Stephen Harper's enemies list grows ever longer. But, Gerry Caplan writes, the list includes not only persons but nations as well. When asked last week if Canada would support a UN peacekeeping mission to the Central African Republic, Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary to John Baird told the House:
“Of course, we are very much concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic, and are working with our allies in the United Nations to address the issue…. What is more important is that the Liberal Party, as well as the NDP, would like to put Canadian soldiers’ lives in danger out in the region. My question to them is this: who is going to pay to have all these soldiers out there? Is it Canadian taxpayers? Have they checked with the Canadian taxpayers to see if they would like to send soldiers out in this zone?”
For Harper, foreign policy has been all about money and votes at home. Consider the nations which ride on Mr. Harper's bus:
Under Mr. Harper’s foreign policy, who gets to ride inside the bus? Israel first and foremost, of course, and its great military pals in Cairo. Saudi Arabia, great mid-East rival to odious Iran; indeed the Saudi tyrants get large shipments of Canadian arms. And those with lots of voters in Canada – Ukrainians and Tamils from Sri Lanka, for example. So significant military support goes to the unelected government of Ukraine with its anti-Semitic cabinet ministers, and none at all to the critical UN peacekeeping initiative for the Central African Republic, since few CAR citizens vote in Canada. And in order to punish the Sri Lankan government for human rights abuses against Tamils, Mr. Harper childishly cuts funding to the valuable Commonwealth Secretariat which has no responsibility whatever for the policies of the Sri Lankan government.
It's not unusual for countries to develop foreign policies which support their national interests. The difference with Mr. Harper is that -- narcissist that he is -- he believes that his self interest coincides with the national interest.