Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Decline", As the Self-Defeatists Define It

Andrew Cohen complains Canada "declining"

If there's anything Canada's far left seems to enjoy, it's wallowing ins self-defeat.

A recent op/ed column by Andrew Cohen provides an interesting case in point.

Amidst a column in which he complains about the failure of the Copenhagen conference and about recent allegations about the treatment of Afghan detainees (although he seems to put the latter in the proper context), Cohen complains that Canada is in a state of decline.

Yet some of Cohen's arguments spectacularly fail to hold water.

"They have ignored the United Nations, which is why they were late in launching a campaign for our traditional seat on the Security Council," Cohen complains. "They have appointed a new foreign minister, on average, every year and seriously cut funding for cultural and representational diplomacy. Moreover, they have abandoned the human security agenda of Lloyd Axworthy (landmines, small arms) which cost little but brought us influence."

Now if only this were actually so. In fact, it was not a previous Liberal government, but Stephen Harper's Conservative government that signed on to the International Cluster Bomb treaty, although not until after they had secured guarantees that Canadian soldiers and commanders will not be held responsible for the use of cluster bombs by allies that are not signatories to the treaty.

Moreover, the Conservative government has matched Axworty's doctrine-related accomplishments by sponsoring the process that produced the Will to Intervene doctrine, which is a definite improvement upon Axworthy's Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

And while it's true that the valuable work accomplished by Canada's foreign affairs department hasn't been the work of one full-time minister -- Peter MacKay, Maxime Bernier and Lawrence Cannon have held the post since the party came to power -- the value of this work is not only undeniable, but comparable to the work completed by Axworthy.

These kinds of factoids simply suck any semblence of credibility out of Cohen's closing complaint.

"We began this decade in decline under one government and we end it in decline under another," Andrew Cohen complains. "On our withdrawal from the world, we have reached a sad new consensus."

First off, it's clear that Canada has not withdrawn from the world, but has rather withdrawn from a conceptualization of the world favoured by the far left. Furthermore, a great many Canadians wouldn't agree that this represents "decline", but is rather, in itself, a positive development.

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