After its humiliating rejection at the UN last week, the Harper government wasted no time in signalling it didn't plan to pay the slightest attention to the judgment of the world's nations.
Perhaps it is too much to expect some humility -- or even a moment of reflection -- in Ottawa after the international community declined for the first time ever to grant Canada's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.
Like a kid who can't get along with the other kids in the sandbox, our prime minister promptly implied he never wanted to play with them anyway, that he wasn't interested in winning "based on popularity." Meanwhile, Conservative commentators suggested Canada's rejection by the world's nations amounted to a "moral victory."
Sometimes you find yourself chatting with someone where there is disagreement. And so your strongly held beliefs get challenged -- which is not always a bad thing.
That is what happened to me recently with my telephone conversation with Israeli-American Miko Peled, author of The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, now on a cross-Canada tour sponsored by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.
As a Jew who hesitates to define himself in the debates about the Middle East, it is my feeling that a two state solution for Israelis and Palestinians seems preferable since it appears to be the most doable and realistic, even the under the current difficult political situation.
There are no shades of grey, no nuance or even cause and effect in the simplistic world view proclaimed by the current Canadian government.
The Conservatives response to the horrific attack in Nairobi's Westgate Mall has been to thump their chests and proclaim their anti-terror bona fides.
"The fight against international terrorism is the great struggle of our generation, and we need to continue with the resolve to fight this," bellowed Foreign Minister John Baird. For his part, Stephen Harper boasted that "our government is the government that listed al-Shabab as a terrorist entity."
Graeme Smith stood out among his colleagues for his comprehensive coverage of the war in Afghanistan in a 2007 to 2009 posting for the Globe and Mail. Now he is on a book tour, promoting The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan, published by Random House. He recently sat down for an interview with rabble.ca.
Smith, dressed in a dark brown sports jacket, is soft spoken and modest in person. He has written a frank and honest account of his posting in southern Afghanistan in the conflict zones.
It was easy, he explains, to identify initially as he did with the NATO solders, diplomats and NGOs who arrived in Afghanistan in the post 9/11 period with the naive idea of reshaping the seemingly medieval country in a significant way.