Here is an exercise in contemporary propaganda that cries out for a closer look.
Look at that title. Do you think "Cyprus" had stand-alone status in the original drafts of this press release? Or do you suspect it may have been just a part of a Middle East tour?
Canada has a back-story in Cyprus. We've been keeping the peace there since forever. Cyprus was once deemed a hot-spot, a bone of contention between rising Turkey and failing Greece, although it wasn't always as evident who was rising and who was failing.
Our man Baird is off to promote Prosperity and Security over there; in Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Cyprus, Israel, and the West Bank.
Six countries and an occupied territory. Of the six countries, four are monarchist dictatorships, one has recently become a protectorate of the IMF, and only one has the slightest claim to being democratic.
Will this impinge on Mr. Baird's quest to promote Canadian interests and values?
"As part of our principled foreign policy, we recognize that prosperity and security are intrinsically linked."
But are they intrinsically linked to democracy? Apparently not.
"Our friends in the region live every day in the shadow of uncertainty caused by the Syrian crisis and Iranian belligerence."
Aren't our friends in Qatar doing more than anyone to fan the flames of the Syrian crisis?
Do you imagine that our erstwhile Minister will be bringing that up with our Qatari friends?
And wasn't it Baird and Harper who connived to close the Canadian embassy in Tehran, thereby closing off a valuable channel through which to communicate our esteemed values?
And is it not interesting how studiously the Baird travelogue avoids any mention of Gaza? Baird will be preaching to our bumboys in Ramallah about the need for negotiations without preconditions, but there will be not a word about settlements.
Or about democracy, because if a free election were held in the West Bank today in which Hamas was allowed to participate, the charade of the PA being the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people would be over.
All of which leaves the Honourable Mr. Baird doing exactly what on this grand tour of the Middle East?
Collecting frequent flier points.