‘Foreign’ Minister

Chrystia Freeland gives a new meaning to the title ‘Foreign Minister’. Normally, it means the person in charge of a state’s dealings with foreign countries. In Canada’s case, however, it sometimes seems to mean something rather different – namely, the minister who represents the interests of a foreign country. For on occasion Ms Freeland appears to be less the foreign minister of Canada and more the foreign minister of Ukraine.

This week, Canada is hosting a meeting of foreign ministers of the G7. But on this occasion, Freeland has made it into something of a G8 by inviting along her Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin. As The Globe and Mail reports:

Russia is using Ukraine as a test ground for its information war against Western democracy, Ukraine’s foreign minister told G7 ministers meeting here on Sunday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chystia Freeland wants the disruptive influence of Russia on the West to be a top agenda item, and she set the table – literally – for Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin to deliver that message to her G7 counterparts.

Freeland invited Klimkin to be part of Sunday’s talks, hosting him and other ministers at her home for a traditional brunch that was prepared by her own children.

“It was amazing how she organized it, in the sense of creating this friendly atmosphere of hospitality with ministers sitting around the table with her kids what they had personally prepared,” Klimkin told The Canadian Press in an interview Sunday afternoon.

Their conversation was decidedly less festive, with Klimkin pressing the G7 to make a strong, unified stand against what he described as Kremlin efforts to destabilize democracy through election interference and other cyber-meddling.

He called this part of a bigger war “against the democratic transatlantic community.” Supporting Ukraine, he said, should be seen “as a part of a bigger pattern.

“Fighting along with Ukraine would give an immense asset to the whole democratic community in the sense of understanding Russian efforts to destabilize the western world.”

Freeland views the clash of the forces of democracy and authoritarianism as a defining feature of our time, and she has singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin as a major disrupter.

The G7 consists of Canada, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. These countries have some serious issues to deal with: trade relations (particularly due to the renegotiation of NAFTA, Brexit, and the recent round of protectionist measures taken by the USA and China against each other); climate change and environmental issues more generally; terrorism and international security, including the wars in Syria and Iraq; and so on. Yet Ms Freeland, in setting the G7’s agenda, has put Ukraine at the top of the list.

To say the least, it’s a rather odd choice. The future of Ukraine is hardly a vital Canadian national interest; not only is it far, far away, but bilateral trade between the two countries is a pathetic $260 million a year. The decision to promote the topic can only reflect Ms Freeland’s own personal connections to Ukraine and her consequent desire to get the G7 to take action against Russia. This becomes clear in the phrases above which say that, ‘Freeland wants the disruptive influence of Russia on the West to be a top agenda item … Freeland views the clash of the forces of democracy and authoritarianism as a defining feature of our time, and she has singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin as a major disrupter.’

G7 members take turns chairing and hosting the meetings, so a country only gets to set the agenda once every seven times. You’d have thought that you’d use this rare opportunity to turn conversation to matters which are really vital national interests. Instead, Canada has chosen to use it to focus on Ukraine and on whipping up anti-Russian sentiment. It is extremely hard to see how this serves the Canadian national interest.

The only explanations I can come up with is that either Freeland is blinded to Canadian national interests due to her Western Ukrainian nationalist sentiments, or she really believes all that guff about Ukraine being in the front line of a Russian-led assault designed to transplant democracy with authoritarianism, and so actually does imagine that Canadian democracy is in peril because of the malign influence of Russia. If it’s the former, she subordinating Canadian interests to those of a particular foreign government. If it’s the latter, she is, in my opinion, quite deluded.

Take, for instance, the war in Syria. This does not fit Freeland’s idea of a ‘clash of the forces of democracy and authoritarianism as a defining feature of our time’. On the one side in Syria, there is the Syrian government, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. One can argue about this, but just for the simplicity’s sake, let’s take it as given that this side doesn’t consist of bastions of liberal democracy. But who’s on the other side? The USA, Britain, and France, plus a whole bunch of jihadists of various unpleasant sorts, plus the increasingly ‘authoritarian’ Turkey, plus the decidedly undemocratic Saudi Arabia and Qatar. So, how is this a war of ‘democracy’ versus ‘authoritarianism’. It clearly isn’t, as the democracies are acting in alliance with quite definitely non-democratic actors.

Then, there’s the war in Yemen: Iran supposedly backing the Houthi rebels, and Britain and the USA backing Saudi Arabia. Again, given that the democracies are working hand in hand with the Saudis, how can this be described as democracy versus authoritarianism?

One could go on and on. The authoritarianism/democracy dichotomy is not a good model for describing international relations. And it isn’t a good model for describing what’s happening in Ukraine either. The toppling of Viktor Yanukovich in 2014 was certainly not a democratic process, and the post-Maidan government has not exactly been a paradigm of liberal democratic government. In today’s Kyiv Post, I see the headline ‘US State Department calls for anti-graft court, slams human rights violations in Ukraine.’ Meanwhile, another of today’s Ukraine-related headlines reads: ‘Ukrainian neo-Nazi C14 vigilantes drive out Roma families, burn their homes.’ The article which follows reveals that this wasn’t a ‘vigilante’ attack after all: the neo-Nazis responsible were members of the National Guard working in cooperation with the local administration.

Somehow, I doubt that we’ll ever see Chrystia Freeland condemning any of this. Canada’s foreign foreign minister would have us believe that Ukraine is the frontline of a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. Forgive me, but I’m not buying what she’s selling.

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40 thoughts on “‘Foreign’ Minister”

  1. You are absolutely right, Paul! The heirs of Waffen SS criminals and Nazi collaborators, illegally moved from Austria to UK soil and later to Canada. They we used as a useful tool during the Cold War, supported by governments of NATO. Their kids and grandchildren become influential member of Canadian and US society, sitting in Senat, Pariment, Bank of Canada, Canadian Forces. Many of them a truly heirs of nazis idieas and dreaming of creation the mononational Ukrainian State. They ok to use nazis methods to eliminate all of dissentings. They are have a power in the country which was fighting nazis and fascist in the past. Really Wag the Dog

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  2. “For on occasion Ms Freeland appears to be less the foreign minister of Canada and more the foreign minister of Ukraine.”

    Uhm, have you seen their FM Chugunkin Klimkin? Surely they need all help they can get.

    FYI, actually – Canada became what it is now only thanks to the Ukrainians. As there was no official objection from the office of Mr. Trudue, it must be true.

    Professor, you must admit the reality. If you can’t fights it (and you can’t fight it) – then join and become its head! I suggest you begin by starting wearing vyshivanka on your workplace (a lot of members of the Ukrainian and Canadian elite already do this). Next – assemble your own мовнiй патруль for conducting your civic duty in unmasking domestic separatists and agents of the Kremlin. Also – it is an excellent opportunity to, ah, “ask” fellow citizens for ABSOLUTELY FREE donations for the Ukrainian Cause. Cuz if you won’t donate now Putin’s hordes will invade the West. Any day now. And you don’t want this, do you? Then donate!

    Face it, professor. Deep down you know this is true. Embrace your inner щiрый хохол. SUGS!

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    1. If you have been following this whole Ukraine debacle, you will know that the US provoked Russia by funding and supporting an illegal coup in Kiev and installing an illegitimate and fascist government. The reason? To get control of Russia’s only Black Sea military base in Crimea, that’s the reason! The 4000 lives lost in the America conspiracy means less than nothing to Washington. The gross hypocrisy of the US, Canada and other NATO nations to this terrible American ploy just shows how lacking in morals, ethics and dedication to international law, these nations are! It makes me sick!

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      1. “It makes me sick!”

        Uh-huh. So what? What you gonna do about it? What *can* you do about it? Is there any political force in the West that is against that kind international shittery? What can you do as a member of the “civil society”?

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  3. Would you be brave enough to write similarly of politicians with Jewish backgrounds, emphasizing Israels’ interests and combining what is good for Israel with what is good for the world, as you are with respect to Canada’s half-Ukrainian FM?

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    1. The thing that I like about this blog is that it deals with issues that matter to the Russian speaking world, and not necessarily with background anti-semitism prevalent in parts of the world with Abrahamic faiths due to the belief in the ‘election’ of God being invalidated if Jews are still around. I can read about that on other blogs.

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      1. “Whiny Banderastani has a sad cuz his narrative has been disputed. 🙄😂🤣😂🤣”

        The above is a reply to AP.

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      2. I rather think it’s funny. If it had been Reeva Freeland who brought the Israeli FM in to discuss Russian support of Syria this post would not have been written. 🙂

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    2. Aren’t you a svidomite from 404? Well, bad news, AP – now your country embraces European values. So can your antisemitism – or no soup (and money) for you.

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      1. “Apparently you have no idea what is happening in Poland.”

        Their arses are on fire after seeing this?

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    3. If “Reeva” Freeland had brought in the Israel PM and declared that Israel’s fight against Palestinians was Canada’s #1 Top Priority, then yes, I do believe that Professor Robinson would have remarked on the inappropriateness of that. But not necessarily, as blatnoi points out, on a blog dealing with Russian issues. Unless there was a Russian slant to the story.
      AP just whacking at a straw man here in order to push the Ukrainian nationalist and Jew-hating line.

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  4. Freeland is an embarrassment to Canada, especially in the post of Foreign Minister. She and Haley belong in a cesspool, without flotation device.

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    1. Given that Chrystia Freeland is Canada’s Foreign Minister, for her to use her position and the resources that come with it to support the interests of an overseas country whose government’s legitimacy in doubt against those of that country’s rival, with the possibility that Canada’s armed forces might be used against that rival’s forces, is enough to condemn Freeland as a traitor under Section 46 of Canada’s criminal code.

      http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/section-46.html

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  5. These countries have some serious issues to deal with: trade relations (particularly due to the renegotiation of NAFTA, Brexit,…

    I imagine these G7 events are sorta like corporate retreats of regional executives, entertainment at a company expense. So, Mr Klimkin provided some comic relief; what’s the harm of that.

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  6. Paul, again, ‘twas ever thus. The only actual problem His Majesty’s Government had with Hitler is that he made a deal with Stalin:

    What the Pact did do was ruin Adolf’s previously sterling reputation as an anticommunist. Here’s a British commentator at the time:

    “For all the other acts of brutality at home and aggression without, Herr Hitler had been able to offer an excuse, inadequate indeed, but not fantastic. The need for order and discipline in Europe, for strength at the centre to withstand the incessant infiltration of false and revolutionary ideas – this is certainly no more than the conventional excuse offered by every military dictator who has ever suppressed the liberties of his own people or advanced the conquest of his neighbors. Nevertheless, so long as the excuse was offered with sincerity, and in Hitler’s case the appearance of sincerity were not lacking over a period of years, the world’s judgement of the man remained more favorable than its judgement of his actions. The faint possibility of an ultimate settlement with Herr Hitler still, in these circumstances, remained, however abominable his methods, however deceitful his diplomacy, however intolerant he might show himself of the rights of other European peoples, he still claimed to stand ultimately for something which was a common European interest, and which therefore could conceivably provide some day a basis for understanding with other nations equally determined not to sacrifice their traditional institutions and habits on the bloodstained altars of the World Revolution.

    The conclusion of the German-Soviet pact removed even this faint possibility of an honorable peace.”

    Lord Lloyd of Dolobran “The British Case” Eyre & Spottiswoode Limited. London, 1939, pgs 54-5, with a preface by Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary.

    Neville himself put it more concisely in his speech to the German people: “He has sworn for years that he was the mortal enemy of Bolshevism. He is now it’s ally.”

    British foreign policy has been Russophobic since shortly after the Napoleonic Wars. The only exceptions were those arranged by Kaisers Billy II and Adolf I, and in both cases HMG reverted to form as soon as possible.

    So there’s nothing to be surprised at when Canuckistan supports Banderastan in order to spite Russia.

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    1. 1. “For all the other acts of brutality at home and aggression without, Herr Hitler had been able to offer an excuse, inadequate indeed, but not fantastic. The need for order and discipline in Europe, for strength at the centre to withstand the incessant infiltration of false and revolutionary ideas – this is certainly no more than the conventional excuse offered by every military dictator who has ever suppressed the liberties of his own people or advanced the conquest of his neighbors. Nevertheless, so long as the excuse was offered with sincerity, and in Hitler’s case the appearance of sincerity were not lacking over a period of years, the world’s judgement of the man remained more favorable than its judgement of his actions. The faint possibility of an ultimate settlement with Herr Hitler still, in these circumstances, remained, however abominable his methods, however deceitful his diplomacy, however intolerant he might show himself of the rights of other European peoples, he still claimed to stand ultimately for something which was a common European interest, and which therefore could conceivably provide some day a basis for understanding with other nations equally determined not to sacrifice their traditional institutions and habits on the bloodstained altars of the World Revolution.”

      2. “The only actual problem His Majesty’s Government had with Hitler is that he made a deal with Stalin”

      To call 2 a gross and willfully inaccurate simplification of 1 is to put the matter extremely mildly.

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      1. HMG were clearly prepared for their judgement of Hitler as a man to remain better than their judgement of his actions as long as there remained the merest threadbare shred of a hope of a possibility of a chance that maybe, someday, in the course of time, Adolf would go & stick it to the Russians. Chamberlain made it clear at Munich that he was prepared to contemplate war in the East as long as the West remained peaceful. In response to Hitler calling Czechoslovakia a ‘spearhead” in his side…

        “… Chamberlain now asked whether, if Soviet-Czech relations ‘were modified, so that Czechslovakia were no longer bound to go to the assistance of Russia if Russia were attacked, and on the other hand Czechoslovakia were debarred from giving asylum to Russian forces in her aerodromes or elsewhere; would that remove your difficulty?” – Telford Taylor “Munich-The Price of Peace” 1979, pg 741.

        This was the practical expression of Chamberlain’s policy of “Germany and England as two pillars of European peace and buttresses against Communism”. We can see that the point of Munich was to destroy the French-Czech-Soviet alliance that had Hitler in rather a tight spot, so that Russia could subsequently be attacked.

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      2. Quel backpedal? HMG were prepared to tolerate anything from Adolf, as long as he was seen by HMG as a good anticommunist who would attack Russia rather than attacking west. But once he’d done a deal with Stalin, their patience with him was at an end.

        Seems clear enough.

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  7. So, professor, was it a blowback for the Western democracy promotion in Armenia or is it a Russian false flag operation to disrupt the jolly get-together of Klimkin and the Leaders of the Free World?

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  8. What especially bothers me about this is the effect it can be expected to have on relations with Japan. It was just a few days ago that a new military agreement with Japan was announced. In contrast with Ukraine, Japan is a hugely important partner for Canada, which should have meant that building on the momentum recently generated would be a high priority. Instead Canada is almost immediately turning to chase the same old squirrel again, a squirrel that Japan (very reasonably) has no particular interest in. Given that Japan isn’t really invested in Ukraine either way, this doesn’t cause positive damage, but it’s a missed opportunity to carry on with recent momentum.

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  9. Canada’s actions at the G7 is dictated not just by Freelands Ukrainian roots, but by the need for all these disparate countries to have a common “enemy “

    It’s is the USA, with France and the UK Who are the main drivers of this pointless policy that suits Freelands

    It doesn’t really matter whether it suits Canada, the public are no doubt as brainwashed like the western public ;

    Canada are there to provide the venue where all this anti Russian nonsense can be played out.

    Japan will go along with the majority although Russia clearly is not their “enemy.”

    Germany plays politics with its relationship with Russia though they are not “enemies”.

    Russia can’t reason with any of them – they just need to focus on their own agenda and pursue their own goals.

    You can’t reason with stupid people

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    1. “Japan will go along with the majority although Russia clearly is not their “enemy.””

      Japan will go along, but without much conviction or energy. Meanwhile, they’ll get the message loud and clear that Canada has no sense of proportion or the relative importance of things. That won’t change Japan’s basic orientation, but it can be expected to affect their calculation of how much trouble and effort Canada is worth. With a country like America, Japan will put the resources in no matter how dysfunctional the leadership is, because they don’t really have a choice. Canada’s position on the list of priorities is much more vulnerable.

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  10. I forgot to mention Italy – the quiet member of the G7

    Italy showed the film about the snippers on the maidan, so they at least are open to the view that all was not well with the revolution of dignity.

    Russia has good relations with Italy. This meeting won’t change that

    I wonder what the G7 are avoiding discussing with this focus on Russia?

    Talking about their respective economies would be quite depressing for some / if not all
    of these countries present

    Uk – Brexit disaster
    France – strikes
    Japan – political scandals and failure of QE
    Italy – economy / immigration/ political log jam

    Etc etc

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  11. Look, it’s just the usual ass-kissing. All of Washington’s vassals do it. One might dream that Canada would lead a palace revolt but it just ain’t gonna happen. The Liberals are desperate to save NAFTA, so they will continue to humiliate Canadians until that battle is won–or lost.

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  12. Unfortunately diaspora politics strikes again, although it would be rare for such a vocal diaspora advocate to reach such a high position in government. I do concur with Paul’s point that this lady is more interested in representing Ukraine than Canada, but as Canada has a vocal Ukrainian diaspora, which is full of ancient and not so ancient hatreds it is easy to throw these people some bones, particularly when Canadians from other ethnic groups are not really bothered

    Russia as a country has been really crap at working with its diaspora. The Indians for example have a person of Indian origin card which entitles people who’s grandparents left India to visit the country without a visa. Armenia and Israel have very effective diaspora lobbies and outreach programmes. Imagine if ethnic Russians in the US moved to Florida and started voting as a block like the Cubans

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    1. “Russia as a country has been really crap at working with its diaspora.”

      *Russia* has virtually no diaspora.

      “Imagine if ethnic Russians in the US moved to Florida and started voting as a block like the Cubans”

      Those who moved to Florida were not ethnic Russians.

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    2. Russian diaspora in America is politically split. I don’t know the numbers, but I know there is an anti-Russia faction (as in, not just hates the current Russian government, but hates Russia in general and just wants to fit in with America). And there is the Russian-Jewish faction, which is also split, but mostly anti-Russian, probably; or identifies more with being Jewish (not necessarily pro-Israeli, though). The Russian Jews irritate me the most, because with each succeeding generation, they simply don’t know, or don’t care, that Mother Russia saved them from extermination. Ingrates…

      In general, Russians make a very poor showing as a diaspora. In this sense, one could envy the Ukrainians, who have stayed very tightly svidomite over the generations. Well, they have their Banderite summer youth camps, so I reckon that explains it. They’re actually tighter than Mafia families, and more cohesive ideologically.

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  13. Very good but I do not think her backing of the Kiev regime is due to her sympathies for Ukraine fascists which she constatntly displays but fits with Canada’s general support for the NATO aggression building against Russia under US direction. She was not acting on behalf of Ukraine by inviting them to the G7 meeting rather she was acting under US orders to do so so that Canada is noto acting in the interests of the fascists in Ukraine but of the United States which is using Ukraine to attack Russia.

    Christopher Black

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  14. Christopher Black makes a good point, but Freeland is even more aligned with the Clintonites — she is like a US assistant secretary of state in waiting. She is kept around by Trudeau, apart from her electoral utility in certain ridings, because she studiously cultivated a friendship with Trudeau, and especially his wife, for several years. She really is a nasty piece of work — having defended Stepan Bandera in the Financial Times.

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