Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canadian policy re the Americas

The federal government has made some constructive comments about Honduras this past month. Peter Kent, incorrectly identified by the New York Times as Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister (he is, in fact, a more junior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas)), was quoted as saying "[t]here has to be an appreciation of the events that led up to the coup."

Kent has also argued against attempts by Zelaya to return absent a "mediated solution" and today said that Canadian military and development aid would continue to flow to the beleagered country. The Canadian Press story on the aid situation draws a contrast with the policy of the Obama administration, raising interesting parallels with Colombia:
In a thinly veiled slap at U.S. congressional Democrats who oppose a trade deal with Colombia due to rights concerns, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper used a trip to Bogota to present himself as a steadier ally.

So I have to give Harper his due here. With respect to Colombia, he told the Wall Street Journal in February that "[i]f we as the major countries of this hemisphere cut an ally off at the knees we will pay a tremendous price for it." Although the prime minister's policy on Israel ("[m]y government is a very strong supporter of the state of Israel") is problematic (something I will address in a future post), Harper's 2007 speech to the US Council on Foreign Relations calling on the US to support Colombia was one of his finest.

But conservative ideology should not drive foreign policy any more than liberal ideology. What matters is the facts and the particulars of the region at issue. And on that front, I would refer Honduras watchers to this lady ex-pat's blog.

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