By Margaret Villamizar
A notion that has been pushed a lot, especially since the Trudeau government decided to enter the race for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021, is that Canada is a champion of multilateralism. In this way Canada’s meddling foreign policy is presented as different and presumably better than Trump’s obnoxious “America First” unilateralism. Canada’s imperialist multilateralism is based on its preferring to do its meddling as part of coalitions and other groups of like-minded countries rather than on its own. Canada’s attempt to convince other countries to support its bid for the UN Security Council seat is not likely to be helped by drawing attention to the defining feature of its foreign policy: its appeasement of U.S. imperialism, all down the line. Therefore a kind of diversion is put in place with a lot of noise being made about Canada’s “multilateral agenda” without explaining what it really means.
The Non-Aligned Movement – comprising some 120 of 193 UN member states, virtually all from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America – last year launched a campaign calling for strengthening multilateralism. Its stand is in support of peace and diplomacy that is based on the sovereign equality of all UN member states, mutual non-aggression, and non-interference in one another’s domestic affairs. Its aim is to make the UN serve the purpose it was created to fulfil and to hold the U.S. and those appeasing it to account so that they cannot continue applying their “rules” by attacking the peoples of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Yemen, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and others with impunity, and enforcing murderous sanctions against them, which are acts of war. It is the antithesis of the multilateralism Canada is practicing as it goes about appeasing U.S. imperialism, violating in the name of high ideals the right of the peoples to live in peace, without interference and free from the threat or use of force.
In a major policy speech Chrystia Freeland gave in 2017 that outlined what the Trudeau government calls its multilateral agenda, she said it involves strengthening the rules-based international order and mentioned Canada’s involvement in groups such as the G7, G20, Organization of American States (OAS), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, the Commonwealth, a few others “and of course NATO and the UN.” Tellingly, she said the “cornerstone” of Canada’s multilateral agenda was its “steadfast commitment to the Transatlantic Alliance,” i.e. the aggressive U.S.-led NATO military and political alliance, which openly contravenes the UN Charter and international law.
The illegitimate Lima Group has since been included on the list as another example of Canada’s multilateralism in action. It is a model for it in fact, according to Canada’s former ambassador to Venezuela [Ben Rowswell] who during his tenure as a practitioner of U.S.-style “democracy promotion,” turned the Canadian embassy in Caracas into a hub of subversion against the Venezuelan government.
There could be no clearer indication that what Canada stands for has nothing to do with upholding the principles and purposes of the UN and preserving the peace based on the lessons learned from two catastrophic world wars. Canada’s is the imperialist multilateralism and rules that NATO seeks to impose on the world through force. Using what are called diplomatic means to secure regime change versus the use of force allegedly distinguishes the Canadian way from that of the U.S. The fact that the alleged diplomatic means, such as those the Lima Group supposedly engage in, actually prepare the way for the use of force and provide a justification for it in the form of a so-called humanitarian intervention against a “failed state” or one based on the imperialist “responsibility to protect” is not to be discussed. Just like whose rule of law and what kind of law it is which Canada upholds is not to be discussed.
In an address to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations on February 21, Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne outlined what he said were the aims of Canada’s foreign policy, and declared that the campaign for a seat on the Security Council was an opportunity for Canada to give credibility to, strengthen and better adapt multilateralism to the realities of today. In this regard he lamented what he called an upsurge in the selective application and flouting of international law, saying the rules-based international order was under threat. As a result the multilateral system needs modernization, he said, to adapt it to the new realities of today. Champagne said Canada needed to take the lead on this internationally, giving examples of how it has already contributed to the concocted “rules-based order” Canada champions. He pointed to Canada’s role in the creation of the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF, World Bank) and NATO, along with its pioneering during an earlier stint on the Security Council of the imperialist “responsibility to protect” concept. And of course, more recently, the Lima Group. While Champagne was speaking Canadians and Quebeckers demonstrated outside to denounce Canada’s hosting of a meeting of the Lima Group, and its ongoing interference in the affairs of the Venezuelan people.
The bottom line for some is that Canada does not deserve a seat on the UN Security Council. This is true. But what about the U.S., Britain, and France – all of them warmongers – that along with Russia and China hold veto powers? More than Canada’s being undeserving of a seat on the Security Council, events reveal the breakdown of the post-World War II order and international rule of law that the UN was formed to codify and uphold as a means to prevent the scourge of war from recurring.
Today the crisis in which the UN and all institutions based on old arrangements are mired is exposed by the fact that the Anglo-American imperialists use the questions of human rights, peace, freedom and democracy as political tools, as weapons to justify aggression and intervention against peoples and countries that uphold their right to be. These peoples and countries are thus deemed to be hostile to Anglo-American interests and threats to international and national security. This is what the Trudeau government is engaged in under the guise of shunning the unilateralism of Trump – being inclusive, bringing people together to “solve problems” even if it violates the UN Charter and the principles of international law and diplomacy internationally.
But the world has its own requirements and does not conform to the will of the countries with hegemonic designs. The peoples of Canada and the world strive to empower themselves as they fight for and defend arrangements that are needed, most importantly anti-war governments that will ensure anti-human notions like Might Makes Right are buried once and for all so a world fit for human beings is brought into being. The people’s well-being must be put at the centre of all considerations, which requires the defence of the rights of all and regimes that provide them with a guarantee.
This article was published in TML Weekly, Volume 50 Number 5 – February 22, 2020