Posts Tagged ‘Freeland’

Disciplining the diplomacy of diplomats.

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

She might be a bit smaller in stature but foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland is head-over-heels ahead of a conservative predecessor John Baird. Baird was something of an embarrassment throughout his tenure during the Harper era. And if Freeland knew enough to stay away from Twitter, we could give her even higher marks.

Who does she think she is; Donald Trump?

Freeland recently used Twitter to piss off the Saudis. How stupid could that be? What the hell does she think is the reason for countries having access to diplomatic channels?

Twitter is for children and show-offs. Twitter is for bad jokes. Twitter is for people who need to get a life. It is not a channel for diplomats.

If you really want to tell those Wahhabi Sunnis in Riyadh what you think of them, tell them to their face. A true Wahhabi knows that you are an infidel scorned by Allah and even worse, to them, you are just a woman. Why should those Bedouins give a damn what you think?

Your strength, as a diplomat, is in the country you represent. And you are representing a country that is recognized and respected around the world for its progressiveness in technology, in human rights, in respecting the ecology and its democracy.

And, it is why they will listen to you. If it is Canada speaking to them, they will listen. Their country might be barely out of the 19th century but they do understand our arguments in favour of human rights. Both countries gain by us training many of their medical specialists. And there are other areas of mutual interest.

This does not include our sell-through of American armoured vehicles. The fiction of those vehicles as Canadian is one that neither nation needs.

Admittedly, it is diplomacy that helps keep the world’s economics running smoothly.

And we should never forget that a very important venue for diplomacy is just down the road in New York. It is the United Nations. If you are worried about the Saudis threatening the peace in the middle east, take you concerns to the United Nations. Those diplomats enjoy a good squabble.

But never forget that it was the Brits who brought the Saudis out of the middle ages about 100 years ago. They are still a couple centuries behind. If we keep the proper diplomatic pressure on them, they just might listen.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

The fix in foreign affairs.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

When Stéphane Dion was so unceremoniously dumped from foreign affairs by Prime Minister Trudeau, all most people could say was they hoped it worked. How would you feel if you were the new foreign affairs minister and the PM kept casting about for the advice needed to handle the situation in Washington? And how does anyone keep tabs on that fast-changing scene?

And it hardly matters a damn if our new Minister Chrystia Freeland knows all about Washington. If she does not understand Donald Trump, she is just going to be one more example of road-kill on the Beltway. Nor does it help if she has the keys to Foggy Bottom. (Foggy Bottom is an older area of the District of Columbia where the Department of State is located.) The bad news is that anyone of any importance at State Freeland might have known is gone. They were not fired. The department leadership listened to Trump, studied Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State and quit en masse.

And there is little hope for Freeland’s second line of defense, her media contacts. Those of her contacts still in the profession are busy digging their foxholes around the White House as Trump and his alternative facts people check their Ouija boards for the news facts of the day.

Frankly there is more reason for concern about our day to day relations in Washington with Trudeau appointee David MacNaughton heading up our embassy. After the pitiful performance MacNaughton turned in during the 2015 election campaign, his political pay-off should have been a poorly located shoe-shine stand on Sparks Street in Ottawa.

And if Trudeau is waiting anxiously for an invitation to meet Trump, frankly he should be busy that day. Trump has already shown his hand. With the Mexican president already having told Trump to get stuffed, Trump wants to make allies of those nice Canadians. What he also expects is a quid pro quo for approving the damn Keystone XL pipeline. Obviously, we need to convince the fool that it is more to his benefit than ours. He probably moved on it prematurely because he wants to keep Trudeau and Mexican President Peña Nieto from ganging up on him. He has probably been told by now that renegotiation of NAFTA would take from two to three years and would probably not benefit the U.S.

And Freeland could never pull a stunt with Trump such as she pulled in the deal with the European Union. She would be playing right into his hands. If she walked out on him, she would find herself declared persona non grata.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me