Friday, June 3, 2011

A Fiasco Brought to You by Harper’s Cabinet of Callow Cretins: One Down, Thousands More to Go!

I find it odd that our media have neglected to mention, if only in passing, that Canada has just undergone the most mortifying foreign affairs debacle of its diplomatic history, courtesy of a cabinet that, having spent five years mistaking squalid pork-barrel hackery and petty partisan larceny for statecraft, is still not anywhere near being ready for primetime, as evidenced by a Foreign Affairs minister who gives scant evidence of being able to locate Israel on a map, let alone offer a meaningful observation upon it.

As far as we can tell, Stephen Harper made clear that his vision of the Middle East “peace process” [*cough*] required that it evolve according to norms not only totally unacceptable to the Arab world but completely contrary to Canada’s traditional Middle East policy, to the 1967 UN resolution that has ever since stood as the framework for negotiations, and to President Obama’s explicitly stated position.

Thus, Harper managed, without having any realistic hope of pursuing the alternative and futile trajectory he was proposing, to destroy Canada’s credibility as a proponent of the two-state solution while simultaneously undermining the public solidarity of the G8 and the authority of the United States, the only nation with the clout to condition the Middle East’s negotiating environment and the hyper-power to which Harper otherwise pledges undying loyalty. I will challenge anybody to find a precedent wherein a Canadian prime minister’s contribution to a multilateral forum has had this blend of incoherence and brattish uselessness as its main ingredients.

Shortly thereafter, the Honourable John Baird staggers out, blinking and stammering, and announces that Canada has reconsidered its position and now fully supports Obama’s view. While reporters wonder whether it was a consultation with a ouija board, a realization of Canada’s fundamental geo-political irrelevance, or a belated awareness of the idiocy of Harper’s initial position that changed the government’s mind, Baird proceeds to give every indication of being utterly unaware of what “1967” actually means to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He then shuffles nervously like an awkward sixth-grader and mumbles that he had no idea that UN resolutions on Israel were so important for a Minister of Foreign Affairs to be aware of, presumably whilst engaging the rueful, silent rumination that a career of banging fists on desks and screaming spittle-drenched taking points ill prepares one for a grown-up’s job.

Meanwhile, as this cheap vaudeville act unfolds, our media blandly report events as if they are not helping Canada become even more completely to the G8 what Poland is to the EU—a parochial, unambitious, and slightly dim gaggle of slap-happy bumpkins who’ve become so deeply convinced of their abject inability to offer the world anything of value that their only significant cultural export is their own poltroonish collective persona.

Allow me to become nostalgic for a moment—not for Lloyd Axworthy, the last Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs to have an overall ministerial value greater than that of his cufflinks collection—but for a time when Canadians could get angry about being made to look ludicrous on the international stage. By my reckoning, that would be 1979, when Joe Clark was eviscerated in the press, and rightly, for promising to move Canada’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. That misstep, seen as hugely embarrassing, was considered by many even in the Tory-friendly media to be enough to bring Clark’s fitness for office into question. Now, having grown inured to the self-abasing incompetence of their elites, Canadians appear immune to shame.

The Harper era has demonstrated a hard truth: a great nation cannot be long ruled by moral midgets without eventually being cut down to their size.

23 comments:

Shiner said...

While reporters wonder whether it was a consultation with a ouija board, a realization of Canada’s fundamental geo-political irrelevance, or a belated awareness of the idiocy of Harper’s initial position that changed the government’s mind

Or a visit from the American Ambassador with a good deal of finger wagging... possibly a spanking.

Sir Francis said...

Or a visit from the American Ambassador...

Or a censorious note appended to Harper’s latest report card.

thwap said...

Yeah. We used to get outraged about stuff.

But somewhere down the line (probably in the dying days of the Mulroney government, but certainly flowering under Jean-"Kill da GST"- Chretien), the ruling class realized that a few days of outraged letters and some meaningless rallies was all the suffering they would have to endure.

So now we have Baird's unprincipled witlessness, and harper's serial constitutional crises, followed by his winning a majority.

Nomennovum said...

Thwap,

Don't you mean "stupid fucking shit-head Mulroney government"?

Nomennovum said...

"As far as we can tell, Stephen Harper made clear that his vision of the Middle East “peace process” [*cough*] required that it evolve according to norms not only totally unacceptable to the Arab world but completely contrary to Canada’s traditional Middle East policy, to the 1967 UN resolution that has ever since stood as the framework for negotiations, and to President Obama’s explicitly stated position."

Why do you give a damn what "the Arab world" [*cough*] or President Obama [*cough cough*] thinks?

Or for that matter, what the [*cough, cough, hack, gag*] UN [*puke*] thinks?

Ahem.

Sir Francis said...

Why do you give a damn what "the Arab world" [*cough*] or President Obama [*cough cough*] thinks?

You’re trying too hard, Nomen. You need not try at all, in fact: you’re one of those blessed with the gift of effortless satire. Just be yourself.

Nomennovum said...

Yeah. I thought it was pretty good too. [*pat pat*]

Thanks bye!

Sir Francis said...

Thanks bye!

Your departure makes your thanks entirely redundant. Nevertheless, you're welcome.

Should you ever wish to attempt relevance, please feel free to return.

Shiner said...

Wasn't the youtube comment box invented for people like Nomennovum?

Nomennovum said...

Since no one else has answered your very good, apt, and really very very good question, Shiner:

No.

Peter said...

Wonderful to see you back. You are obviously out of shape, so your choice of low-hanging fruit is understandable. Pray, give us a tough one.

Sir Francis said...

Peter:

I know, I know. Every cheap shot I settle for is a missed opportunity to bring you back to the primrose path of High Tory nationalism. You've been so patiently waiting for that twitch upon the thread, and here I am, detailing a kind of spectacular incompetence that is no worse than what we've come to expect from people whose world-views have been shaped entirely by DC Comics.

As soon as Harper gives me a tough one, I shall pass it on to you. Meanwhile, you shall have to make do with the already oft-iterated observation that Canada's foreign policy is in the hands of officers-at-large of the Renfrew Elk Club.

Peter said...

Say what you will about the Renfrew Elks, they're proud Canadians who won't play lickspittle to the Rapacious Yankee Trader. Inspired by a line of foreign ministers from Pearson to Axworthy, they believe in an independant foreign policy that brings a distinctive Canadian perspective to bear on world affairs. The fact that this perspective currently holds it would be cool to abolish Arabia is, Sir, just your bloody bad luck.

Chasman said...

I'm completely off-topic and for that I apologize, but Sir Francis, if you're really into Monteverdi and Palestrina, and prepared to say so among politically minded folk, then rock on! My triplet peaks are the ars nova, late baroque vocal works and classical era string quartets. And I'm a damned socialist!

One of Dufay's motets opens with the words, "salve flos Tusce gentis". Well, I reckon you're a Tuscan.

thwap said...

"they're proud Canadians who won't play lickspittle to the Rapacious Yankee Trader. Inspired by a line of foreign ministers from Pearson to Axworthy, they believe in an independant foreign policy that brings a distinctive Canadian perspective to bear on world affairs."

Speaking of lickspittles

"Another area where the new government will seek engagement will undoubtedly be border security. Finding a few high-profile SPP-type deliverables to improve cross border movement of goods and services would help our image here as well as shore up Harper's credentials. Laying this groundwork would then open the way for progress on cross-border law enforcement initiatives of interest to us, such as enhanced information-sharing, joint maritime operations, and more robust counter-narcotics efforts.

With regards to our transformational agenda, there will be numerous opportunities for engagement. However, I suggest quietly working such cooperation with the new government through official, non-public channels, and that we focus on a handful of priority areas -- keeping Canada in the game in Afghanistan as the mission turns more difficult and possibly more bloody; continuing to work together to keep the pressure on Iran; increasing support to the new government in Haiti, possibly even taking on more of a leadership role there."

Sir Francis said...

...they believe in an independant foreign policy that brings a distinctive Canadian perspective to bear on world affairs.

My dear Peter, the Elks in question are incapable of bringing a distinctive Canadian perspective to bear on Canadian affairs. That is why they are Elks, rather than Renfrew Orangemen.

Sir Francis said...

Thwap:

Yes, but, as Peter will tell you, the Americans have only ever wanted what is good for us.

Even the secrecy of these "negotiations" between imperial and colonial elites is good for us dumb little Canucks: it helps the march of progress stay free of the democratic impediments that quibbling obscurantists who think they deserve a stake in their nation's governance tend to throw in the way.

Sir Francis said...

Well, I reckon you're a Tuscan.

I shall readily and gratefully accept that honorary distinction!

Peter said...

...the Americans have only ever wanted what is good for us.

Actually, just about any American I've ever met would consider that statement a tautology.

Dr.Dawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr.Dawg said...

You were already squarely in the camp of a former Israeli prime minister: I see that you (and Obama) have now engaged the support of the current President of Israel! Congratulations. :)

Tomm said...

Sir Francis,

You object to Canada being...

"a parochial, unambitious, and slightly dim gaggle of slap-happy bumpkins"

You would prefer that we pretend to be something just so we sit at the table with the grown-ups drinking wine that our pallet doesn't appreciate?

You sound a little like a little girl having a tea party for her friends and stuffed animals.

As you know, my views on Harper's foreign policy decisions differ markedly from your own.

Please explain your interest in holding hands with Hamas? Why isn't Jordan called the Palestinian State? Should we have gone into Afghanistan at all? If there, should we have tried to do it right or kept driving around in jeeps wearing "green" camo?

I think the Canadian policy on Israel is the best of the bunch right now. Given the Obama's administration's lack of vision and the rest of the G8 wishing to ensure that their oil doesn't get turned off, it seems Canada is the only country with a clear position. A 2 country solution and the renouncing of the stated goal of the destruction of Israel.

The Hamas Charter is a useful thing to read to put some context into the discussion. You should do a blog discussing it.

Tomm said...

I urge you to give Harper some thoughts on how Canada should celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

I for one would enjoy reading it.