Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Harpie and the gang tainting our international influence

Of course they are: "Tories consider giving up on bid for top UN seat." Harpie can't control the outcome, for one thing. And besides, when you've become internationally renowned as the Bush administration's chief ally, undercutting climate change efforts and even going so far as being the last western nation to hang with them on Gitmo, well, let's not kid ourselves that things in the world community have changed. As noted in the report, such drastic shifts in the way Canada's being perceived may well affect our ability to get 2/3rds support to beat out Portugal for a seat on the Security Council (with all due respect to the Portuguese).

Now I don't know about you, but this idea that Harpie and the gang just don't feel up to mounting the effort to getting a Security Council seat doesn't jive with the whole "Canada's Back" theme and all. After all, how back can we be, as Harpie likes to tell us, when we can't muster the energy to seek a major position of influence on the world stage. The Conservative strategy here is counter-intuitive.

Here's some of the context affecting our likelihood of winning the seat, as reported today:
In past campaigns, Canada took on other countries' concerns that it is too close to the United States by stressing its commitment to a multilateral foreign policy. However, Mr. Harper's government is widely viewed as placing less emphasis on the UN and its multilateral initiatives. One Asian diplomat said that Canada is simply less visible at the UN than it was in the 1990s, when it pushed for initiatives like the International Criminal Court and a land-mines treaty.

Canada's move to a more pro-Israel position on UN votes in the Middle East, which began in 2004 under former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin but has moved further under Mr. Harper's Conservatives, will likely have some impact with at least some of the more than 50 Muslim countries in the world, some said.

In addition, Canada's policy of concentrating foreign aid with a smaller number of countries may mean fewer African countries feel close current ties. (emphasis added)
See, we seem to be subscribing to the John Bolton if-the-UN-lost-10-floors-it-wouldn't-make-a-bit-of-difference school of UN utility, and that's hardly surprising given the Harper government's hewing to the Bush foreign policy above all else.

And Foreign Affairs has been knocked around by the Harper government, let's not forget that undercurrent. Prestigious consulates being sold off, the PMO running the Foreign Affairs show, the dumping of an ineffectual lightweight, Maxime Bernier, into the portfolio. For all Harper's protestations, his decimation of Foreign Affairs has not exactly been conducive to bringing Canada "back." (And just a reminder, not that most right thinking Canadians thought we went anywhere, that goes without saying.)

Yes, it's quite the heroic turn they appear to be taking. Shrink back, Conservatives. You do us so internationally proud.