International Foreign Policy Analysis: Diplomacy

This isn’t a “light” document… there is plenty to digest. If you’re really into it I suggest alloting a good hour to go through it. That said, you should be able to get the gist of the policy from the first few pages.

Let it be known that I am basically treating this document as if it will be fully implemented. If I don’t well, it’d be pretty boring and there wouldn’t be much point talking about it. However, don’t take that to mean that I believe it *will* be fully implemented, for that is by no means certain. That said, after reading quickly through it I believe it was created mostly by Deputies and bureaucrats… that is, the people who actually do the work of the government. This is, without a doubt, a truly inter-departmental document and as such cannot be simply a piece of fluff. There is substance here, and I consider it to be fully implementable, even if it is never fully done so. (did that make sense?)

First… a link to the Statements website.

The official International Policy Statement is actually split into 5 parts… a Summary, Diplomacy, Defense, Development and Commerce.

Note that the CBC Online news story only links to the Development section of the Statement.

Anyway, as I analyze this document, I will split it into 5 parts as well.

First, I will deal with the Statement on Diplomacy.
Second, I will address the Statement on Defense.
Third, I will go through the Statement on Development
Fourth, I will review the Statement on Commerce
and finally I will give my overall impressions of the report and address the how the government chooses to emphasize things, or not, in the Summary.

So without further adieu, I will start with the Statement on Diplomacy

The New Diplomacy:

It’s clear that the government wants, and needs to patch up strained relations with the United States. It’s also clear that the Martin government wants to do exactly that.

Our choice is clear: we must be globally active if we are to create the society we want at home. …
We must ensure that our approach enables us to work with the United States and Mexico so that North America itself is globally competitive and continues to contribute to international security, prosperity and democratic, sustainable development.

Does that mean no more calling the President stupid when “nobody” is listening? I guess, and in all seriousness that is really how it should be. If Canada wants to play an active role in the world, it’s going to have to watch its’ Ps and Qs. The United States, and always will be, our closest and most important ally. We *can* have a relationship where we assert our sovereignty without pissing off our neighbour.

Our strategy is to develop a diplomacy that is adapted to a globalized world. This “new diplomacy” will reflect the fact that our domestic and international priorities are increasingly interconnected and that success demands building wide and flexible networks at home and abroad to foster innovative partnerships.

This is an interesting statement. In the past I think Canada has taken the view that Foreign Policy and diplomacy were seperate from Trade and Commerce. Now, we seem to be hearing a very different tune. They say now, our Foreign Policy will reflect our interests in Trade and Commerce. Does this mean we will ignore Human Rights abuses if it benefits us commercially? I hope not… but this is an issue that, if it is as it seems, could spark serious debate among Canadians.

They talk about fostering the North American Partnership, helping build a more secure world, and promoting a new multilateralism but the really interesting stated priority is:

realigning bilateral relationships and building new networks (beyond North America) key to both our interests and values, taking into account the rise of major new players.

I see this as a nod to those who think our economy is far too dependant on the United States. We need to diversify. That means we need to get our foot in the door with China and India before it’s too late. Again, social issues will have to affect how Canada goes about doing this. I don’t think the majority of Canadians would support throwing out our long held positions on human rights in order to make some money. Foreign Affairs knows that… so it’ll be interesting to see how they address the issue.

some of the “new Capacities” listed to support these priorities: (emphasis added)

  • complete an internal restructuring and consolidation of Foreign Affairs, including a more focused North America branch, a global issues branch concentrating on multilateral reform, a more strategic management of bilateral relations and international security, and a stronger emphasis on strategic foreign policy development and public diplomacy;
  • develop new program capacity, including a $100-million Global Peace and Security Fund, to provide security assistance to failed and fragile states, as well as resources for post-conflict stabilization and recovery;
  • strengthen its field presence, particularly in regions of growing interest to Canada (such as Asia), and improve capacity in key third languages such as Mandarin and Arabic;

a North America branch of Foreign Affairs… a signal that they intend to engage the United States and Mexico. I’m also intrigued by the heavy use of the word “strategic” this is not a word that I would generally associate with the Canadian Government. I see my government as one that governs by mistake rather than by design.

The statement then goes into specifics on how the Foreign Affairs department will try to implement its’ goals.

One of the keys of it’s new focus will be the Responsibility to Protect doctrine introduce by Canada and others to the UN. However, it is also introducing a new concept/initiative in the UN that I have not seen mentioned before… a Peacebuiding Commission.

to more rapidly and effectively build peace in conflict and post-conflict situations, Foreign Affairs will cooperate with like-minded countries to support the creation of a civilian Peacebuilding Commission within the UN, in line with the UN High Level Panel’s recent recommendations. Reporting to the UN Security Council, this Commission would lead in the re-establishment of order and governance in post-conflict and failed states, allowing the UN to rapidly draw together relevant expertise from across the UN system. A peacebuilding support office within the UN Secretariat could provide capacity for faster and more effective peacebuilding operations.

Today peacebuiding can really only be seen in a few contexts, mainly in the Middle East. In Iraq, there is new information on Canadas’ involvement in reconstruction there.

The Government will continue its program of support for Iraqi reconstruction and development, to which it has committed $300 million. Our aim is to promote the emergence of an independent, stable and democratic Iraq, at peace with its neighbours and participating fully in regional and international affairs, including the global economy. Canada has recently assumed chairmanship of the Donors Committee of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, and will use its position to encourage the improved coordination of assistance, and better targeting of Iraqi priorities. We stand ready to assist Iraqis as they move to draft a new constitution, should they seek assistance.

Much of the new policy being outline derives from a new “Responsibilities Agenda” which appears to be born out of the Responsibility to Protect mantra that has become popular with the government of late. This agenda includes:

  • first, the “Responsibility to Protect,” to hold governments accountable for how they treat their people, and to intervene if necessary to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe;
  • second, the “Responsibility to Deny,” to prevent terrorists and irresponsible governments from acquiring weapons of mass destruction that could destroy millions of innocent people;
  • third, the “Responsibility to Respect,” to build lives of freedom for all people, based on the fundamental human rights of every man, woman and child on earth;
  • fourth, the “Responsibility to Build,” to make sure our economic assistance programs provide the tools that ordinary people really need to get on with their own development; and
  • fifth, the “Responsibility to the Future,” to ensure sustainable development for future generations through better management of global public goods.

While these are all wonderful goals I fear that they are too broad … I will now break out of this post and continue into another one… this still on the Diplomacy Statement but on UN reform specifically.

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