Thursday, May 2, 2013

John Baird; the mouth that can't stop roaring

Michael Den Tandt has a quaint opinion piece in the Montreal Gazette today, which is at once a slam of the UN and a tribute to Canada's ever-bloviating Foreign Minister, John Baird.

First of all, congratulations Michael on keeping your post on the sinking ship you write for, but remember, tomorrow is a brand new day.

Secondly, there is no question that the UN is an easy target. What the hell do they accomplish? It's all too easy to argue that the answer is nothing or right next to it.

But for better or worse, it is the one forum that includes everybody. Sure, it's dominated by a few rich donor countries, but how would we be better off without it?

The rich donor countries, at least some of them, are distraught over the fact that a majority of UN members consistently vote against their initiatives on certain pet issues like the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Yes, the democratic process can be frustrating, especially when your positions are clearly anathema to the vast majority of your peers, but democracy doesn't mean that everybody has to agree with you.

As for Canada being the seventh largest financial contributor to the UN, that is not far out of line for the eleventh largest economy in the world, and suggests nothing more than that there may be four countries that should be paying a little more.

Where Den Tandt shows his stripes is with the claim that it is "NATO, led by the Americans," that intervenes to stop international barbarities when the UN fails to do so.

That is precisely the line of argument that ensures that a majority of UN member states will continue to vote against the Nations of Virtue at the General Assembly. The majority of the global population see America and her me-too NATO sidekicks as fomenting international barbarities rather than preventing them.

Baird's track record of high-profile idiocy since becoming Foreign Minister in 2011 has indeed served to isolate Canada. The flagrant and obsessive championing of Likud policies in the Middle East, the closing of the Canadian embassy in Iran, the scrapping of CIDA, the bone-headed refusal to observe international conventions initiated by Canada with respect to the child soldier Khadr; all of these have contributed to Canada becoming part of a rump bloc at the UN comprised of the US, Israel, and a handful of US vassals.

After years of contemptuous treatment of the UN, is it any wonder that some of that UN majority is moving to strip Canada of its status as home of the International Civil Aviation Authority?

Den Tandt finds it reasonable that Baird demands of the UN to account for what it accomplishes for our $76 million annual contribution. He thinks that's what makes John Baird an "effective" foreign minister.

$76 million could be better put to use buying half an F-35 fighter jet. Standing in front of the General Assembly and speechifying about Canada's presumed moral superiority doesn't make him "effective."

It makes him a buffoon.

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