A former official with the U.S. delegation to the U.N. revealed recently a major reason why Canada lost its bid last week to gain a seat on the Security Council. Richard Grenell, a former press officer, said the American delegation deliberately sat on its hands during the run up to the vote that ended in a defeat for a staunch ally of Israel and America’s closest neighbour.
“U.S. State Department insiders say that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice not only didn’t campaign for Canada’s election but instructed American diplomats to not get involved in the weeks leading up to the heated contest,” Grenell reported on a _Fox_news website.
If true, this would be just another manifestation of the Obama administration’s anti-Israel bias. The Canadian Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is known as Israel’s staunchest ally in the West and, as a strong, unabashed ally of the Jewish state, the Harper government has steadfastly refused to “water down” its foreign policy just to please the U.N.’s anti-Israeli petty dictators and tyrants and to win the seat. To prove its commitment to its principled stance, on the day before last week’s vote Canada announced it was strengthening its trading relationship with Israel.
“The principles that underlie the policy of foreign affairs, freedom, democracy, human rights and common law, are the foundations of each of these decisions. Some would say that because of our attachment to these values, we lost the seat. If that is the case, so be it,” said Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon after his country’s historic loss.
Canada has served on the Security Council in every decade since the U.N.’s founding in 1945 and had never lost a vote until last week. Portugal wound up getting the seat, designated for a Western country, after Canada withdrew its candidacy for lack of support after the voting’s second round.
Rice herself was on a tour of Africa when the vote was taken, which columnist David Frum calls “a strange thing for an UN ambassador to do at such a critical moment.” Such an unusual development was most likely not coincidental, since Grenell states that Rice “could have had her team work to Canada’s benefit. Instead she instructed her colleagues to steer clear, effectively abandoning Canada.” It appears Rice’s absence was part of the plan.
In his column on the Canadian defeat, Frum also theorizes American non-support for Canada stems from a deal between the United States and Brazil that involved Brazil supporting Colombia, America’s ally in South America, in the same Security Council vote last week. As a result, Colombia did successfully obtain a seat allotted to South America. Brazil, Frum writes, also helped the United States block Venezuela from getting a Security Council seat in 2006. The “payback” was America had to support Portugal’s bid last week over Canada’s.
“Portuguese-speaking Brazil feels a special relationship with its former metropole,Portugal,” Frum wrote. “And we know that Brazil campaigned hard for Portugal in the General Assembly vote.”
Frum admits that, despite his inquiries, he still does not know the real reason for the Canadian defeat. And while Frum’s Brazil theory is plausible, it does not take into account other major reasons for Israel’s ally not being seated around the Security Council table come January, 2011. Islamic countries, for example, are recognized as having been key in Portugal’s win.
Besides disliking Canada’s unswerving support for Israel, the Canadian newspaper, the National Post, reported the 57 countries of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), according to an Islamic official, “felt snubbed” that Canada did not address these U.N. members as a group in its campaign like Portugal’s foreign affairs secretary, Joao Cravinho, did. Instead, the Canadians approached the Islamic states individually in seeking their support.
“He (Cravinho) basically appealed to the OIC group for their support and, in the absence of Canada doing the same thing, they got support from the OIC member states,” the Post quotes the Islamic official as saying.
However the Islamic official, who asked to remain anonymous, perhaps summed up the most important, and worrying, aspect of Canada’s defeat when he said: “This underlines the growing influence of the OIC group at the UN.” This “growing influence” may also have played a role in the Islamic world-friendly Obama administration’s decision to steer clear of the Canadian bid.
The other group that voted against the Canadians last week were African countries, angry that Canada had cut them from its list of foreign aid recipients due to their persistent corruption. The Harper Conservative government believed it has a responsibility to Canadian taxpayers not to allow their aid dollars to be stolen. Like Americans, Canadians are a generous people and want to help, but not if their money is going to wind up in the pockets of thieving African politicians and bureaucrats instead of helping people in need.
Kenya, the native country of President Obama’s father, was one such African country targeted. “Massive graft” was the reason a Canadian official cited for Kenya no longer being “a focus for aid from Canada”, especially after a large amount of money for the Free Primary Education program was embezzled.Canada added South American countries to its foreign aid roster in place of the dropped Africans.
Canadian anti-Israel leftist and liberal publications have castigated the Conservative government for losing the U.N. vote, calling it “a humiliating defeat” and “a slap in the face for Canada.” The Wall Street Journal, however, got it right in an editorial last Wednesday entitled “Bravo, Canada!” The editorial said it was rather the U.S.role in Canada’s Security Council defeat that was “embarrassing”, saying Stephen Harper’s politics are not Susan Rice’s.
Unlike appeasing liberals, the Journal is happy “Canada seems to have annoyed a sufficient number of Third World dictators and liberally pious Westerners…” and says “a U.N. snub is a badge of honor.” It supports the Harper government policies that cost Canada the seat, citing “its staunch support of Israel” and “long-standing commitment to the Afghan war.
“Americans would be so lucky to get a leader as steadfast on those issues as the Canadian Prime Minister,” the editorial stated.
Harper appeared unconcerned about the lack of U.S. support in the Security Council vote, and Israel’s supporters will also not have to worry about any change in Canada’s foreign policy due to the Canadian loss. True to character, the Conservative Prime Minister said in Quebec after the defeat that his government would not be influenced by the vote’s result.
‘As I have said before, our engagement internationally is based on the principles that this country holds dear,” he said. “It is not based on popularity.”