next Hitler.
He accused the Harper government of isolating itself from its allies over Ukraine and hinted broadly that the Conservatives are likely playing to a domestic audience of 1.2 million Ukrainian-Canadians.

“My whole history as a diplomat, during Cold War, after Cold War was: the higher the risk, the more active the discussion,” he said. “The only exception to this rule is the last seven months I spent in Ottawa.”
There is no longer any diplomacy in our foreign policy. It's all chest thumping and hot air, in an attempt to secure Conservative votes, riding by riding.

However, what's more troubling is that the Harper government has also been basing our foreign policy on Religious Doctrine.
... he [Harper] outlined plans for a broad new party coalition that would ensure a lasting hold on power. The only route, he argued, was to focus not on the tired wish list of economic conservatives or “neo-cons,” as they’d become known, but on what he called “theo-cons”—those social conservatives who care passionately about hot-button issues that turn on family, crime, and defence ... Arguing that the party had to come up with tough, principled stands on everything from parents’ right to spank their children to putting “hard power” behind the country’s foreign-policy commitments ..." (Stephen Harper and the Theo-cons: The rising clout of Canada’s religious right, Walrus Magazine, October 2006)
This platform is obvious when we see his ridiculous "devotion" to Israel, refusing to accept that they are not always right. They don't need our protection. They have nuclear weapons. They do however, need to be reined in at times.

Harper's nonsense with Russia, though is becoming a far greater threat. In a piece by Brian Stewart: Putin gets payback for Canada's anti-Russia stance
As Prime Minister Stephen Harper was pouring vitriol and sanctions on Russia for months over the Crimea and Ukraine crisis, he did not seem to have expected much of a serious slap-back from President Vladimir Putin.

While Ottawa joined other allies to punish Russia, using sanctions, criticism and even a modest arms buildup in eastern Europe, Harper’s team always appeared the most determined to “tweak the Bear."
We know from Wikileaks that Americans view Harper a fool, and while they have taken a firm stand against Putin, they still seek diplomatic solutions.

Not so our "Theo-Con" cowboys; and our military; while on high alert, are finding this very troubling.
Just as many feared, Canadian F-18s are yet again being sent screaming towards our northern airspace to see off large Russian Tu-95 heavy bombers testing our borders. Russian military planes, seen here during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, have tested the sovereign borders of the U.S. and Canada in recent months.

... The word in official circles is that this is “strategic messaging from Moscow” in retaliation for our constant criticism, as well as Canada’s actions to bolster Ukraine, which has just signed an historic trade pact with the European Union that Putin has fought against. The fly-overs have certainly shaken complacency.
This will not be a David and Goliath moment. Clearly Harper is over his head and having the bombastic John Baird as foreign minister is not helping.

Will There be a New World Order?

In the past decade and a half, America's international reputation has taken a beating. The clownish George Bush and his senseless wars, and the rise of the Tea Party within the GOP, have shown what poor governance looks like.

The American Congress is dysfunctional and their Republican dominated Supreme Court, is leading the country toward a dangerous theocracy. Like Harper, U.S. conservatives have turned to the Religious Right for political support.

The world is watching and Putin is taking advantage of this compromised position, though not necessarily to assert his own control, but to create 'multiple centres of power'. Says Russia’s deputy security chief, Evgeny Lukyanov, 'US hegemony in world has ended’.
“The United States has an impression that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the only result of the Cold War. This is arguable, and this is possible. But no one has attempted to analyze the results or make any conclusions from the situation. The unipolar world headed by Americans simply appeared,” ...

“However, this status quo was not built to last. New power centers have appeared on the international arena, including the BRICS nations, and Russia itself has managed to regain its stance. Nations openly declare their interests and demand respect to their basic rights. This is how the US hegemony on the international arena has ended and of course Washington officials cannot agree with this."
No one but the Tea Party and it's Canadian supporters, see a nuclear war as a good thing, so it's time stop the nonsense.

The BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, are gaining momentum, and some economists believe that could overtake the G7 by 2027. Said Kishore Mahbubani , Dean and Professor of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore:
"In 2013, China’s economy will grow by 7.8%, India’s by 5.6% and Brazil’s by 2.5%. In response, Western media headlines have begun screaming that the emerging-market story is over. Oh dear, here comes Western wishful thinking again."
The American dollar is no longer the Holy Grail, and the U.S. military weakened by bad press, not against soldiers or veterans, but against a government that has used them as pawns for the oil industry, and the military-industrial complex.

If Harper is counting on the United States to get him out of the mess he's created, he could be in trouble. They have their own problems. Sanctions against Russia have hurt American companies and the EU is softening on these retaliatory actions.

I think in the end, diplomacy will prevail and Harper will have to take his slingshot and retreat with his tail between his legs.

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