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.
What is the origin of Vladimir Putin's new popularity (approval rating) in Russian public opinion polls? The usual answer that it is due to the nationalist rallying in the wake of the invasion of Crimea. This is only a part of the story.
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.
Crimea is a pity, and likely victimized by Moscow pressure, but the reality is that Ukraine is a failed state without a government, a constitution that can be enforced, an army that can be called upon to defend its people or an economy. If I lived in Crimea I'd vote for the devil I know (Moscow) rather than the devils to come (Kiev).
The West, and especially the English-speaking West, has wrongly taken sides in the present conflict in Ukraine. Instead of making empty promises or threats, our message should be clear and decisive: "What is happening in Ukraine is a matter that its population has to sort out for itself. But, if asked, we will work with all interested parties to mediate a speedy and peaceful resolution." No more, no less.
You can argue -- as I do -- that Canada's too immigrant-friendly and too multicultural, but the reality remains that ethnic diversity is now a basic Canadian fact of life. Upholding this nation's territorial and political integrity therefore requires a staunch commitment to the principle that national governments have a right to govern multicultural populations, and even stauncher opposition to any notion that foreign nation-states possess a right to infringe the sovereignty of others in order to protect "their" people living abroad. Canada is a country that worries about foreigners. But it's also a country that has a right to worry about itself.
Ukraine's Orange Revolution 2.0 has been underway for months and crowds are now demanding that the President leave office. Ukraine's only hope is to join the European Union because its leaders have proven to be corrupt and undemocratic or ineffectual. The EU would, as it has with other former Soviet satellites, become steward and provide a template for modernization of Ukraine. Yanukovych and Putin alike have overplayed their hand by authorizing snipers to murder innocent people in the streets of Kiev.
OK, OK, we know you're getting tired of these Facebook look back videos, but come on, this is Vladimir Putin. And this retrospective
Thus, as the world prepares to gather in Russia in the Olympic spirit of unity and fellowship, those Russians who have been and still are victimized and persecuted by their own government must be front-of-mind. Indeed, their cause -- and that of Sergei Magnitksy -- must continue to burn brightly even after the extinguishing of Sochi's Olympic flame.
President Vladimir Putin's gift of citizenship and 13 per cent tax rates to French actor Gerard Depardieu highlighted the