In over our heads
Over the past couple of weeks the headlines in the media have directed us to the unrest in the Ukraine. This is a country that declared independence from Russia in 1991 and in turn started moving towards a democratic society where the citizens were supposed to have some say in the type and method of government.
The Ukraine is experiencing huge debt and civic unrest. There is a division of opinion as to which direction the country should take moving forward. Some citizens would like to join Eastern Europe, while others believe an alliance with Russia would be preferable. Here in lies the problem.
This is a country that is not a member of NATO, but still must rely on the kindness of strangers to emerge from this dispute without sparking an international conflict. I guess my issue lies with the way the Canadian government has rushed in to the dispute without considering the negative effects of their actions.
The first major faux pas was to send a delegation to the region before any meaningful dialogue could take place. The delegation was the brain child of the NDP, but the Conservatives picked up the banner and ran with it. The thing was that they did not include any opposition members in the delegation. This really shows how democracy can work.
The second issue I have relates to the withdrawal of our ambassadors. The government plucked our representatives out of the region to make a point. The only point I see is that we have removed our insiders from the dispute which leaves us even further from the front door of the negotiating rooms. Keep in mind we no longer have a seat on the UN Security Council, so the opinions of our country are less likely to be heard by those with influence.
The last straw with the mismanagement of this issue is the way Foreign Minister John Baird described the situation. He made direct parallels to the way Hitler dealt with Czechoslovakia prior to the Second World War. I can think of many better ways to deal with Russia, as poking the bear will have few favourable results.
I agree that the Ukraine situation is volatile and can have far reaching effects, but we must understand that Canada is a very small player, and pounding our chests will do little to calm the waters.
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