What country in its right mind would willingly and consciously walk into a Winter Games with the possibility of anything even reaching toward $50 billion on its table? The Sochi Games gave everyone else a chance to think about it for a second, and once you do it's sort of like being sober in a club where all your friends are buying bottle service... you can only get so drunk.
Given Canada's proximity to the United States, we tend to take our peace and security for granted. This comfortable distance from most of the world's violence has also led us to underestimate how useful Canada might be in defusing threats elsewhere using an item some people overlook as leverage: energy. Canadians might have a general sense that oil in particular matters to world affairs; but given that Canada has never been a superpower, it has never been responsible for the wider world order to ensure that oil (or natural gas) flow to countries that need it. Given recent developments at home and abroad, that blissful unawareness merits re-thinking.
In a few weeks time Ukrainian voters will be going to the polls to elect a new president to replace Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country for the safety of Russia amid a Tahrir Square-style, people power uprising. The Cabinet of Ministers has no lack of urgent agenda items to deal with. Several pitfalls lie ahead:
A Keystone bomb would deliver several payloads: punishment toward anti-American Venezuela; proceeds toward Canada which buys more goods and services from the U.S. than the European Union does; punishment toward Russia by casting into the markets more Venezuelan oil and replacement of Venezuelan oil with Canadian oil that is $30 a barrel cheaper.
What can the missing Malaysian airliner and the Russian takeover of Crimea have in common, aside from competing for airtime on the 24-hour news channels? Let's consider this common thread: both events demonstrate the absence of any working, collaborative governance system to deal with crisis coupled with the irrelevance of many of the post-World War II multilateral agreements and practices.