Daryl Copeland / @GuerrillaDiplo

Former diplomat; research fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Former diplomat Daryl Copeland is a research fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, a policy fellow at the University of Montreal’s Centre for International Studies (CERIUM), and visiting professor at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance (UK). 

Most Recent Posts

Copeland: Should a state ever consider negotiating with terrorist organizations? And if so, under what circumstances?

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June 6, 2014

Negotiation is a hallmark of diplomacy and in a globalizing world in which development has become the basis for security, diplomacy holds more promise than defence as an international policy instrument. Put another way, recourse to persuasion, influence and compromise should as a point of principle almost always be preferred to the use of coercion, […]

Copeland: Are the Liberal party’s calls for parliamentary oversight of Canada’s intelligence services warranted?

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February 6, 2014

Canada’s intelligence services, although apparently not as out-of-control as their much larger U.S. and U.K. counterparts, would almost certainly benefit from greater parliamentary oversight and accountability. According to ministerial briefing documents prepared for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and obtained by Embassy magazine under the Access to Information Act, serious gaps exist in the review […]

Copeland: What can the West hope to achieve with a military strike on Syria?

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August 28, 2013

Little or nothing will be gained from Western military intervention in Syria at this juncture, whereas the downside risks associated with possible collateral damage or widening the scope of the conflict are very real. A strike using precision munitions might bolster Obama’s – or Cameron’s, or Hollande’s – credibility on the home front, but it […]

Copeland: Should Western governments cut off aid to Egypt?

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August 16, 2013

No, although the nature of the assistance and delivery mechanisms could be reviewed. While the regime violence must be unconditionally condemned and the prospect of an aid cut off could be tabled, this seems to me a critical time for the international community to engage, rather than isolate or ostracize Egypt. To help effect a […]

Copeland: Is the folding of CIDA into DFAIT the end or a fresh start for Canadian international development?

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March 28, 2013

With a few exceptions, the role and significance of official development assistance has been declining in recent years, while the contributions of overseas remittances and private philanthropy have been increasing. That said, integrating long-term, human-centred and sustainable development objectives more centrally into the diplomatic agenda could both improve policy coherence and pay important international security […]

Copeland: Which state nuclear program poses the greatest threat to global security today?

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February 19, 2013

In the post-Cold War world, it is development – long term, equitable, human-centred and sustainable – rather than defense which represents the foundation of durable security. Armed force is both too sharp and too dull an instrument to address the fundamental problems associated with globalization. Pandemic disease can’t be garrisoned against, hunger bombed away, or […]

Copeland: Should the U.S. president have the right to kill American citizens when conducting counterterrorism operations?

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February 8, 2013

The increasing incidence of selective assassination, often using robotic devices such as drones and involving extensive collateral damage, is the latest worrisome development in the ill-conceived Global War on Terror. If the principle of rule of law means anything, then neither American citizens, nor anyone else should be subject to even the potential use of […]

Copeland: What should Canada’s top foreign policy priority be in 2013?

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January 7, 2013

I believe that Canada’s top international policy priority for 2013 should be to move beyond the current preoccupation with trade and investment issues by restoring some coherence, shape and direction to the political side of Canada’s place in the world. For over a decade Canada’s international engagement has been characterized by an absence of leadership, […]

Copeland: Should U.S. diplomats meet with Hamas leaders when conducting ‘shuttle diplomacy’ in the Middle East?

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November 23, 2012

Diplomacy privileges talking over fighting. War is its antithesis, testament to its failure. Yet diplomacy is widely misunderstood, not only by the public and the press, but by governments and, not least, by many serving diplomats. What is it? As a non-violent approach to the management of international relations, diplomacy is characterized by dialogue, negotiation […]

Copeland: How should Canada deal with the threat posed by cyberattacks from abroad?

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October 19, 2012

Among the ever growing number of transnational  challenges which constitute the “globalization threat set,” cyber-security is among the most complex and vexing. Three difficulties in particular stand out. For starters, there is somewhat of a disconnect between the analysts in government who write security policy, and those with the highly specialized expertise required to remedially […]

Copeland: What are the chances of Canada and ISAF leaving behind a functional Afghan defence force?

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September 24, 2012

Most indications appear negative. The disturbing surge in “blue on green” insider attacks does not bode well, and the resulting ISAF decision to suspend joint operations and limit shared military space suggests that the 2014 transfer plan is in serious trouble. The echoes of the failed “Vietnamization” project are becoming more resonant. The fundamental strategic […]

Copeland: Should Canada cut ties with the monarchy and become a republic?

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June 11, 2012

My preference would be to remain a constitutional monarchy. But the embarrassingly retro track that the government has embarked upon represents another thing entirely. With the establishment of the bizarre “Sovereign’s Wall” front and centre in the DFAIT foyer – one British diplomatic colleague remarked to me that this had evoked in him an “out […]

Copeland: What will be the impact of the $1.1 billion cut to National Defence?

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April 2, 2012

Canadian defense spending has been ramped up substantially in recent years, and the reductions announced in the recent budget must be evaluated in that context. Moreover, DND is a program-rich department, and as a result these cuts can be absorbed relatively easily, for example by trimming or extending procurement projects such as the (dubiously chosen) […]

Copeland: How should Canada respond to the rising violence in Syria?

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February 27, 2012

This is largely a hypothetical question, as Canada`s ability to influence the course of events in Syria is extremely limited. That said, a few things seem clear. Nasty dictators are bad, but state failure and a descent into anarchy would be even worse, especially in such a volatile region as the Middle East. Internal Syrian […]

Copeland: What is Canada’s biggest international opportunity in 2012?

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January 9, 2012

With the end of a decade of American global dominance, Canada’s over-arching international policy objective should be to accelerate the diversification of our dependence on the USA. This will mean reaching out to alternative players in an increasingly heteropolar world. In that respect, tremendous opportunities exist to deepen and strengthen our relationships with Asia, Europe […]

Copeland: What is the best international affairs book of 2011?

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December 7, 2011

It was not a banner year for Canadian books of this sort, but I very much liked US State Department veteran Peter Van Buren’s We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.  Insightful, disturbing, and at times darkly funny, I was constantly reminded of Robert Fisks’s […]

Copeland: Are diplomats needed in the digital age?

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October 17, 2011

Diplomacy is an approach to the management of international relations founded upon the use of non-violent political communications such as dialogue, negotiation and compromise for purposes of conflict resolution and problem-solving. In my experience, many serving diplomats are not entirely sure of that definition, or of how their work contributes to the achievement of international peace, security […]

Copeland: If 9/11 defined the last decade, will the Arab Spring define the next?

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September 11, 2011

I have my doubts. 9/11 changed everything, and the consequences haunt us still. The incident provided the neocons with the pretext  they needed to seize the day. On their watch, civil and constitutional rights were rolled back, the national security and surveillance state constructed, and the middle class hollowed out. As the USA lurched from […]

Copeland: Is Conservative foreign policy different from Liberal foreign policy?”

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September 5, 2011

The the nature and orientation of the Conservative government’s foreign policy differ significantly from that of previous Liberal and Progressive Conservative  governments. At the highest level of analysis, the overall international policy mix has shifted. The military, and a general preference for the use of armed force has been placed front and centre, at the expense […]

Copeland: Is Conservative foreign policy different from Liberal foreign policy?”

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September 5, 2011

The the nature and orientation of the Conservative government’s foreign policy differ significantly from that of previous Liberal and Progressive Conservative  governments. At the highest level of analysis, the overall international policy mix has shifted. The military, and a general preference for the use of armed force has been placed front and centre, at the expense […]

Copeland: What societal problems have the London riots exposed?

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August 14, 2011

One of the defining characteristics of globalization is its tendency to produce winners and losers by polarizing, economically, socially and politically, within and between nations. The appearence of severe inequalities – in incomes, opportunities, and future prospects – after decades of generally narrowingun gaps, has been one of the most worrisome consequences. The triumph of […]

Copeland: Should we view the Oslo attack as an arbitrary act or as a reflection of wider political and religious extremism?

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August 1, 2011

The attacks in Oslo were certainly not arbitrary. But while I would in no way seek to belittle or minimize the individual consequences of this tragedy, I believe that actions of this type must be very carefully considered and assessed. Although the motives and techniques associated with terrorism have evolved over time,  political extremism and […]