Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Harper's diplomacy is an easy sell
The problem for those criticizing Prime Minister Harper's moralistic foreign policy is the same problem that's faced all proponents of backroom diplomacy. People resent secret foreign policy-making. People resented the behind closed doors diplomacy which led to World War I. People loved Woodrow Wilson's crusade to open things up and attach a moral component to world affairs.
Does diplomacy have to occur behind closed doors at times? Of course. Can an overly moralistic foreign policy get you into kinds of messes you could have otherwise avoided? Absolutely. However, try to sell a backroom deal that's gone awry. You can't. Alternatively, anything you do out in the open and with good intentions can only be applauded by the public.
I think it's why any diplomatic approach that exclusively endorses backroom deals ultimately fails. You can't sell it to people. Harper's critics should keep that in mind as they unwittingly deliver to the Canadian people talking points endorsed by the world's largest dictatorship.