Friday, January 18, 2008

At Least He Didn't Promise To Invade Norway...

There’s been a lot of hubbub over some comments made by Dion earlier in the week, that certain people have interpreted as a suggestion NATO invade Pakistan. Today’s Post editorial calls it “Stephane Dion’s Obama Moment”which is probably the nicest headline the Post has given to him in a year.

As for Dion's actual comments, here they are:

"We are going to have to discuss that very actively if they [the Pakistanis] are not able to deal with it on their own. We could consider that option with the NATO forces in order to help Pakistan help us pacify Afghanistan."

Wow! That's a totally...non-controversial opinion. What Dion was getting at is a perfectly valid argument - the At Issue Panel on CBC said as much last night. You won’t get stability in Afghanistan and the region unless Pakistan does something about its border and stops harbouring terrorists.

But the problem, as is so often the case, isn’t one of content but of communication. I don’t think there’s any doubt what the Tory message is going to be next campaign and the ambiguity in these comments plays right into that. The National had a clip of Mansbridge interviewing Dion last night and, when asked what his solution was, Dion started to answer “I don’t have any solutions” before quickly correcting himself to “I don’t have a magical solution” - if he hadn’t caught himself when he did, the Tories would be making their next attack ad buy right now (they still might).

Foreign policy seems to get everyone into hot water no matter how much of an expert they are. We know the Tories will distort every word come campaign time, so Dion is going to have to get his talking points down cold to make sure he doesn’t fall victim to another “Obama moment”.

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17 Comments:

  • Let's be realistic. Dion is an idiot. His platform has to be fleshed out, so that he knows what to say.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:55 PM  

  • And the Liberal Party has NEVER distorted their opponents words for their own gain? C'mon Grit quite being so rightous.

    BTW I think that Dion and the Liberal Party are being consistant in the regards to the use of force. They are advocating for the invasion of Darfur as well as Pakistan. Just one little problem with their plan, Canada has zero capability to mount that sort of operation on their own and unlike the UN authorized operation in Afghanistan, we would have to invade. Sounds like traditional peacekeeping doesn't it.

    By Anonymous Don Mitchell, at 12:03 AM  

  • oh please, have you actually looked at the number of forces we have? in and out of afghanistan right now? we have MORE THAN ENOUGH to "invade" Darfur in order to stop a genocide that its govnt won't.... so the U.S. gets to do it t Iraq on the basis of, "oh there may be no oil but we stopped a cruel dictator!"

    .....

    and you bloody well know Dion did not invade Pakistan out of the blue without diplomatic negotiations first, every single military and foreign affairs expert will tell you that the only reason Pakistan in "on side" with the West on the "war on terror" is because it depends largely on the West for a SIGNIFICANT amount of donations, but in reality, the country and its government has done little to nothing, except verbal assurance, to show for it....

    By Anonymous karen_O18, at 1:06 AM  

  • I don't buy the Liberal repackaging of Dion's words. "Une intervention directe de l'OTAN pourrait être nécessaire au Pakistan" ... they are saying that 'direct NATO intervention in Pakistan may be necessary' refers to verbal intervention? By NATO "forces"? If he is mispeaking that badly, then he does not belong on the world stage. Next thing you know we'll be at war with China after he blunders while ordering sushi.

    By Blogger cherenkov, at 1:06 AM  

  • oops, i meant "will not invade Pakistan.."

    By Anonymous karen_o18, at 1:07 AM  

  • NATO is a military alliance, as far as I know, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, they do not do a whole lot of diplomacy and do more military operations.

    Opening another front in this conflict in the middle east would be suicidal. I realize Musharref isn't the best ally, but at least he isn't working against us, and has control of Pakistan's nuclear capacity.

    On the topic of Darfur, China has so many oil interests in Sudan, there is no way we can get a UN mandate there, and as such any action would be a purely western initiative. It is hard to imagine the west ever uniting for such a cause with Europe barely able to handle its commitments to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Lebanon.

    Assuming the west could muster the support to take decisive action in Darfur, how would China respond? I imagine they would stall progress on North Korea and continue their implicit support for Iran.

    As we can see, these are not problems that can be easily solved, and Dion's naivety came through with his statements. However, his comments to Mansbridge are without a doubt the smartest thing he has said in a while. There is no magic solution.

    By Anonymous Jim, at 2:13 AM  

  • CONs got their talking points early, helping clean up that nuclear spill that's staining their shoes right now.
    Funny this, O'Connor said virtually the same thing as Dion, that to be successful in Afghanistan and to stop the Taliban from re-arming and attacking, there has to be some commitment at the border. Dion has repeatedly NOT said anything about invasion, but since you CONs can't try to smear him with 'he has an illegitimate black baby' dirt (tho no doubt you've assigned some chimp organization to work on something similar for the writ period) you've got to expand on an illusionary premise only you could make up. Andrew Coyne agrees with Dion... Its funny how these weird kind of policy ideas, even Jack's 'negotiate with the Taliban, now part of Karzai's plan', turn into plausible solutions. Of course, you CONs are too busy using the military as your photo prop to be really concerned, right?

    By Blogger burlivespipe, at 2:33 AM  

  • Darfur is just another US imperialist war about oil. The black pagan and Christian minority sitting on top of all of the oil was encouraged by the CIA to revolt without "the cavalry" being ready to prevent them being slaughtered.

    But then our Canadian leaders never seem to actually consider the facts before they send troops to support US imperialism. The Pakistan problem with the Taliban was well known by any informed person when Chretien sent Canadian forces to Afghanistan over the military's objections. Dion was at the Cabinet table. Dion was again at the Cabinet table when Martin sent Canadian forces to Kandahar on the current futile and dangerous mission. His statements now make it clear he voted to send Canadians forces to war in Kandahar while being in a state of ignorance as to the nature of the enemy.

    Of course, Harper was ignorant then too, but he didn't have the responsibility to know better, because Chretien (went to Kabul) and Martin (went to Kanduhar) WITHOUT a Commons vote. Dion had a vote at the Cabinet table. He had the responsibility to know the facts before voting for war.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 AM  

  • burlivespipe, I'm not exactly sure, but comparing the leader of the Liberals to O'Connor is probably not the wisest course of action.

    O'Connor after all was incompetent, was continually contradicted by the military and never lived up to expectations.

    Oh, wait, maybe comparing Dion to O'Connor is justified....

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 9:40 AM  

  • Your linking "certain people" to the Conservative web page is an obvious distraction. Why didn't you link "certain people" to today's THE GAZETTE article by Hubert Bauch, Canwest News Service where he states: "To a person, reporters covering the event, from both French and English media, took this to mean that Dion was calling for a military intervention, sending in troops, some presumably Canadian."
    Perhaps because it would have called into question the spin Mr Dion's people are spewing?

    Think for yourself, make up your own mind, but use facts, not prejudices, to inform those decisions.

    By Anonymous Ron, at 10:28 AM  

  • Dion is having trouble sitting on that decades old Liberal fence.
    (aka nuance)
    Given time, he will learn how to straddle both sides of the fence, at the same time, like a good Liberal.

    Why no policy convention yet?
    Libs saving the good stuff for a new leader, while watching Dion drown.
    Cruel bunch, you Libs are.

    By Blogger wilson, at 4:46 PM  

  • Noncontroversial? Saying that if Pakistan can't control matters within their own territory on their own, NATO should step in?

    He didn't say that Pakistan could ask for help. He said that NATO should impose it.

    I know you like the Liberal Party, and you don't want to encourage the seemingly growing Dump Dion movement, but that's an extraordinarily irresponsible comment for Dion to make.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 7:58 PM  

  • Dan, on this I have to respectfully differ.

    Given each party's penchant for distortion of an opponent's meaning, I've tried to examine the original as much as I can, and Dion is wrong - either in content or communication. Either way, this was a very, very stupid moment for him.

    The position by itself is fair enough - I may or may not agree, but I will respect the opinion of someone who believes we ought invade Pakistan. But Dion's talking out both sides of his brain on this one.

    Personally, I think it's worse than any "Obama moment", and the sooner a new leader comes in, the better.

    But that all said, I respect your opinion on the matter.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:37 AM  

  • Well, as I read the above comments (and after seeing the original French ones, I'll admit they do seem a bit stronger), Dion was suggesting that NATO help Pakistan solidify it's border or provide other resources to help them fight terrorism. Since he keeps talking about "help", I assume this wouldn't be an invasion or against the will of the Pakistanis.

    Now, if Dion actually did mean that we should invade Pakistan well, then, yeah, that's a completely idiotic statement and he's a moron for suggesting it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:24 AM  

  • Ahh... now that's very interesting, Dan. You make me wonder if I did misinterpret Dion; if he is talking about guarding the Pakistan/Afghanistan border with NATO troops, with the co-operation of Pakistan and Afghanistan, then yes, I can see where you (and he) are going.

    However, the later-on 'clarifications' from the LPC did not give that impression.

    My question: Why would they start saying "he means diplomacy and negotiation" if Dion only meant guarding the border?

    A possibility: Assuming that Dion meant what you suggest he did (and I can buy it), then the LPC went around him and started talking about something else completely, rather than just saying: "No dummies, he just wants to assist them guard the border". Meaning, they're end-running around the leader, again.

    I stress, that's just a possibility, it's not my 'analysis'.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 12:47 PM  

  • "Since he keeps talking about "help", I assume this wouldn't be an invasion or against the will of the Pakistanis."

    That's an awfully generous interpretation.

    A more straightforward reading would suggest that if Dion intended to respect the will of the Pakistanis, he would have been talking about "offering" help, or about engaging the Government of Pakistan to support their goals.

    When someone says they're from the Government and they're here to help you, they aren't asking. And neither was Dion. But kind of you, I'm sure, to think that he was. Naive, but kind.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 8:26 PM  

  • Wiki gives us this on A Q Kahn . . .

    Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, NI & BAR (twice), HI (Urdu: عبدالقدیر خان) (born April 1, 1936) is a Pakistani Scientist and metallurgical engineer widely regarded as the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program. (His middle name is occasionally rendered as Quadeer, Qadir or Gadeer, and his given names are often abbreviated to A.Q.).

    In January 2004, Khan confessed to having been involved in a clandestine international network of nuclear weapons technology proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea. On February 5, 2004,
    ================
    the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, announced that he had pardoned Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is widely seen as a national hero.[1]

    In an August 23, 2005 interview with Kyodo News General Pervez Musharraf confirmed that Khan had supplied gas centrifuges and gas centrifuge parts to North Korea.
    ==================== Wikipedia

    With Osama*s boys sitting next to Pakistan*s A-bombs, you mean to suggest some dipstick like Jack or Dion thinks we should leave Afghanistan sometime soon?

    G*wan, stop pulling my leg, eh?. = TG

    By Blogger TonyGuitar, at 1:37 AM  

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