Three Ps

John Kirk, who is a professor of Latin American studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and Stephen Kimber, a professor of journalism at the University of King’s College, which is one of Canada’s oldest universities (founded in 1789), have written a fairly tame critique of Canada’s foreign policy for the CBC‘s Opinion section. They look at out policy through the lens of the Trudeau government’s quest for a worthless, temporary, second class seat on the United Nation’s Security Council. They admit that the aim is “to show the world Justin Trudeau can do what Stephen Harper could not. In 2010, Harper tried to win a Security Council seat and his failure to do so was considered a major political embarrassment for the Tories.” Actually, hardly anyone noticed and even fewer cared that Canada had nor “won” that seat. They also point out that the search for votes requires Prime Minister Trudeau to. cosy up to some of the world’s worst despots ~ the sorts of people who believe it is right and proper, for example, to execute people for the crime of being homosexual.

Professors Kimber and Kirk say that “It would be wonderful if Canada really were “back,” but sadly it is not. The use of traditional Canadian integrity and soft power is desperately needed — and would be welcomed — on the world stage.” That’s a load of poppycock ~ Canada has not had much soft power since Pierre Trudeau jettisoned our hard power in 1969.

“The Trudeau government,” they say, “needs to step back from empty platitudes and photo ops in developing countries, and begin a serious analysis of where our foreign policy is and where it fcws0u91ucy11should be — a review we haven’t undertaken for decades.” But the Trudeau government (and the people’s pulling Justin Trudeau’s strings) aren’t interested in a policy review. They have their own goals and Canada is moving in the direction they favour ~ which is to say, aimlessly.

Stephen Kimber and John Kirk conclude by saying “Put simply, Canada doesn’t deserve one of the seats on the UN Security Council, since in terms of commitment to the goals of the United Nations, Norway and Ireland have a far better moral claim. Hopefully this election process will force us to do some real soul-searching about our place in the world. It is about time.” Deserve is not the word I would use. If Canada “wins” a seat it will be because Prime Minister Trudeau threw enough money at enough people.

There should be a thorough review of Canada’s foreign policy and a new white paper very early in the mandate of the next responsible, Conservative government. The review should focus on three Ps that define Canada’s vital interests in the world:

  • Peace;
  • Prosperity; and
  • Principles.

The business of keeping the peace is, really, quite simple and we’ve understood it for millennia: “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellumwhich means “therefore, those who desire peace should prepare for war.” It really is just that simple. People like Professors Kimble and Kirk and Justin Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland and François-Philippe Champagne might like to think differently but only those nations that are able, ready and willing to fight …

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 13.27.09

… to use their hard power in pursuit of their vital interests ~ have any useful soft power. I’m sorry to say that nothing that any scholar says makes any difference. Soft power is real, and it’s admirable and it’s damned useful BUT it is available only to those who have demonstrable hard power. Soft power is the ability to persuade but it only works when those who need to be persuaded are paying attention. In the 21st century, not many countries pay attention to Canada; in fairness, fewer still pay attention to Ireland.

The first and most important foreign policy step that Canada can take to help secure and guarantee peace in the world ~ see the Preamble to the United Nations charter …

Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 14.24.18

… is to rebuild Canada. military capabilities so that our words and our principles will mater, again.

The second P, Prosperity, is also fairly simple. A good, Conservative foreign policy is one that sets free(er) trade as a primary goal.

There is no such thing as free trade. In real free trade, if a merchant in Toronto_Express_(ship,_2003)_002p3Brampton found a wonderful source of textiles in Bujumbura then a ship loaded with lovely dresses would make its way from the latter seaport to Toronto and several trucks would bring the dresses to the lovely ladies of Brampton and neighbouring boroughs, too. But we all know that’snot how it works.  Even if Canada did not impose punishing tariffs on African finished goods, to try to keep jobs in Montreal, and beyond tariffs, Canada, like most other countries has volumes of regulations designed to protect our health and safety (and guarantee bilingual labels) and keep, for example, strange insects from hitching a ride from Bujumbura to Brampton or to stop a virus from making its way from Wuhan to Winnipeg … of course, in pursuit of that worthless, second class UN seat, the Government of Canada, unlike, say, the Government of Australia, neglected to close its borders and keep the Wuhan virus out.

But the easiest and cheapest and second-best way to keep the peace Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 19.06.07(being prepared for war is, far and away, the best way) is to trade more and more freely. Although the old McDonald’s rule ~ which said that no two countries that were stable and prosperous enough to have McDonald’s franchises would go to war with Screen Shot 2020-06-12 at 19.21.53one another ~ went away in the 1980s (the Falklands War)the idea is sound. Prosperity tends to reinforce a desire for peace and peace tends to allow prosperity to grow. It’s a virtuous circle and it almost always works. Free trade is better than managed trade, no matter what Donald J Trump might think, if “think” is the right word for what goes on in his fevered brain, and managed trade is better than a trade war and even a trade war is better than s shooting war.

The final P, Principles, is the tough one. As Professors Kimble and Kirk say, principles are totally absent from Justin Trudeau’s policy. Principles are why Canada, traditionally, supported Israel against autocratic Arab regimes that wanted to destroy it and massacre the Jews … Justin Trudeau abandoned that principle. Our principles were why we helped to form NATO in the first place and why we were a strong supporter of the alliance while it it held the Russian led Warsaw Pact at bay ~ Pierre Trudeau abandoned that principle.

Principles are inconvenient; they may have been worth the lives of 23063467100,000 Canadians on foreign battlefields, but when you want a temporary, second-class seat on the Security Council, perhaps because they have better cocktail parties, then you can toss principles aside, can’t you? Well, you can if you’re Justin Trudeau.

Canada needs a Three P Foreign Policy ~ one which aims to give us (and our friends and allies) Peace and Prosperity and one which is grounded on Principles, what the two authors called “traditional Canadian integrity,” which is something that is totally foreign to the Trudeau regime.

 

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