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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:47 am
 


<strong>Written By:</strong> Reverend Blair
<strong>Date:</strong> 2006-07-25 11:47:00
<a href="/article/104733918-the-path-to-isolation">Article Link</a>

The election of Stephen Harper has brought us a new tact when it comes to foreign policy. It is bellicose and abrasive, myopic and unapologetic. It ignores international norms, the lessons of history, and true multilateralism. It consists of taking the US position, or rather the position of the hawkish, arrogant, and failed Bush regime. The rhetoric is the same, the lack of coherently considered policy is the same, the lack of explanation is the same, and the arrogant swagger is the same.</p> <p>Hamas won the election in Palestine? We want democracy, but not if it means that a government we, or the hawks in the Bush White House, do not agree with might win. Therefore Hamas cannot be a legitimate political force. <a href='http://www.socialist.ca/En/SW2006/SocialistWorker467/467-05-Hamas.htm'>The Harper government cut them off.</a> So what if they won the election? So what if our actions heighten tensions and make the situation worse? It’s the Republican thing to do.</p> <p>The situation in <a href='http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/05/19/OutOfAfghanistan/'>Afghanistan</a> is spinning out of control? No problem, we’ll send Canadian soldiers to die trying to whip the extremists, drug lords, and insurgents into doing things our way. Just to make sure that any dissent, within Canada or without, is minimized, we’ll label anybody who dares to oppose us as “terrorists”. It doesn’t matter that tactic has failed throughout history or that we’re losing the support of the Afghan population or that most Canadians do not support the war. We’ll tell those Afghans how things are going to be and if they don’t like it, tough. We have guns and if that isn’t enough, we’ll call in an American air strike. When the situation deteriorates, we’ll claim that just proves that we need to kill a few more Afghan people.</p> <p>Israel is committing what, if one is to pay attention to international law, are <a href='http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,251-2283898,00.html'>war crimes and crimes against humanity.</a> Stephen Harper claims that Israel bombing Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure is a “measured response” because Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation and provoked Israel by kidnapping Israeli soldiers.</p> <p>The fact is that this conflict stretches back decades and who provoked who depends where the historical line is drawn. Both sides have a long history of ignoring international law. Canadians have been killed and others placed in peril. Israel is not above the law. Stephen Harper, in his rush to please George Bush, is ignoring that the law must be applied equally if it is to be applied at all. The Bush doctrine of might making right does not work, and Harper’s endorsement of that failed doctrine will not make it more effective.</p> <p>It isn’t just our foreign policy where Stephen Harper’s propensity for ingratiating himself to the Bush White House is apparent. The softwood lumber debacle, the attack on the Canadian Wheat Board, the rhetoric against same-sex marriage, the talk of activist judges, attempts to destroy the Kyoto Protocol and a dozen other issues illustrate this Prime Minister’s preference for adopting current Republican policy instead of forming his own. Harper’s catch-all explanation for his position on such issues is that he’s acting in the interests of Canada.</p> <p>Harper never explains what those interests are, why he thinks his actions or lack of independent policy are in our interests, or even what he considers his version of Canada to be. Harper has been careful not to express his opinion on these things since his last run for Prime Minister. Instead he offers platitudes and slogans borrowed from his neo-conservative mentors in the United States and denies the harm he is doing to this country. The mainstream press sweeps Harper’s past statements under the carpet and does not push him for explanations.</p> <p>It is the area of foreign policy where Harper is doing the most harm to Canada. By tying us to the unilateral and unpopular policies of the Bush White House while parroting the rhetoric of what is perhaps the most corrupt and incompetent government the United States has endured since the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, Stephen Harper...or Steve, as his friend George likes to call him...is isolating Canada from the rest of the world.</p> <p>Any influence we may have still wielded due to our past reputation as a middle power capable of punching above its weight is being more quickly eroded under Harper than under past governments. The international community long ago lost patience with, and respect for, the unilateral sabre-rattling of George Bush. That same international community will certainly not tolerate such ill-considered bellicosity from a Canadian prime minister with a minority government, a cabinet completely inexperienced in foreign affairs, and a reputation for considering only the wishes of the Bush administration.</p> <p>That erosion will accelerate further if, as seems probable at this point, the Republicans lose one or both houses to the Democrats in the mid-term US elections this fall. While Democratic and Republican foreign policy are almost identical, especially when it comes to issues involving Israel, the Democrats at least try to couch their actions in diplomatic language.</p> <p>Should the Harper government survive until after the next presidential election in the United States, Harper will have left Canada even more isolated. It is highly unlikely that the next president, Democrat or Republican, will want to be associated with the failed policies of George Bush. The big name neo-conservatives, many of whom cut their teeth during Gerald Ford’s freakish time in office, are getting a little long in the tooth and will be retiring to the board positions they’ve bought and paid for with their influence in the Bush White House.</p> <p>Whoever replaces them is unlikely to have much patience with George Bush’s best friend from Calgary. At best, Harper will be ignored. At worst, Harper’s policies and past words will be a reminder of the mess that George Bush has made and Harper will be made into a whipping boy to accentuate the differences, real or imagined, between the new president and George Bush.</p> <p>The real danger is not our reputation in the US, however. They need us as badly as we need them and, while there may be some votes in Canada-bashing, trade and the disingenuous statements about what good friends we are will continue.</p> <p>The real danger is to our reputation outside of the United States. Canada’s future does not lay in tying itself more closely to the United States. We have already placed far too many eggs in that particular basket. If we become known as the nation that simply backs the United States or, worse yet, one of the few remaining nations that adheres to the failed policies of George Bush, it will have a negative influence when it comes to our relations with other countries.</p> <p>That will carry over into trade talks, our influence in international forums, our ability to act as a broker in even minor international disputes, and our ability to operate as an independent state. If Harper’s belligerent rhetoric and short-sighted policies are allowed to alienate us from the international community, we will be alone when the political guard changes in the US. That sort of damage will take years to repair and will have long-ranging implications for virtually every aspect of life in Canada.</p> <p>There is an old maxim that people do not consider foreign policy during elections. That maxim is true to an extent, part of the human habit of voting for personal short-term interests, but in a world where foreign policy is intertwined with domestic policy and the economic health of the nation, it is time to change that maxim.</p> <p>Our former reputation as an honest broker who dealt fairly with other nations through multilateral organisations is now on the line. That is in the interest of no Canadian. It is a doctrine based in neo-conservative mythology and the attitude, so clear in so many of Harper’s past statements, that Canada is a third-rate nation incapable of making a difference in the world.</p> <p>We deserve a leader who thinks more highly of Canada than that.</p> [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on July 28, 2006]


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:33 pm
 


When I suggested to Jack Layton ,a couple of elections ago ,that the NDP should try to recover all those alienated former supporters who voted for the Mel Hurtig Vanity party because of their strong defence of Canadian nationalism he said "We plan to make that the central theme of our campaign." He's done nothing of the kind, only making a few nationalist mumbles at the end of each campaign. Former NDP BC labour and aboriginal affairs minister Dale Lovick told me he suggested that the NDP skip all other issues and concentrate on Canadian nationalism.He was ignored.
As both the Liberals and the Conservatives both show a longing to see the stars and stripes flying over Canada, we should harrass all NDP candidates to make this a bigger issue.They are our only hope.
Friends sailing the western Pacific have told me that a visa is not required for commonwealth citizens visiting Kiribati, unless you are Canadian . They don't recognise Canadians as commonwealth members. They consider us a part of the US. I complained to NDP foreign affairs critic Alexa McDonough about this . She has not replied and I don't
expect her to.
When I was kicked out of Kiribati because my Canadian yacht didn't have US registry or a US coastguard certificate of seaworthiness, during hurricane season ,with a hurricane in the area , McDonough didn't consider it worth her time to reply . Neither did then Liberal foreign affairs minister Bill Graham.
When Canadians refer to the US as America ,and yanks as Americans , they are implicitly endorsing the Munroe Doctrine which suggests that the US should control all of both American continents.
America is not a country. It is two continents containing over 22 countries.
Brent

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:54 pm
 


As a Brit with many Canadian kinsmen and friends, and a close interest in
Canadian Toryism, I am deeply saddened by the way Canada has been led by
the nose down this particular path of the USA's "Manifest Destiny".

Don't your politicians know anything about your own history, or care a jot
about Canadian interests? What is this colonial cringe that has to swap one
Empire for another?

I think you were better off as part of the British Empire, and successfully
resisted the imperialism of the south, but the time came to turn Empire into
Commonwealth - so why, instead of becoming Canada trading east to west
and west to east, did your politicians decide to turn into the 14th Colony and
join the American Empire that has been trying to destroy Canada even before
its War of Independence from King George III?

Can't you tear up the FDA and NAFTA, and get out now?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:02 pm
 


I agee, I agree, I agree.

You got my vote on this one Reverend Blair!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:54 pm
 


The truth is that Canada got a free ride on military spending and pundit after pundit have recognized as much.
We are like the big man's little brat sidekick, strong as long as we have him to bail us out of trouble.
Our role as peacemaker evaporated just when it came time to enforce peace instead of vacationing in a warm spot like the beaches of Cyprus participating in so called peace-keeping. Don't forget your surf board next time.
It makes you wonder if we were ever serious. The Left didn't care half so much for human rights and innocent lives then. Just listen to the chorus from the NDP and the rest of eternal complainers and judge their compassion or lack of any.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:12 pm
 


A free ride militarily?

I disagree.

It cost us our position as one of the world's leaders when another glorious Conservative decided to cave in on the Avro Arrow.

What did we get in return? Bomarcs loaded with sandbag warheads.

A free ride?

Yeah, we got to live as the US buffer state between itself and the then Soviet Union. If there had been an exchange, we'd have got to see the lovely trails of ICBM's from both nations flying over our territory.

Want to know what I'd do if I was PM?

I'd pull us out of NAFTA, start cutting back petroleum exports to the US down to 20% of what thy are now, and start cutting back on power exports.

And that's just for starters...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:19 pm
 


Well said, Blair. I recall Canada putting out some feelers about joining the European Common Market (memory doesn't serve well enough to recall if that was during Pearson or Trudeau years) ... we should have kept at it.

Paul Harris


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:17 pm
 


Well said, Blair. I recall Canada putting out some feelers about joining the European Common Market<<

I doubt we will if the Americans don't want us to. The EU and the US don't presently see eye to eye. Harper and Bush do.

Canada has sold it's soul with NAFTA. It is to late to buy back the abundent American interests in this country. Daily we hear about, yet another, Canadian company being sold to Americans. The USA really would declare war on Canada if she was to stop their financial takeover. It won't be long before American military bases will be springing up on Canadian soil. I'm sure Bush and Harper are making plans for it now.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:42 pm
 


<p>Brent,</p> <blockquote>[NDP candidates] are our only hope.</blockquote> <p>if the NDP won’t take up your cause, then you might do better by determining to shape your country’s future without them; several people here can advise you on alternate paths to achieving your goal.</p> <blockquote>Friends sailing the western Pacific have told me that a visa is not required for Commonwealth citizens visiting Kiribati, unless you are Canadian. They don’t recognise Canadians as Commonwealth members. They consider us a part of the US.</blockquote> <p>My guess is that Kiribati <i>does</i> recognise Canada as part of the Commonwealth, but that they’re retaliating for Canada’s requirement that <a href="http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/press/01/0127-pre.html">Kiribatians</a> (is that the proper adjective?) <a href="http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/press/01/0127-pre.html">require visas to visit Canada</a>. <blockquote>When I was kicked out of Kiribati because my Canadian yacht didn’t have US registry or a US coastguard certificate of seaworthiness, during hurricane season, with a hurricane in the area, McDonough didn’t consider it worth her time to reply.</blockquote> <p>If your visit was in December 2001 or afterwards, they might have been acting as though you were American simply to express their displeasure at Canada’s decision to require Kiribatians to obtain visas to visit Canada.</p> <blockquote>When Canadians refer to the US as America, and Yanks as Americans, they are implicitly endorsing the Monroe Doctrine […] America is not a country. It is two continents containing over 22 countries.</blockquote> <p>There was a discussion on this topic in the forum six months ago, in which we both participated. As was explained <a href="http://www.vivelecanada.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?showtopic=14837">there</a> (search the page for the word <i>crux</i>), the word <i>American</i> has never before and does not now <i>exclusively</i> refer to citizens of the USA, and thus its use as a nationality is not tantamount to kowtowing before the Monroe Doctrine.</p><p>---<br>Shatter your ideals upon the rock of Truth.<br />
<br />
— The Divine Symphony, by Inayat Khan<br />



Shatter your ideals upon the rock of Truth.

— The Divine Symphony, by Inayat Khan


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:55 pm
 


<p>David,</p> <blockquote>the American Empire that has been trying to destroy Canada even before its War of Independence from King George III</blockquote> <p>certainly you realise that before the War of Independence, the American Empire was actually British; and that before 1763, most of colonised Canada was French?</p> <blockquote>Can’t you tear up the FTA and NAFTA, and get out now?</blockquote> <p>NAFTA <i>can</i> be unilaterally terminated by any national Party, but it takes six months for the tearing-up to take effect. I’m not sure if the FTA has a similar process of withdrawal.</p><p>---<br>Shatter your ideals upon the rock of Truth.<br />
<br />
— The Divine Symphony, by Inayat Khan<br />



Shatter your ideals upon the rock of Truth.

— The Divine Symphony, by Inayat Khan


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 8:11 pm
 


"Does Canada have an independent foreign policy?"

Indeed Rev. I saw on the news many Canadians have been told to flee to Syria. SYRIA!

Yes, that has been such a warm, friendly place for Canadians in the past few years.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:52 pm
 


Our foreign policy is set in Washington and is what ever Bush tells his boy Harper it is. I have not know any other world leader who wants to emulate and be exactly like a US President until Harper came along.

Harper does not think about issues he just repeats what Bush says.

We should get the hell out of Afghanistan as it is a conflict that has been going on for almost 5 years now with no end in site. It is not and never was our war.

With the Afghan and Iraq flop and George licking his chops about mid east domination with the current mid east crisis. America's long ruined reputation is worse than ever, and yet we have an idiot for a pm that rides the biggest terrorist, war criminal of them all coat tails.

Long after Bush is gone Canada thanks to Harper will be remembered as Americas lackey. Harper managed to ruin our International reputation in very short order.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:56 pm
 


"Want to know what I'd do if I was PM?

I'd pull us out of NAFTA, start cutting back petroleum exports to the US down to 20% of what thy are now, and start cutting back on power exports.

And that's just for starters..."

Why stop there, you chickenhawk. Invite China to control the internet. Go water skiing among the drowned bodies with Kim Jong Il. Ask Mexico to teach you the value of payola when dealing with matters of justice, ask Israel's neighbours to teach you about love, and give the rich socialists their due like you always do. They are so needy and really crave your favor. Maybe someone will let you drag dead American soldiers through the streets somewhere and maybe you can cheer when the terrorists knock down some more buildings or nuke an American city.
But you will never be PM and cows will never fly but there is a damned good chance you will be committed.
If anyone wants to know why the left has failed wherever it was in power, this half-baked ego trip should tell you why. They failed when their people got rid of them. They (the left)felt so strongly that not one shot was fired in their behalf. If you were PM the clock in the Peace Tower would run backward, like whatever it is that you call logic.
Nothing personal. I hate NAFTA too.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:04 pm
 


Hey! If I was PM, I order the castration of drunk drivers (you know, important stuff)............

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:12 am
 


I was hoping you'd take the bait. Nice to see you're so predictable.

My beef is with the powers that rule the US, and the only way to make them listen is to hurt them.

You're right, I'll never be PM. I'm not into kissing US government ass.

As for running the clock in reverse, I'll leave that to people like yourself.

And as for the remark of me wanting to drag US soldiers bodies through the streets, in that you are so thoroughly wrong it's pathetic. In case it's escaped you, they're paying for Dubyuhs ride to glory in their own blood, blood they should not have had to spill if their President was half the champion of goodness he pretends to be.

Those boys should be home with their families, not in some morgue awaiting burial.

That you would stoop that low makes me wonder if you have any integrity at all.

On second thought, I've stopped wondering.

You don't.







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"and the knowledge they fear is a weapon to be used against them"

"The Weapon" - Rush



Most people would prefer a comforting lie over a painful truth.


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