Dr. Dawg

Baird opts for lawlessness in the Middle East

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Baird pointing.jpg

Our former Ambassador to Syria, Brian Davis, has some choice words for the swaggering bully John Baird today:

What a farce the Harper government is making of Canada’s foreign policy and reputation in the Middle East. The latest of many lows was Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird appearing before AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israeli lobby in the United States, to declare that if the Palestinian Authority tries to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for building settlements on occupied lands, Canada will take action against it. The threat appeared to be that Canada would suspend all aid to the Palestinians.

Given that the Israeli settlements in question are contravening international law, this is akin to telling a poor farmer that if he takes to court a powerful neighbour who is encroaching illegally on his land, he will be stripped of any agricultural subsidies he receives. Canada was one of the strongest proponents of the ICC, so why not leave it to the ICC to decide if there is a case to be answered? Why are we whipping an already beaten people? [Emphasis added. Citizen print edition: no online link as yet]

That really should be taken as a rhetorical question: sado-politics are a hallmark of the Harper government, as anyone following the exploits of Minister of Torture and Surveillance Vic Toews must already be aware. It’s no surprise that Baird would opt for similar cruelty on the international stage, even if it further diminishes our reputation in the eyes of the world.

Earlier, former soldier and diplomat F. James Cleminson, addressed the same issue:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s latest policy statement made before a powerful pro-Israeli lobby in Washington D.C. must make seasoned foreign service officers, retired and serving, simply cringe.

This time, he has threatened to withdraw millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, if the Palestinian Authority takes Israel to an International Criminal Court in an attempt to stop building new Israeli settlements in disputed territory. Surely it is in everyone’s interest to settle such volatile issues in the courts rather than in the streets. He should recognize as well that these powerful Israeli lobbies in the United States often have their own agendas, which are not necessarily developed in the best interest of the residents of Israel themselves.

All this badly needs to be said, and those who are doing so have impeccable foreign service credentials to add some heft to the saying. But what it all boils down to is this: our country, in the person of John Baird, is now publicly endorsing lawlessness and, implicitly, theft. So much for “standing up for victims of crime.”

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on March 11, 2013 1:00 PM.

The NDP gives up a pawn for position was the previous entry in this blog.

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