The Foreign Policy Elephant

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Aristotleded24
The Foreign Policy Elephant

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Aristotleded24

With the NDP now the government-in-waiting, NDP foreign policy is going to be that much more important. Unfortunately, as of late they have disappointed in this file time and time again, specifically after Alexa McDonnough retired. Libya is a particular concern, and the fact that the NDP voted for it initially. They have since said they will not support any more mission extensions, so that battle is past for now, but what precedent have they set? Will they agree with any other military deployments/coups that Canada follows the US into? Libya came up very fast, so there are probably many more campaigns that will follow. Especially unfortunate in Libya's case was that social-democratic parties across the world, like Labour in the UK and Australia (along with the Greens there) followed the US in the bombing mission. What's at stake here is that the NDP base is at odds with the brass on these questions number one (why do you think votes on these issues never hit the Convention floor?). Number two, Elizabeth May, to her credit, voted against the Libyan bombing mission, and is looking to grow her party. Where is she looking? The NDP, for one, and if the NDP continually disappoints on the foreign policy file that could spell trouble for the NDP, especially in close ridings where every vote counts.

So what do we do? How about organizations outside of the NDP, like the CCPA, Polaris Institute, or the Canadian Peace Alliance? Are these organizations up to the task? Should we form new groups? What about the NDP itself? Is the Socialst Caucus up to the task of taking on these issues? Do we need to bring back the Waffle/NPI? Does there need to be another group established within the NDP on this file?

Discussion's open, what do we do?

Aristotleded24

dacckon wrote:
I don't need to see ndp mps being trashed around in the media over silly things.

The NDP is going to be trashed in the media regardless of what it says or does. Get used to it.

dacckon wrote:
Libya, which I thought was going to either end up like Kosovo or result in the splitting of the Libya, actually went way beyond my expectations.

Libya has been and is an imperialist adventure on the part of the US government as a way to try and stop the Arab Spring.

dacckon wrote:
The foreign policy issue is fine as it is.

No it is not. See the NDP support for bombing Libya. See the NDP capitulating on the Durban conferences. See the NDP advocate for trooop withdrawl from Afghanistan only for Dawn Black to undermine that position in her capacity as Defence Critic. It's a far cry from when the NDP forcefully opposed Canadian involvement in Iraq in 2003. Do you honestly believe that if the Iraq invasion was being planned today that the NDP would be as forcefully opposed now as they were back then? I don't.

dacckon wrote:
Don't forget in the days to come we will need to unfortunately  micro-target certain ethnic groups, just as Harper did.

What does that mean? What does this have to do with foreign policy.

dacckon wrote:
If you scream and shout, well lets just say that goes against solidarity and you have to question whether you are in the NDP to simply cause trouble or to advance the goal of getting in government.

I've been involved with the NDP for 7 years now, hardly a screaming crazy, and I brought up the Waffle/NPI to simply ask about what vehicles could be useful to improving NDP foreign policy. Maybe the Waffle/NPI is the appropriate vehicle, maybe not. As for getting in government, the reason I want the NDP to get in government is to get different government policies, including in the area of foreign affairs. It's not clear to me that Canadian policy would be any different under an NDP government than what we saw under Harper or Martin or Chretien.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Aristotleded24

..txs for this thread

 

Erik Redburn

Yes, thank you for trying.  This is a more useful approach to take.  

Erik Redburn

It will be interesting to see if this generates any interest here though.   Anyone else in the party here concerned about this potentially schismatic (if not dealt with thoughtfully) issue? 

I believe a decent and defensible position can be found, that could satisfy most on the progressive centre-left.  I'll look in again tomorrow.

dacckon dacckon's picture

The foreign policy issue is fine as it is. I don't need to see ndp mps being trashed around in the media over silly things. Libya, which I thought was going to either end up like Kosovo or result in the splitting of the Libya, actually went way beyond my expectations.

 

The waffle is dead, there is no longer a need for laxers attempting to destroy David Lewis. That drama set us back a couple of years. If you want to debate with the party and try to work together in a peaceful manner is absolutely fine. If you scream and shout, well lets just say that goes against solidarity and you have to question whether some people are in the NDP to simply cause trouble or to advance the goal of getting in government.

 

*Edited my post, some of it was written while influenced by more alcholic beverages than usual.

Aristotleded24

So who in the NDP could be allies on this question? It is unfortunate that Bill Siksay is no longer an MP. Libby Davies was an ally on these important matters, but her capitulation on the Libya vote was shameful. Maybe she will learn from that mis-step? How about some of the younger MPs? How about MPs from Quebec, since Quebec has a more ingrained anti-imperialist world view than English Canada?

NDPP

 The NDP will figure out that they can have their imperialist cake and eat it too. They will hide behind the convenient UN fig leaf provided for just that purpose -  and say they thought they were voting for a 'responsibility to protect'  the civilian population of Libya from the evil dictator, not approving NATO 'excesses' They can even  safely vote against any Libyan  extension knowing that they already did their most important bit for Queen, country and corporations the first time round. A little carefully nuanced criticism of the warmakers and Harper warmongers, maybe a word of caution and concern about allegations of NTC 'racism' and 'human rights' , show Canada the warm and fuzzy 'love is better than anger hope is better than fear' ndp. Then  leverage that old R2P Principle jive once again to promote the coming 'boots on the ground' of the Western NGO invasion of consultants, hustlers, advisors and scalliwags that come to 'help' the 'new Libya' 'transition to democracy'. Like Haiti, maybe even send in the RCMP to train some police, or something, etc etc You know how it goes. Run with hare AND hunt with hounds. Its not the first time, after all -  remember Yugoslavia? No 'schisms' only the tantalizing possibility of power. In politics, in Canada, image is all and image is everything.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i find that politicians don't like to talk about their personal politics. they talk in terms of us better then them. in this way they don't commit to anything specific and they are free, when in power, to move in any direction they choose. they try and fool both their electorate and the party grassroots by trying to be everything to everyone. it's quite a skill. they are not even tied to their convention's wishes. even that is a game. something to get around.

..look at the ndp leadership thread. lots of logistics, lots of personality traits but no discussion on politics. no information as to if they for this or are they for that. and it's not just small issues. it's major stuff. support for nato, imperialism, the economic system and democracy to name a few. 

..i say it matters what the individual politics are.  i say that we are not fools and in spite of these shenanigans they are transparent as a party. they cannot be a party of peace and a party of war at the same time. i don't like these kind of politics. it is deceitful at best.

..which is why i prefer direct democracy.

Doug

Nobody really has a sound policy on when it is or isn't necessary to use Canada's armed forces to intervene (or more realistically, to support someone else's intervention) in another country. I'm not personally satisfied with the arguments for always doing it - which the international responsibility to protect universal human rights argument can amount to - or the argument for never doing it, whether on the basis of pacifism or national sovereignty. It's a tough subject and really is the elephant in the room.

Fidel

The way I see it those of us on the far left are willing to die hanging on to every principle they've ever had and then some before they would cast a vote for any party. Unless a political party's platform adheres to every left wing principle ever conceived of since the beginning of man, they won't be selling out, so to speak. Their vote comes at a high cost. 

And that's fine. Deciding who to vote for and whether they will actually cast a vote for any party, and any time between now and WW III or official accession of Canada by the U.S.S.A. would be a good idea, is a hard choice for many on the left. And I can understand not wanting to sell out on principles while the country continues losing any and all sense of economic and political sovereignty, cultural identity etc to U.S. interests. In fact Canada ceased being a sovereign country some time ago and with Canada's chartered banks continuing to finance U.S. takeovers of anything that's worth anything in this country and using Canaidans' savings to achieve that goal on behalf of superrich Americans. It's the democracy gap, and it's not worth selling out on your principles over. These people would never vote for the NDP - they'd sooner speak American and continue propping-up a vicious empire through successive colonial administrativeships in Ottawa by their vows of silence and allowing others to speak for them on the one day every four years that actually counts for anything in the halls of actual power. And if that isn't enough, they want you to know exactly how principled they are while what's left of the country goes down the Mississippi. It's all about personal principles and waiting for the perfect revolution - that one which will never happen.

NDPP

But lots of people voted NDP for these very reasons last time.  Yet the NDP voted for war in Libya and support for NATO which "continues propping up a vicious empire"...anyway. It's a betrayal of everything they market themselves as being against. How many times does this party sellout its own principles and the people who voted for it, before you stop recommending people vote for their treachery and betrayal, yet again?

Doug

Just saying NATO is bad isn't a policy. Setting out what Canada's foreign and defence policy is supposed to look like without it would be.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..everyday we wake up and face the world. it's no secrete that we wish for a better world. it's sad that the only thing we can come up with worth fighting for is what the ndp has to offer. we are much more than that and we need to find a way to force all parties to listen to us or we will find another vehicle. this is the way it needs to be that we the people call the shots. because at this moment in time we cannot fantom how this will occur doesn't mean we don't have the answers at out finger tips.  

Aristotleded24

Bumping because of current events in Syria, and so that hopefully we can have a more sustained conversation and maybe be prepared instead of being caught reacting in the same way to each international crisis, as there will no doubt be more.