02 August 2007

I like that the CTV website now allows comments on their stories. I've posted in a couple, one today and one yesterday about Darfur. The topic today though is one that I'd rather comment on at this time. Yesterday Russia announced its intentions to go on a major expedition up to the Arctic and plant a flag. The motive for this maneuver is to demonstrate their sovereignty over the Arctic and therefore lay claim to all of the untapped resources up North. CNN had a lengthy story about it yesterday and how it affected America's interests in the Arctic. They were strangely silent about what Canada felt about it, and today we learned why: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Mackay, is living pie-in-the-sky on the issue.

"Look, this isn't the 15th century. You can't go around the world and just plant flags and say 'We're claiming this territory,'" MacKay told CTV's Question Period co-host Jane Taber.

The attitude of Mackay's comment, that the Russians are merely trying to put on a "show," is indicative of Canada's blase and naive view of the world. It's also interesting that he'd make a statement as he did about planting the flag and its irrelevance, given our recent dispute over Hans Island. I'm sure that the realpolitik crowd in Moscow is having a good chuckle from Mackay's comment. They'll be more than happy to put on a sequel, too. Maybe when they've got a nuclear sub roaming around in the Arctic Mackay will just say it's for partisan bluster among the KGB crowd.

Last year, when it was still of recent enough vintage to call it "Canada's New Government," the Tory leadership seemed to be really on the ball when it came to foreign affairs issues. They were clear-headed, principled, and right in unreservedly supporting Israel in its conflict against Hezbollah terrorists. They were strong on Afghanistan. They were strong on rebuilding bridges with Washington. Now, they've all but abandoned Afghanistan after the artificial February 2009 deadline. They're not taking a resurgent Russia seriously. There hasn't been a bilateral meeting between Harper and Bush in months.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say that governing a wishy-washy country has rubbed off on the Tories.

2 comments:

C.K. said...

It's also interesting that he'd make a statement as he did about planting the flag and its irrelevance, given our recent dispute over Hans Island.

True. Surprised he could even get the words out without having a lightbulb moment and stopping in mid-sentence.

RGM said...

That's a good point. It's a case of politicians picking and choosing what tools of statecraft are relevant and irrelevant based on their level of convenience. That is an approach that does have its uses, but it can make you look silly sometimes.