Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Rise Of The Spectacularly Incompetent

Amid all the talk this week of Stephen Harper's enemies list, a lot of us missed what is surely another example of how corrupt the Harper government has become -- the appointment of Harper's former bodyguard as the Canadian ambassador to Jordan. Gerald Caplan writes that, as ambassador, Bruno Saccomani is also responsible for relations with Iraq. Mr. Soccomani has no background in foreign affairs:

Because Mr. Saccomani, a middle-level Mountie, was in charge of the PM’s personal security, the government brazenly peddles him as an expert in security, ready to be an ambassador. What an insult to the intelligence of Canadians and what a slap in the face to the entire foreign service. Personal security and international security are two unrelated universes. Mr. Saccomani seems to have no background in the vast, intricate world of diplomacy, foreign affairs, the Middle East in general or Jordan and Iraq in particular.

But expertise is clearly not Mr. Harper's strong suit. As the enemies list illustrates, it's loyalty that counts with Harper:

By any normative standard, [Saccomani] has not a single qualification for the job except that Stephen Harper trusts him. Or, in Harperlandese, as articulated by Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Saccomani is a “very distinguished individual with a strong record as a professional public servant.” In other words, a good bodyguard.

Those who do know something about Foreign Affairs have figured out the real significance of Saccomani's appointment:

As Daniel Livermore, senior fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, wrote in the Globe and Mail, Canada intends to play no role in the fraught Middle East peace process. “To put the matter bluntly, the government just doesn’t care enough about the region or its issues to put experienced people in charge.

The rise of Stephen Harper has been all about the rise of the spectacularly incompetent.


Danneau said...

I believe that Canada intends to play a role in the region, and that Harper is sending a flashing, red-light message, that being that he will blindly follow whatever Israeli hawks cough up and that he sure as hell likes to snub Iran. It's entirely possible that our Steve wants the predicted Apocalypse to get under way sooner than later, and that he wishes to see it happen in the Mideast as the fulfillment of Biblical predictions )or interpretations). This reminds me of the attempts to promote NYC's Bernie Kerik into high office during the Bush years where considerations of loyalty and convenience surely trumped competence. This example is even more flagrant in its mismatch of background and task. Nice piece. Thank you.

Owen Gray said...

There has always been an "end times" undercurrent to Harper, Danneau.

One can't escape the conclusion that Harper's foreign policy is rooted in paranoid delusions. Appointing his bodyguard as an ambassador underscores that paranoia.

the salamander said...

.. actually, its possible the root cause of the Harper disorders are rooted in a dirty or oily sandbox in Leaside, Ontario. Seeking plausible explanation or a differential diagnosis for the behavioral issues of Stephen Harper require any clinician to examine his pathological history ..

It does occur to me that in an astonishingly & dangerous way.. we may have an elected sociopathic MP & Prime Minister that fits the surprising social acceptance pattern of film protagonists seen in 'Being There' or Forrest Gump ..

Essentially just by being there Stephen Harper and close associates such as Tom Flanagan, Ray Novak, Joe Oliver, Peter Kent, Jenni Byrne et al .. somehow gained acceptance.. even respect .. but for what ?

How else to explain the gravitation of astonishingly inept, corrupt, twisted, deceitful and even racist political animals collecting within the Conservative Alliance party and its descendant governmental coven?

Owen Gray said...

There is, indeed, something deeply pathological about Harper's distrust of most everyone, salamander.

He came to Ottawa to get even -- with lots of people.

Lorne said...

Of course, Owen, this is hardly the first time that Harper has appointed an incompetent. Considering his cabinet, for example, there is Tony (Gazebogate) Clement, Peter (pretend soldier and helicopter hitchhiker) MacKay, and the hyper-partisan Pierre Poilivre, now in charge of democratic renewal, to name but three of the sycophants Dear Leader surrounds himself with.

The Mound of Sound said...

In fairness it looks like Ambassador Bruno has the moustache for the job. For all his years in power, Sideshow Steve still has no grasp of international affairs or foreign policy.

Lost to him is the significance of outsourcing Canada's defence policy to the Pentagon, becoming a tidy battalion in America's Foreign Legion.

When you do things like that you lose overall coherence and stumble into contradictions in other policies.

Owen Gray said...

The list grows longer, Lorne. Like many other self involved autocrats, Lorne, competent people threaten Harper.

Better to attract and employ stooges.

Owen Gray said...

When Harper arrived in Ottawa, Mound, he was the man who wanted to build a firewall around Alberta. He was a provincial.

He is still a provincial.

Beijing York said...

Maybe the body guard is well versed in rendition and torture - measures well appreciated in US and Israeli ME foreign policy.

Owen Gray said...

You may have hit upon something, Bejiing. That may, indeed, be the reason for his appointment.

Anonymous said...

"In 1997, Bruno Saccomani was assigned to the embassy in Rome and was responsible for co-operating with other countries in international criminal investigations — a task that brought him to 11 nations including Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.

Eventually, after a similar stint at the Canadian embassy in Thailand, and as a senior investigator in Ottawa, Saccomani was transferred in 2006 to the prime minister’s protective detail.

Anonymous said...

What does Mr. Saccomani know that Mr. Harper thinks can be kept quiet by lifting him out of the horsemen's barn?

Owen Gray said...

Having been assigned to a security detail abroad is not the same as being an ambassador, Anon.

Marines guard American embassies -- a job which obviously needs to be done. But being in charge of embassy security and engaging in delicate negotiations -- particularly in the Middle East -- require remarkably different skill sets. I doubt that the American government would put a marine in charge of its embassy in Jordan.

Owen Gray said...

Excellent question, Anon. These days, when Harper makes a move, the first question that comes to mind is: What is he trying to hide?

the salamander said...

.. at the risk of being added to another list ..

The appointment of Saccomani reeks of someone being 'thrown a bone' .. payoff, silence regarding sensitive matters.

Probably the only scenario that makes any sense..

And who else would have 'intimate knowledge' on the level of say, Jenni Byrne, Ray Novak, Colleen Harper, John Baird, Jason Kenney, Arthur Hamilton, Tom Flanagan et al .. ?

Its a far more effective and lucrative payoff than a mere Senate appointment..

The despicable & deceitful, tend to look after themselves, their secrets, scandals, bad habits, crimes.. and each other in very practical terms..

Owen Gray said...

It's becoming more and more apparent, salamander, that there are lots of skeletons in the Harper closet.

You have to wonder what the new ambassador knows.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It must gall professional diplomats these kind of patronage appointments.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Harper takes pleasure in thumbing his nose at people who actually know something about foreign affairs, Philip.

If he had his way, the building which houses that ministry would not be named after Lester Pearson.

Anonymous said...

bad early toilet training made sssTeeVee very mean. Like those fools who voted for him. If you didn't vote, you helped!

Owen Gray said...

The sins of the fathers, Anon? We get the government we deserve.