17 February 2008

Nice Moments

Today while standing on Spring Garden Rd. a large number of vehicles were driving along honking their horns in celebration. The first couple didn't have any markings or anything really defining about them, so I turned to Anna Lou and asked, "Did somebody win something?" Then I saw the first Kosovo flags. Yes, indeed, somebody "won" something today. That the people of Kosovo have declared their independence from Serbia today is an amazing fact. When you think back to the horrors of the late 1990s, resulting in the humanitarian intervention led by NATO (which the Russians attempted to prevent by vetoing a Security Council resolution at the UN--real proud moment in the organization's history) to protect them from further ethnic cleansing by the vile and thuggish Milosevic regime, it is truly a happy day for Kosovars today. It almost brought a tear to my eye to see Kosovars in Canada and their supporters being able to celebrate this moment, and I was happy to give a big thumbs up to the people as they drove past.
The NATO intervention into Kosovo was a marked shift in how we look at international relations. It was one of the first incursions into a state that was committing atrocities against its own people, and certainly the most successful, with the missions into Somalia and Rwanda being disastrous for the West. Since Kosovo, the concept of the Responsibility to Protect has been developed and fleshed out to the point that it is nearly accepted in international law. We have Michael Ignatieff, who has spent considerable time in Kosovo, to thank in part for advancing the idea. Tony Blair championed the concept among world leaders, demonstrating that liberals can and should stand up for liberal principles and apply them on a universal scale. In his lengthy career, which is marked by a strong interventionist set of credentials, Kosovo is perhaps his greatest accomplishment. Meanwhile, Ignatieff's work on the International Comisssion on Intervention and State Sovereignty is widely accepted and serves to put all states on notice that if they commit heinous acts against their own populations they will face consequences and be held accountable. What happened today demonstrates the long-term positive impact of what can happen when governments work in concert to protect civilian populations from tyrannical regimes.

In news far less important, Carey Price got his first NHL shutout last night. The young phenom was just that last night against the Flyers, making 34 saves and staving off a lengthy 5-on-3 disadvantage. Too bad the jerk Briere shot the puck into the crowd to deprive Price of his momento; he really enjoys earning those boos from the Montreal faithful. I had been bidding on an autographed photo taken the night of Price's first NHL win against Pittsburgh (plain white helmet and everything), and that I won it was a neat little thing. It'll make a fine addition to my collection.

And this morning we booked a bunch of stuff for our trip to Montreal!

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