Friday, December 26, 2014

Our Lost Prestige


As we enter 2015, the world faces a Pandora's Box of problems. Daryl Copeland writes:

Thanks to the emergence of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the much-maligned Global War on Terror (GWOT), which only a year ago seemed to be waning, has received an enormous boost. The name may have changed, but terrorism and radical Islam remain at the top of the threat list for most Western governments. While large-scale invasions and occupations have — for now — fallen into well-deserved disrepute, that space has been filled by a combination of drone and airstrikes, special operations, cyber attacks and mass surveillance.

Long-standing concerns over Russia’s stability and the security of its enormous nuclear arsenal have been exacerbated by the resurgence of revanchism in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and throughout the “near abroad.” The ongoing economic meltdown engendered by the oil price collapse has amplified the sense of volatility and uncertainty.

 When the distribution of wealth within and between states becomes sharply skewed, economies and people suffer. This was the core message of the Occupy Wall Street campaign, and although that observation has since become mainstream, polarization continues. Meanwhile, last week’s round of climate change negotiations in Lima produced little, despite the findings of the latest — and highly troubling — IPCC report. Similar paralysis has afflicted efforts to remedy problems of diminishing biodiversity, resource scarcity, public health and pandemic disease, and other planet-imperilling issues rooted in science and driven by technology.

Canada used to play an important role in international diplomacy. No longer:

What of this country’s role and place? By my reckoning, Canada’s once-admired internationalist brand has been spoiled, mutating into something of a cross between warrior nation wannabe and fossil of the year. We have foundered on the shoals of lessons unlearned — think Afghanistan and Libya — and moved decisively to make matters worse.
After wisely passing on joining the disastrous misadventure in Iraq in 2004, Canadian Air Force and army personnel are now engaged, thus reversing earlier gains and creating new enemies by effectively signing on to GWOT II. On the home front, many NGOs are struggling due to the withdrawal of government support. Rights and Democracy, chartered by Parliament in 1988 to promote human rights and democratic development worldwide, was eliminated in 2012. The Pearson Centre for peacekeeping training was shuttered in 2013. The development research dedicated North-South Institute was closed down earlier this year.

Stephen Harper has done all kinds of damage to this country. And that damage is spreading out to the rest of the world. If we are going to re-establish our international prestige, 2015 must be the year we throw the Harperites out of office.


mogs moglio said...

Throw them out of office? No Owen drag them kicking and screaming to the nearest detention center. To keep them from destroying what is left of Canada. Then we must rebuild. It will be an effort of epic proportions.

Owen Gray said...

The damage will not be easily undone, Mogs.

Dana said...

The damage won't be undone at all and there will be more damage until such time as the damaged nation becomes the accepted nation.

And the NDP and LPC are content for that to be so as long as no one interrupts their circle jerks.

lungta said...

canada will never recover from the damage harper has done to our international reputation
when he signed us up as active combatants under the US...AFTER we had installed ourselves as peace keepers in afganistan
there will not be a nation for 100 years who will not remember that betrayal and mid battle shift
the cons break and unravel and have built nothing
that aside
to owen and friends/commenters
blessings on you and yours
this season and always
finding this blog has been a great gift

Owen Gray said...

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, Mike.

Owen Gray said...

We need a radical shift in direction, Dana. And no one has the courage to suggest just that.

ffd said...

War is highly profitable to some people,something usually hidden under mountains of guff about the noble purposes of war and particularly the war at hand. George Bernard Shaw's play Major Barbara pointed this out ages ago. Barbara is the daughter of a rich war profiteer and a major in the Salvation Army. Interesting play, never understood it when I first read it.

War also makes careers. Traditionally, war was the main way one became an aristocrat. War still pushes some people up the social ladder, a lot more than peace these days.

Conservatives don't have ideals; they want career and money. Those Wild Rose types crossing the floor - a good career move.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about power, ffd. And Conservatives favour hard power -- not soft power.

Anonymous said...

Harper is not about what is good for the country, the provinces nor the people. Harper is all about what benefits Harper, his power, glory and to hell with the people.

Harper is rabid with a sick personality, to be a big shot on the global scene. Harper is so low, he can walk under the belly of a snake, wearing a tall hat. Harper has many similar characteristics, to the dictators of the 30's and 40's.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Anon, his desire to be somebody does not do us proud.

mogs moglio said...

Anon 2:42 you make me giggle with your analogy although the Harper Imperium is not a laughing matter.

Mike & Owen I wish you all the best in the new year and especially a Harper free New Year. Let's rid ourselves of this punk eh?

Vote ABC [anything but cons]