Canada, Ukraine, and Missing Internationalism

Stephen Harper and Canada’s Conservative government received rare praise from people in my social media circle for his quick decisions to recall Canada’s ambassador to Russia in condemnation for their occupation of The Crimea in Ukraine.

Soon after, other G-8 countries agreed to similar extents and decided to revert to a G-7 membership until Russia smartness up and stops leading the world down a similar folly to the war whose 100th anniversary is upon us.

The response isn’t uniformly positive to Canada’s actions. Two former Canadian diplomats have already condemned Harper’s moves as merely symbolic and likewise note the lack of international approach of the government that failed to win a seat on the UN Security Council in 2010.

Me at the United Nations in Geneva 2014

Canada, which now has but a handful of peacekeepers, has been largely absent on the world stage (save for a new fervent commitment to Israel) lately.

I think I have to agree with the ex-diplomats that if Canada wants to support Ukraine, it needs to be at the table and working with international organizations. Unfortunately, Russia’s Security Council veto makes UN action unlikely; however, that does not make diplomacy an unworthy goal.

With luck NATO, the European Union, and the new Ukrainian government can work toward a peaceful resolution which enables Ukraine and the Crimea the ability to democratically determine their own fate.