Harper’s foreign engagement more posturing than policy

In a brilliant article, the last Canadian Ambassador to sit on the UN Security Council, Paul Heinbecker, convincingly explodes the Conservative hype of “international statesmanship and principled policy, of economic action plans and historic trade agreements, of a rediscovered warrior spirit and newfound hard-nosed diplomacy.” (“Foreign Posturing: How does Harper’s foreign policy stack up?“, Literary Review of Canada, October 2015).

Heinbecker writes:

Harper made ideological and idiosyncratic policy choices that put him at odds with nearly all his predecessors, and most contemporary allies, and that left Canada on the margins of global relevance. His government’s deprecation of the UN, his snubbing of its General Debates, his disposition to sit in stern, often self-serving judgement of others won us few friends and, along with his irresponsibility on climate change, neglect of traditional development partners in Africa, and unquestioning support of the Netanyahu government in Israel and disregard for the Palestinians, lost us the first election to the Security Council after a string of six straight wins over six decades….

As a consequence of inexperience or opportunism or both, the Harper government has turned foreign policy outside in. Rather than seeing it as the projection abroad of Canadian national purposes distilled from Canadian values and interests, it has treated foreign affairs often as a means to cultivate diaspora communities and constituencies at home….Foreign posture has replaced foreign policy. Oh Canada.”

 

To read the full article, together with several others in this special foreign policy issue of the Literary Review of Canada, click here: Foreign Posturing: How does Harper’s foreign policy stack up?

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