Apart from the Toronto Star and several non-right of centre blogs, the Canadian mainstream media’s coverage of Stephen Harper’s UN Security Council seat debacle is akin to the Chinese state media’s coverage of the most recent Nobel Prize winner, or the way South African state media and privately-owned newspapers defended apartheid during the years of Nelson Mandela’s jailing. The coverage goes from outright ignoring it – as today’s Leader-Post has done – to circling the wagons to defend Stephen Harper and Canada as the Globe and Mail has today.
In reality, this is probably the biggest diplomatic smack down Canada has received since the United Nations has been created. Some of the better analysis comes from The Galloping Beaver,, The Mound of Sound, Scott Tribe (Scott’s DiaTribes) and Impolitical.
There would have been no other good reason for two European nations to have seats in the Security Council – Germany won on the first ballot and Portugal claimed the second seat, after the second ballot, when Portugal was so far ahead that Canada pretty much gave up. It was no coincidence that Jim Flaherty got sent out for an economic statement at the time of the vote, in order to distract the national media with another shiny object.
Canada’s back on the world stage, right? (Canada.com) Given Prime Minister Eddie Haskell`s petty and vindictive nature, I think the odds of Canada threatening to withdraw from the UN sometime before Harper calls the next federal election should be set at about 5-1. The rest of the world has cottoned on to something that Canada`s Powers That Be are too scared to admit to themselves – Stephen Harper is a bully and a twit who would provoke a fight at an Irish/Ukrainian/hippie wedding – and an embarrassment to Canada on the world stage. Our diplomatic efforts are resembling Canada’s place on the world soccer stage (FIFA.com) – a joke to the outside world, and the subject of a bunch of internal politicking that nobody really cares about.
‘Twas not always thus. Whatever you could say about the government of the day, foreign policy was a Canadian strength – and the Progressive Conservatives did their part. Dief may have been paranoid, but after the Sharpeville Massacre, Diefenbaker was instrumental in lining up support to force South Africa to either renounce apartheid or leave the British Commonwealth (The National Party governing South Africa chose to leave the Commonwealth). And, as someone who has otherwise no love for The Jaw That Walks Like A Man, Prime Minister Mulroney’s stand against apartheid was also a brave and noble act, especially since President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher were more sympathetic to white-only rule. (sahistory.org) Yeah, he could have gone farther, but he went further than most of his contemporaries.
And we’re not even talking about Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize for creating the concept of a United Nations Peacekeeping force, or our international reputation in peacekeeping or in worldwide relief campaigns. But under Harper, Canada has ran away from international commitments such as Kyoto and Copenhagen, followed a more unilateral policy, and last year Harper blew off a major conference at the UN – where world leaders were assembling – in favour of a photo op at a Tim Horton’s. (Toronto Star)
Do you remember a kid in middle school who was always cussing out one of the girls? Throwing snowballs at her, pulling her hair, knocking her textbooks off her desk, all because everybody knows e secretly likes her but is too insecure to ask her out? That guy hasn’t grown up – he’s just living at 24 Sussex Drive.
Harper juts around on the world stage, our own Mussolini-wanna-be. Mistaking bullying for strength and diplomacy for weakness, it’s not surprising that the rest of the world thinks that we’re going off our rockers, and should give us a wide berth until we, as a nation, get our marbles back.
Oh yeah. If four years of Conservative foreign policy can be undone by a 30-second quip by the leader of the opposition, then then just how badly has the Conservative government messed up the foreign affairs file? (CBC News) And why does the rest of the world heed Iggy’s word than Harper’s?