In my recent travels and discussions with seasoned foreign policy experts and politicians in the U.S. and Europe, I haven't met one who took Canada seriously anymore, except as a posturer, a poseur, a political game player. Canada is seen as the international equivalent of a Ted Cruz filibuster in the Senate. Is this really the best we can do?
The UN, which continues to be depicted in the media as an impartial institution dedicated to conflict resolution, provided the platform for Mahmoud Abbas to flout Oslo and vilify Israel. Indeed, the resolution granting elevated status to "Palestine" was cited deferentially by the media, without context.
This week, plenty of critics took the Harper government to task over its decision to withdraw Canada from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Even though the Conservatives' method of backing out of the convention was typically cowardly and arrogant, it's actually encouraging to see Canada asserting itself as a country grown-up and morally self-assured enough to act as a free agent on these kinds of matters. Given the UN's record, if Canada took the initiative for creating a new framework for principled, voluntary international co-operation, it might be doing the whole world a favour.