Don’t call it a doctrine

by Aaron Wherry

John Baird proudly announces a boycott of the UN conference on disarmament on account of North Korea’s chairmanship.

“Our government has consistently taken a principled approach to dealing with North Korea’s nuclear aspirations. As a result, today we are suspending our participation in the UN Conference on Disarmament.

“North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body. The regime is a major proliferator of nuclear weapons and its non-compliance with its disarmament obligations goes against the fundamental principles of this committee. This undermines the integrity of both the disarmament framework and the UN. Canada will not be party to that.”

Liberal foreign affairs critic Dominic LeBlanc is unimpressed.

“The Conservative government’s refusal to attend the United Nation’s Conference on Disarmament represents another missed opportunity for Canada to assert a clear and principled approach to world issues.
Though it is deplorable that North Korea currently holds the rotating presidency, this should not hinder Canada’s ability to have a positive influence on these negotiations. By withdrawing from the conference, Canada is abdicating its responsibility to act and to be heard on important issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, and is giving more radical countries like North Korea and Iran an even greater influence on the outcome of the negotiations.
From climate change and the environment to the Rotterdam Convention on hazardous chemicals and pesticides, Canada is systematically failing to wield its influence internationally in order to gain partisan advantage domestically. The government’s refusal to attend the United Nation’s Conference on Disarmament is just another example of Stephen Harper’s failed ideological approach to foreign affairs.”



Browse

Don’t call it a doctrine

  1. I’m as disgusted by North Korea as anyone, and I generally support Canada taking principled stands and showing some backbone on the world stage, but I can’t help but wonder if Baird’s boycott is an overreaction:
     
    First, Canada was the only one of the UN Conference on Disarmament’s 65 members to take such a hard line in response to North Korea as chair.
     
    Second, the US thinks North Korea’s chairmanship is “not great”, but views it as a “low-level, inconsequential event”:
     


     
    Asked about Canada’s action, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said there were no plans for Washington to follow suit.
     
    “We have chosen not to make a big deal out of this, because it’s a relatively low-level, inconsequential event,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington.
    The conference is “a consensus-based organization, so nothing can be decided just because the chair is a country that we have issues with,” she added.
     
    “Is it great? It’s not great, but it’s not going to affect our policy on disarmament or the focus of our attention, which is in the P5-plus-one,” she added, referring to the six-party talks aimed at reining in North Korea’s nuclear program.

     
     
     

    • Third, we’re boycotting this conference for a walloping TWO MONTHS until the Presidency rotates again, and no one else is going to follow our boycott because everyone thinks we’re being silly.

      Fourth, this conference has essentially been stalemated since 1996.

      Canada’s back baby!  Only under the mighty Harper Conservatives could Canada possibly take back its hallowed place on the world stage by engaging in a 60 day boycot of a consensus-based conference that hasn’t done anything in 15 years, in response to the rotation of a particular country into the Presidency for a couple of months.

      Sometimes when you’re the only one doing X it’s because you’re a brave leader, pointing the rest of the world to the future.  And sometimes, it’s just because everyone else already figured out that doing X is silly and pointless.  For all the respect this will get us on the world stage, Baird might as well have announced that he’s not going to come out of his room until the Presidency rotates again.

  2. North Korea has nuclear weapons when it’s not supposed to. Liberal ideology is what has failed so far. What Baird/Canada do now is neither here nor there except it is nice to have Government point out absurdity of United Nations occasionally. 

    Canadian Doctrines are nothing more than doing what other Nato countries are doing (following US president), or stand on sidelines and explain why Canada is best and everyone else is inadequate, or we pay to abort African babies. 

    Those are our three options and none of them amount to a Doctrine.

    North Korea has its own uranium mines and in 1965 obtained a small research reactor from the Soviet Union, which it located at Yongbyon. By the mid-1970s, North Korean technicians had increased the capability of that reactor and constructed a second one. Pyongyang agreed in 1977 to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the first reactor.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/14/AR2006101401068.html

    David Frum:

    “In 1968, Canada remained a considerable military power and an important voice in the councils of the West.Trudeau repudiated that inheritance. His spending spree did not include the military. He cut air and naval capabilities, pulled troops home from Europe, and embarked on morale-destroying reorganizations of the military services. In 1968, Canada was a serious second-tier non-nuclear military power, like Sweden or Israel. By 1984, Canada had lost its war-fighting capability: a loss made vivid when Canada had to opt out of ground combat operations in the first Gulf War of 1990-91.”

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/disastrous+Legacy+Pierre+Elliott+Trudeau/4493902/story.html

  3. Selecting Baird for Foreign Affairs was obviously a move in favor of political stunts over quiet diplomacy. This is what Baird does and what he’s good at. Look for more of these kinds of announcements. 

  4. In a latest blow to its “credibility” the United Nations named North Korea as chair of its Disarmament Conference. What’s next? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chairing a conference on Jewish Sensitivity Training? Bravo to John Baird and Canada for being a voice of reason in taking a stand against such hypocrisy!

    • Don’t use ‘reason’ and ‘Baird’ in the same sentence.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *