Friday, March 27, 2015

Perspective Is Everything

"This is the biggest issue facing the world today in my view, I think in the view of our prime minister, and our team."
"Yes, there is terrorism. Vladimir Putin is behaving like a terrorist."
"But the buck stops in Ukraine; there is absolutely no scenario going into the future that leads to peace and security for this world, that leads to prosperity in Europe globally that does not include a full international effort to give Ukraine the tools it needs to drive Russian forces from their borders and to secure its borders for good."
Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander's February speech sparked a diplomatic tiff with the Russian embassy.
CP/Adrian Wyld, AP/Pavel Golovkin    Immigration Minister Chris Alexander's February speech sparked a diplomatic tiff with the Russian embassy.

Well, the speech was, after all, geared to his audience, of Ukrainian Canadians. Yes, there is immediate urgency in the volatile and deadly events unfolding in the Middle East, where the lives of hundreds of thousands of people have been lost in Syria, in Iraq, in the iniquitous blood-letting atrocity-laden murder-sprees of both the Syrian Baathist regime and Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. But there is also Russia's aggression in Ukraine, and its support of Syria and of Iran.

Mr. Alexander did give the conflicts in Syria and Iraq their due, but his ire on this occasion, for this special audience, was reserved for Russia, and its President; Vladimir Putin, in particular. His words did not go unnoticed, all the more so since a video of his speech surfaced on the Internet and the Russian Embassy in Ottawa decided to respond. The YouTube video got an answer on Twitter: "Sounds like Orwellian 'five minutes of hate'. Hardly the artwork of diplomacy", tweeted the Russian embassy. Touche...!

And it isn't only Canada versus Russia that has surface of late. Britain, with its hate-on for Russian skulduggery in assassinations on British soil,  has London and Moscow cat-calling one another, and this time Moscow has a point; focusing on Argentina's claim to the Malvinas, which colonial Britain that taken as its own Falklands, installing Britons to make it their home, and fighting wars with Argentina over its possession; refusing to take part in a diplomatic mission to agree to a resolution to the impasse.

Britain has decided to beef up its military presence in the Falklands much to Argentina's alarm and discomfort. In response to Russia's cozying up to Argentina, following the Iranian lead, one supposes. Both have been ostracized of late; Iran for its nuclear ambitions, Russia for its hegemonic aggression of Ukraine, and the sanctions that have been imposed on each have gone far in biting their economies, so they're looking where they can for 'economies' that will aid them in accommodating themselves to their new realities.

A Rapier missile speeds towards its target
A Rapier missile, similar to that deployed on the Falklands Photo: PO[Phot]Lewis.S.J./Crown Copyright

Said David Cameron: "The assurance that I can give the Falkland Islands is that we will always be there for them, we will always defend them." They are all of British heritage, after all, so far from home, rubbing cheeks with Argentina geographically, since logically it should be an Argentinian possession, as the country claims. Since they're all British-speakers, and they voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to remain British, seeking Britain's aid in fending off Argentinian overtures, there's a certain resemblance there to Moscow claiming it cannot ignore the pleas of Russian speakers in Ukraine.

Britain condemns the Crimean annexation, and sneeringly speaks of the referendum that took place there giving moral authorization, as Moscow claims, for that annexation, as a "fig leaf" for Putin's "land grab". The Russian embassy in Britain had this to say: "In its rhetoric Foreign Office applies one logic to the referendum in the Maldives/Falklands, and a different one to the case of Crimea". And truth to tell, they've got a case in point there.

An internationally beleaguered Russia is pushing back.  For weeks pro-Kremlin news sources and Russian members of the Duma have been denouncing as pure hypocrisy Britain's "colonial occupation" of the Islands, the "Crimea of the Atlantic", while Alexei Pushkov, head of the committee of international affairs in the Duma has written on Twitter: "Information for London: Crimea has immeasurably more reason to be a part of Russia than the Falkland Islands to be part of the U.K."

Ouch! But ain't it the unvarnished truth?!

"The Malvinas has always belonged to Argentina, the same way that Crimea also belonged to the Soviet Union until it was given to Ukraine."
Argentine President Cristina de Kirchner

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