Foreign Policy

  • Enduring Patience for Lasting Peace

    Despite the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Susan Korah reports, undaunted groups seek just solutions that benefit both sides.

    A just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine seems as illusory as a mirage in the desert, particularly since the recent outbreak of violence following expulsion of 40 Palestinian families from Sheik Jarrah in East Jerusalem to make room for Israeli...

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  • Rebuking Canada’s African Colonialism

    In conversation with Convivium contributor Jonathon Van Maren, former career diplomat David Mulroney says Canada’s residential school past should curb its neocolonialist urges in Africa.

    “[The Trudeau government] is using foreign policy as an exotic stage from which to tell stories to its supporters back in Canada. This is a really cynical political move.”

    It is rare for a former Canadian diplomat to speak out against a sitting gover...

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  • How Sanctions Cheat Children

    Leading voices are urging Canada to rethink Middle East sanctions that make daily life a struggle just to get daily bread, Susan Korah reports.

    “Economic sanctions that afflict the poor must be lifted. I stress the word ‘poor,’” Archimandrite (head of a monastery) Georges Masri said in an e-mail from his home base in Syria. He was responding to my request for his views on the unfolding humanitarian...

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  • Canada's Complicity in Nagorno-Karabakh Bloodshed

    Most Canadians would struggle to find the remote Caucasus region on a map but that doesn’t mean our hands are clean, Susan Korah writes.

    The names Artsakh and Nagorno-Karabakh (as it’s referred to in many news headlines) don’t trip lightly off the tongues of most Canadians. And most would be hard-pressed to locate it on a map of the world. But when a lethal brew of long-simmering ethnic host...

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  • Is Canada Deaf to Religious Persecution?

    In a world awakening to the catastrophe of anti-faith violence, Canada has apparently hit the snooze button on the alarm, reports Convivium contributor Susan Korah.

    The Canadian election of October 2019 will clearly not be fought and won on the killing fields of the Middle East or in Uyghur re-education camps in China. But a foreign policy that pays little more than lip service to an important aspect of international h...

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  • China's Imperial Brutality

    The death sentence handed to a Canadian convicted of drug smuggling reminded the world that China is the world’s top state executioner. But as former MP and veteran human rights observer David Kilgour tells Convivium readers, Beijing’s vicious persecution of its own minority populations rivals Maoist-era inhumanity.

    About 20 million Muslim and Turkic-speaking Uyghurs, who make up the largest community in China’s far-west province of Xinjiang, are facing brutal repression by police and others acting on behalf of the Beijing government.

    After Mao Zedong occupied X...

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  • Finding Strength In Civic Culture

    Against the seemingly intractable problems of world hotspots such as the Middle East, it can sometimes seem naïve to continue seeking solutions. The real answer, says former MP John Weston, isn’t surrender but cultivation of a civic culture that moulds people to believe they can make a difference.

    Last month at the 10th annual Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, I had the honour of speaking on a panel entitled "Canada and the Mideast,” along with Shuvaloy Majumdar and Melissa Lantsman.

    “Shuv” has served as the policy director to successiv...

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  • Jerusalem and Peace

    Is peace in the Middle East possible? Today Father Raymond J. de Souza reflects on the significance of President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    The decision by President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has provoked much reaction. I commented upon ...

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  • Re-evaluating Russia

    Father Raymond J de Souza delivers an analysis of Prime Minister Trudeau's promotion of Chrystia Freeland to foreign minister and Russia's position on the world stage. 

    The Cold War rom-com starring Robin Williams was called Moscow on the Hudson. The main character, a circus musician, defects from the Soviet Union at the perfume counter of Bloomingdale’s. This week, the media circus was a few blocks away at Trump ...

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  • Pig Blood and Glowing Sand

    This article first appeared on providencemag.com, the website of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    According to recent polls, more than a third of self-identified white evangelical voters currently support a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who ...

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  • Acquiring a Faith Literacy

    The following interaction between myself as Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Mrs. Lois Brown, MP for Newmarket-Aurora during my appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development reflects this idea. -AB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    For part one of this series, please see How to Counter Religion Avoidance Syndrome, published February 23.

    ...

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  • Battle Facts

    Despite the reticence of military communicators to actually reveal much of anything about our participation in Operation Impact, a large truth emerged out of the flannel-mouthing and evading. Whatever else it may be, war is mystifyingly complex and paradoxically cooperative. Yet one tiny detail, a virtual footnote, allowed to emerge at yesterday's DND briefing was reference to a recent meeting at an air force base in Florida where 200 military planners representing 30-plus countries gathered to gauge and wage the war against the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL).

    A Department of National Defence briefing on Canada's role in Iraq yesterday was almost comically short on fresh facts.

    Despite the reticence of military communicators ...

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  • At Sea and at Home

    There was the former American first lady addressing an Ottawa luncheon crowd at the Canada 2020 event in the gushing tones of progressive politics: a glorious future awaits all who eagerly rush forward to embrace the times. Yet very early in her 35-minute talk yesterday, the secretary of state, who logged more than a million miles visiting 112 countries in four years, began using Cardus language: the prudential need to renew underlying social architecture.

    Any Cardus supporters attending Hillary Clinton's speech to Canada's self-proclaimed leading progressive think tank might have simultaneously felt at sea and at home.

    There was the former American first lady addressing an Ottawa luncheon crowd at the...

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  • Democracy's Finest Hour?

    All that really needs to be said is being said about the necessity of democratic politics being the default politics for the human condition. As this week's failed attempt to remove Scotland from its 300-year union with England illustrates so successfully, democracy is capacious enough to allow for a breathtaking breadth of proposals, from the inherently elegant to the essentially idiotic. The brilliant quid pro quo of the system is that judgment of those proposals is never final, but always binding.

    When both sides in the Scottish referendum vote praise the contest as democracy's finest hour, something is being said about politics that really matters.

    All that really needs to be said is being said about the necessity of democratic politics being...

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  • Being a Christian in the World Today

    Meriam Ibrahim was imprisoned and sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity in Sudan. After intense international pressure, she was released and has been granted asylum in the United States. But there are others whose stories have not garnered international press in similar situations.

    It is dangerous to be a Christian in many parts of the world today, and it appears to be becoming more so. Not a day goes by that I don’t get a report about Christians being executed, facing imprisonment, or having to flee their homes in some part of the wo...

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  • Ukraine: Does it Matter Where you Stand?

    Parallax was one of the ordering principles informing Joyce's Ulysses.  The story shifts from Leopold Bloom to Molly to Stephen Daedalus and to a whole host of other minor characters' viewpoints, constantly destabilizing what we thought we knew about transpired and transpiring events. Eliot's journey through The Waste Land is similarly a kaleidoscope of ever-shifting viewpoints and voices, reflecting upon the secularizing Western world between the wars. Really, it's the same narrative principle that guided television series like LOST and films like Crash or Babel.  The fixed viewpoint, that seemingly authoritative center of interpretation, becomes dislocated, making these stories more interesting, but also more unsettling: we don't like it when the ground shifts beneath our feet.

    I don't remember much from high school physics, but—for whatever reason—the idea of parallax stuck. Oddly enough, parallax, the idea that what we see is often affected by where we stand, is also an import...

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  • Walking Away From Omelas

    The only way for Omelas to maintain its stoic happiness is to free itself from guilt. Easy enough, it seems, but for one problem. In the basement of one of the buildings in Omelas is an imprisoned child that everyone living in Omelas must confront. The child is never let outside, is never spoken to, and must sit chained in its own filth.

    In Ursula LeGuin's 1973 short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," we are told of a place where everyone (well, almost everyone) is perfectly happy. The Summer Festival is upo...

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  • Christians in the Middle East: More than "Leaseholders"?

    But will Christian response repeat errors of the twentieth century, or aim instead for a more productive movement?

    The violence that has befallen Christians in Egypt is a crisis that threatens the most important bastion of the faith in the region. It falls on the heels of crises that have forced massive emigration of Christians from Iraq and the Palestinian territories ...

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  • Human Rights Triage

    Either the fine people at REAL Women of Canada missed that particular memo with its deeply conservative emphasis on constancy and prudence, or they suffered a temporary lapse in memory before issuing a terribly wrong-headed media release last week. The release publicly criticized Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird for his public criticism of Russia's abuse of a) the basic human rights of homosexual people, and b) by extension, the basic human rights of all people. It then went further and accused the minister of abandoning conservative principles to advance his personal agenda at the expense of Canadian taxpayers. The clear implication was that he has a personal interest in Uganda homosexuality. At best, that would be the great unreported allegation of our time. At worst, it is ad hominem untrue innuendo unworthy of REAL Women and its ever-stalwart president, Gwen Landolt.

    Mother always said never let down true old friends to chase after false new friends waiting to let you down.

    Either the fine people at REAL Women of Canada missed that particular memo with its deeply co...

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  • Reasonable Accommodation in Reverse

    It is time, therefore, for religious communities to take a hard look at reasonable accommodation in reverse: not just as a "rights" flag to wave from our foxholes, but as a productive push for social and cultural conversation, and accommodation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Religious freedom is making bigger and bigger waves in the stormy seas of Canadian politics of late. It's not just that an Ambassador was appointed in February, although that's a fair hat tip to certain concerned constituencies. There also seems to be a ris...

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  • Gaming Out the Ambiguous Morality of Apocalypse

    Gaming is not a bad way to think about the renaissance in geek culture. Gaming, or game theory, is fundamental to a whole range of forecasting. From domestic to international politics, to pop culture and cult sensations, gaming is at the heart of some of our favourite past times. NBC's Revolution is one big game theory experiment: if all the power shut off, how would people respond? Or AMC's The Walking Dead: what are the social and moral dynamics of post-apocalyptic survivors? Right down, of course, to Max Brooks' unsurpassed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, great if only because of its use of actual, rather than caricatured, foreign policy paradigms.

    "So, can my son, in good Christian conscience, head-shot a zombie to save the town?" You can take that answer to the bank. Kevin Schut, professor at Tr...

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  • Not Ideology but Character: Long Live Maggie Thatcher

    I have my own memories of Maggie, having been such an infatuated Thatcherite for much of my adult life.

    If journalism is, as G.K. Chesterton so brilliantly said, saying "Lord Jones dead" to people who didn't know Lord Jones was alive, then the outpouring of commentary about Margaret Thatcher amounts to saying "Iron Lady dead" to people who have forgotten what...

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