Tony Burman writes in this morning's Toronto Star that Canada has a new Foreign Affairs Minister:
His name is Benjamin Netanyahu. His day job may be prime minister of Israel, but Canada’s abrupt actions against Iran seem to confirm that the Harper government’s outsourcing of Canada’s Middle East policy to Jerusalem is now complete.
There is little else to conclude from Canada’s unwise decision to move unilaterally on Iran at this moment. All sorts of crucial issues are in play with Iran. They involve the future of its nuclear program, the impatience of Israel’s leadership to attack Iran, the shape of a new Middle East as the heinous Syrian regime implodes and several delicate life-and-death issues involving Canadians on death row in Iran. Surprisingly, Western nations have held together on how to approach these key challenges — except, now, for Canada.
Canada's decision is, indeed, surprising -- particularly for a government which apes American foreign policy. Burman reports that recently:
Prime Minister Netanyahu met privately with the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Netanyahu “lost his temper,” according to U.S. officials, and was described as nervous, agitated and frustrated at American reluctance to move on Iran. Several days later, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, further upset him by warning that an Israeli strike, with all its risks, would only “delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”
One needs to remember that the Harperites are devoted to governments of the right -- whether it is Netanyahu's government, or far right Republicans. Ken Taylor, who was Canada's ambassador to Iran in 1979 -- and who helped free the Americans hostages -- says:
having a presence on the ground in a country is important. If the country's government won't interact, he said, there's still intelligence to gather.
While it may be true that right wing governments devote considerable time and energy gathering intelligence on the voting public, they do not spend much effort on the kind of intelligence Mr.Taylor is talking about. They figure they know all they need to know.
Once again, Stephen Harper has revealed who he really is -- a man with a chip on his shoulder, spoiling for a fight.