Foreign policy little more than empty rhetoric
Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 06:00 am
“The Government” doth protest too much, methinks! The bluster, the bravado that both John Baird and Stephen Harper espouse over Russian antics, while supporting and leaving much unsaid about Israeli actions, should raise questions in our minds. What is the difference between these two conflicts, the atrocities that are perpetuated, and why is little more being done, other than rhetoric, for either war?
In truth, it does not matter what Canada’s opinion is on these matters, as we have very little influence on the world’s stage. Russia will most definitely ignore what we say as there is little we can do to back up our rhetoric.
It does make some sense as to why we support Israel, as we have a free trade agreement with them. But supporting this conflict contradicts modern Canadian values, and it is contrary to the international community, which has condemned Israeli actions in this unending conflict. Ironically, because of this trade agreement, we might actually have some influence, but we have chosen to ignore this opportunity to lead. Again, the question should be “why?”
These conflicts do have significance for certain regions of the world. The Middle East has been a troubled spot for decades. Since the end of the Cold War, however, it has exploded as it struggles to find a new equilibrium, with little resolution in sight. There is little that any state outside of this region can do to impose peace.
Russia is a more delicate issue, as it is both a military and economic power in the European region. Vladimir Putin, though demonized in the West, is very popular amongst the Russian peoples as he pursues the nationalistic greatness of his country’s past. But Russia is not without its problems; it faces stagflation and an economy on the verge of collapse. Should its economy fall into the abyss, its best course of action would be to expand into Western Europe, as war is one solution to an economic collapse. And this is something we are ill prepared to deal with.
Neither of these conflicts is in Canada’s interests, so why does it continue to press aggressively? Neither Israel nor Ukraine is of great economic or strategic importance to Canada. These battles, in fact, undermine our interests that lie in trade, and maybe we should be the state pushing for a resolution, pursuing peace. Instead, our government insists on talking “tough,” knowing it will never “walk the walk.”
The answer to the recurring question is quite simple: the feigned indignation is for domestic consumption only, as the Conservative Party sees political votes in its rhetoric. It is appealing to the Ukrainian and Israeli supporters here in Canada on the hope that this will translate into economic sponsorship and votes in the next election. And so, this feigned indignation over these events is little more than political self-interest, but at what cost to Canada, to us?
John Kennair is an international consultant and doctor of laws who lives in St. Albert.