Jeffrey Simpson has an interesting piece this morning on Canada's bullhorn diplomacy:
Today, without exaggerating Canada’s influence anywhere, it is instructive how offside Canada is on various issues with traditional allies.
For example, every country with which Canada has been traditionally allied has been calling for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas “conflict” (or “war” if you prefer). The Obama administration has been using whatever diplomatic leverage it could to bring one about. Canada, by contrast, stands mute, which is to say the government might like a cessation of hostilities (or maybe not for the time being), but will continue to take its cue from the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.
On Iran, Canada is full of fire and brimstone:
It also lines up with the Netanyahu government in being fearful of nuclear talks with Iran. Yes, the Harper government nominally says it hopes the talks might reach an agreement, but the terms of success as articulated by Ottawa are those of the Netanyahu government and, as such, can never be the foundation of a negotiated agreement.
So, once again, Canada is offside with the United States, Britain, France and Germany, which are negotiating with Iran. Fire-breathing rhetoric continues to be directed from Ottawa at Tehran. The Canadian embassy there remains closed, whereas the British have just reopened theirs.
And, of course, Mr. Harper takes great pleasure in scolding Vladimir Putin:
On relations with Russia, Canada has the luxury of having limited trade and few contacts, a perfect setting for bullhorn diplomacy directed not just at Vladimir Putin, but indirectly and indiscreetly at European allies admittedly torn and dithering about how to handle Russia because they, unlike Canada, have substantial interests and a long intertwined history. Lectures from Ottawa will be as appreciated (and therefore unhelpful) in the capitals of Western Europe as the ones former finance minister Jim Flaherty used to direct about the European Union’s struggle with its economic policies in the years following the crash of 2008.
The Harper government -- true to its fundamentalist roots -- treats the other countries of the world like sinners in the hands of an angry God, sure that only Canada and Israel will be swept away in the Great Rapture.
The rest of the world views the Harper government as Great Fools.