The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was the most successful alliance in world history, as it contained the threat of Soviet imperialism and international communism in the West for 50 years, until the Soviet Union disintegrated, without an exchange of a single pistol shot between the two sides. Today, every two weeks or so, we see a new demonstration of the fruit of weakness and delusional misjudgment in the chancelleries of the West, where formerly, great, or at least consistent and sensible, statesmen ruled. One dares not ask where it will all end, for fear that the logical answer spring from the mists of the unthinkable and legitimize the antics of the Russian gangster-state.
At the end of the day, it will always be the people who suffer, and Ukraine has a long history of suffering. There are enough populations who feel abandoned by a Ukrainian Ukraine to fight for Russia, and enough who are ready to engulf Kiev in flames in order to show their desire to move away from the perceived dangers of an Eastern block and take their place among Western nations.
At the end of March, Canadian military personnel will leave Afghanistan. That is too soon. As the second largest contributing nation to the training mission after the U.S., Canada's contributions to this capacity development are too valuable to withdraw this close to the finish line. Canada should renew its training mission for another term, and continue contributing to the Afghan mission in an area in which it clearly excels. Canada should stay, and continue to add value to the effort of training and educating Afghan soldiers and police. We have given too much and come too far to walk out this close to the finish line, and with so much progress at stake.
We now see every week the crumbling of foreign policy of the United States. The War on Terror was not without mistakes, but the War on Drugs has been a disaster in every respect. Only 20 years ago, the U.S. bestrode the world, the only super power, strong by any measurement. Today it is quavering, waffling, semi-bankrupt, lurching from one mistaken and often hypocritical policy to the next.
A model of non-violence and civil disobedience in line with the Green Movement that began in 2009 is the best course for the future of Iran. International isolation and pressure on the Iranian state will lead the government toward further repressive measures. Military intervention will only make things worse.
President Obama and the leaders of the world's most successful alliance, NATO, -- one that deterred nuclear war and kept the peace in Europe after centuries of conflict -- gather in Chicago this weekend to talk about the future. Obama and Prime Minister Harper should consider Mexico when they meet with other NATO leaders in Chicago.
Harper has been a great friend to Obama: supportive of the U.S. global warming approach at Copenhagen and Cancun, supporting the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan, and offering to sell renewable hydroelectric power as well as oil and gas to energize an American economic recovery. But as many have discovered, it doesn't pay to be Obama's friend.