Book Review: The Good Country Equation

Jeremy Kinsman

Former ambassador to the European Union and high commissioner to Britain

Distinguished visiting diplomat at Ryerson University since 2010, Jeremy Kinsman left the Canadian foreign service in 2006, after 40 years. He had served as a Canadian ambassador for 15 years, in Moscow (1992-96), in Rome (1996-2000) as high commissioner in London (2000-2002), and as ambassador to the EU in Brussels (2002-2006). Earlier postings were in Brussels and in Algeria before going to New York in 1975, where he became deputy permanent representative to the UN. He was then chairman of policy planning in Ottawa, before becoming minister for political affairs in Washington (1981-85). From 1985-99, he was on loan as assistant deputy minister of communications responsible for the cultural affairs portfolio of the federal government and for broadcasting. Recalled to Foreign Affairs in 1989 as the assistant deputy minister for international security affairs and political director, he notably served as chair and interdepartmental coordinator for Canada’s political engagement in the Gulf War 1990-91. After leaving government service, Jeremy Kinsman transferred his energies to civil society, heading from 2007 an international project for the Community of Democracies, which has recently produced the third edition of A Diplomat’s Handbook on Democracy Development Support (www.diplomatshandbook.org). He leads the project’s workshops which train professional personnel from participating countries and civil society representatives in democracy and human rights support. A frequent speaker and lecturer in Europe and North America, in 2007-2008 he was diplomat in residence at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. Kinsman was then appointed 2009-10 regents’ lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and joined Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies as resident international scholar.

Most Recent Posts

The end of Britain as we know it?

The end of Britain as we know it?

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January 30, 2019

Internal divisions are tearing both the US and the UK apart. But while the US will likely swing back to its moderate ways once Trump is gone, the UK will be forever changed post-Brexit, writes Jeremy Kinsman.

NAFTA lessons: What I’ve learned negotiating with the US

NAFTA lessons: What I’ve learned negotiating with the US

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September 1, 2017

As a Canadian ambassador once said, negotiating with the US means coping with ‘a country of a thousand
players who can deliver a thousand wounds.’ As NAFTA talks continue, veteran diplomat Jeremy Kinsman
reflects on his own experience and cautions against appearing too eager for an
accord.

Life After Brexit: Is anything now possible?

Life After Brexit: Is anything now possible?

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September 9, 2016

UK
Prime Minister Theresa May has asserted that “there will be no second
referendum” following Britain’s vote to leave the EU on June 23. But what if
the European model changes in the meantime? As veteran diplomat Jeremy Kinsman
writes, in a follow up to his open letter to David Cameron, when nothing is
clear, anything may be possible. 

A Brexit post-mortem: 17 takeaways for a fallen David Cameron

A Brexit post-mortem: 17 takeaways for a fallen David Cameron

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July 4, 2016

In this open memo to the outgoing British Prime Minister, former Canadian High Commissioner to the UK, Jeremy Kinsman, describes in detail just how badly the Remain campaign failed.      1. Referenda are the nuclear weapons of democracy. In parliamentary systems they are redundant. Seeking a simplistic binary yes/no answer to complex questions, they […]

A European unravelling

A European unravelling

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June 16, 2016

On the eve of the UK’s referendum
over EU membership, Canada’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom,
Jeremy Kinsman, looks at how the debate got this far and what to expect next
week, and beyond.

Why Europe will survive this mega storm

Why Europe will survive this mega storm

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May 4, 2016

The European Project was meant to ward against the 20th
century nationalistic passions that led to two world wars. But a financial
meltdown, refugee crisis and now unnecessary referendum have blown a perfect
storm into a hurricane. Is the EU just too big to fail? 

Understanding the recent road to crisis in the Middle East

Understanding the recent road to crisis in the Middle East

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April 1, 2016

 

Why have Arab states failed? Within borders drawn by outsiders, most
are institutionally weak, archaic, corrupt and inert, riven by sectarian
hostilities. The epicentre of failure is Syria. Jeremy Kinsman on how the
region fell into chaos, and how it will get itself out.  

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

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June 5, 2014

“We don’t negotiate with terrorists” is a slogan without substance. States need to negotiate with anybody able to conclude a necessary outcome. They generally do, if under the radar or via intermediaries. Moreover, negotiation doesn’t mean validation of a cause or withdrawal of hostility to it. Nor is it just bargaining over the price to […]

Kinsman: Will the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations progress in the coming months?

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May 2, 2014

Nothing positive has happened during the current round of negotiations except that the Iran threat is becoming less of a usable issue. Internal politics preoccupy both Palestinian and Israelis to the detriment of compromise. Israel sees the West Bank-Gaza unity move as a menace. Meanwhile, the destructive Israeli settlements policy remains unmoderated. Kerry’s frustrated but […]

Kinsman: What role will sanctions by Canada, the United States, and the European Union play in the development of the political crisis in Ukraine?

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March 19, 2014

The Ukraine protests were not primarily about geopolitics, the EU vs Russia, or the ethnic divide, which apart from in Crimea is overstated. They have been about Ukrainian self-governance, cronyism, and corruption. Putin is the last person to understand the point of it all. He sees hostility everywhere. The alleged threat from “the West” was […]

Kinsman: What regional and/or international challenges are most pressing for the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, respectively?

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February 21, 2014

It’s becoming a sort of dysfunctional Canadian story. 1) The Government is frustrated and offended that the US Administration is not paying sufficient attention to Canadian interests, notably on the Keystone XL pipeline, but also on other issues. US domestic political interests have priority. 2) The US does pay heed to Mexico, in part because […]

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

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February 6, 2014

Parliamentary oversight of these controversial powers is essential but the prognosis is discouraging. The public interest depends on a) political acceptance of a meaningful parliamentary role sadly absent from this Government’s culture; b) a serious professional committee of Parliament, sworn to the official secrets act, acting in non-partisan interests; and c) deference from the swaggering […]

Kinsman: What was the most significant development in international affairs this year?

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December 19, 2013

Rouhani’s election in Iran and then the tentative and preliminary US/EU/Iran deal on nuclear weapons restraint and sanctions, including the beginnings of an absolutely necessary partial rapprochement between the US and Iran. The revelation of US secret conversations with the Iranians and then the deal itself have alienated US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, chief […]

Kinsman: What impact has Nelson Mandela had on your life?

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December 6, 2013

I offer a memory that serves as a constant reminder that in the long arc of history, justice prevails. In early 2002, the then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who had been an anti-apartheid activist, created in Trafalgar Square a celebration of thanks and homage to Nelson Mandela, in the belief he would likely not […]

Kinsman: Are criticisms of the preliminary nuclear accord with Iran prescient or paranoid?

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November 26, 2013

It depends who the critic is. Netanyahu’s entitled to express dire warning (though he has gone too far in lobbying the U.S. Congress against Obama). Baird’s expression of “deep skepticism” is truly pointless and for Canada, counter-productive. Skeptical analysis is OK if it is joined to tentative celebration of the genuinely historic temporary holding agreement […]

Kinsman: Are global talks on climate change useful?

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November 19, 2013

Alan B. Sielen writes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs “So long as pollution, overfishing, and ocean acidification remain concerns only for scientists, little will change for the good. Diplomats and national security experts, who understand the potential for conflict in an overheated world, should realize that climate change might soon become a matter […]

Kinsman: Should the Canadian government spy on economic targets abroad and share that intelligence with Canadian corporations?

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October 11, 2013

No. There is no legal mandate for electronic interception of messages except for national and international security. Canadian electronic security activities desperately need parliamentary oversight. The argument I have always heard from whiny Canadian companies is that the “other guys are getting contracts by bribery and we’re just being boy scouts.” In fact, in a […]

Kinsman: Should Western governments cut off aid to Egypt?

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August 16, 2013

Democracies should be giving more aid to Egypt, not less. The current economic disaster is one more volatile ingredient in the explosive mixture. But enhanced western aid needs to be absolutely conditional on immediate power-sharing. An inclusive commission should guide a firm transition to elections and pluralist institutions. If the army balks at outside interference, […]

Kinsman: Should Canada boycott the 2014 Sochi Olympics?

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August 8, 2013

We’re not there yet. Anti-gay laws were one of the reasons Obama canned his September political get-together with Putin, but mixing the Olympics and political principle has always been a complicated topic. IOC leaders are first going to try diplomacy on Vladimir Putin, so as to rule out any extension to Sochi Games athletes of […]

Kinsman: Is Bradley Manning a whistle-blower or a traitor?

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August 2, 2013

The U.S. actually comes across in the Wiki-leaked documents mostly as a human rights defender abroad. There is little evidence of damage to U.S. interests from the leaks. So, Manning is sure not a “traitor”; though his act of conscience while in uniform (or Snowden’s while under contract) can hardly be condoned by U.S. authorities. […]

Kinsman: Should President Morsi Resign?

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July 3, 2013

No. Sure, it’s a real mess and one of Morsi’s making. But he’s elected. The first ever. He has not been a competent leader. But the protests can hopefully lead him to accept rational compromise including early elections and the reinstatement of inclusivity in Egypt’s institutions and governance. Reconciling Islamic faith and inclusive democracy is […]

Kinsman: With revelation of widespread surveillance of Canadian communications, both by the NSA and the Communications Security Establishment Canada, has privacy lost out to security concerns?

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June 18, 2013

No question it has. Civil liberties give way whenever there’s a war or threat of war. Cynics say “Privacy’s gone. Get over it.” But hugely troubling questions need answers. Are we at “war?” Have excessively powerful U.S. agencies exaggerated the threats, oversold the remedies, and intimidated elected leaders into accepting the dilution of rights of […]

Kinsman: Who needs Keystone XL more, Canada or the United States?

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May 17, 2013

Obviously, Canada. That it is so obvious Canada needs it more is not the outcome which works for us. But it’s what we demonstrate every day in every way. Trans-Canada and the Harper Government’s assumptions going into this issue were that this was a “no-brainer” (the talking point for Canada’s missions in the U.S., repeated […]

Kinsman: Does the pope still matter in international relations?

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March 4, 2013

It’s remotely possible that if the conclave chose a Pope who could adapt the Church and its services to modern needs, rather than expecting the faithful to endorse the 16th century, it might regain some of the influence Karel Wojtyla generated when he weighed in against the Soviet headlock on Eastern Europe, and toured the […]

Kinsman: Is American energy independence a threat to the Canadian economy?

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January 25, 2013

A “threat”? That’s not the right word. Canadians these days hover between smugness and paranoia. Canada should be part of the continental energy solution. But the reality is that to be valorized in that way and to have our energy assets monetized, we have to be part of the continental carbon abatement solution. For real, […]

Kinsman: Is Islamist extremism a bigger problem now than it was before 9/11?

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January 21, 2013

In fact, Islamic terrorist attacks in 2012 world-wide were down to a handful, and seven of the 10 notable events were sectarian, four in Iraq, one in China, two in India/Pakistan, virtually no incidents in the West. al-Qaida in Maghreb is a serious regional mestastasis but it’s from a very weakened global organ. The terrorism […]

Kinsman: Should Canada’s military support the intervention in Mali?

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January 15, 2013

Yes. The UN Security Council urged members to do so. We are either part of the democratic international community or not. The jihadist force moving South long ago pushed Touareg independentists aside and declared cruel war on what was recently an African democracy. They can only be stopped by military force. France gets it and […]

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

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January 7, 2013

Fast-breaking trivial info item: Canada’s Foreign Service Officers are to receive martial arts training for self-defence on their postings. The bad news here; it gets sillier and sillier. Maybe the good news is that they’re beginning to grasp that Canada’s self-righteous “me first” new brand isn’t playing so well out there. Priorities? To strategize is […]

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

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November 24, 2012

Of course. Purposeful diplomacy means talking with everybody, above or (as is currently happening) below the radar. Before the Arab Spring saw governments democratically elected in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Hamas won an election in 2006 in Gaza (which caused a devastating Israeli blockade to “punish” the voters.) Like them or not, Hamas does represent the people who live there […]

Kinsman: Should the Canadian government put a price on carbon?

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October 14, 2012

As public policy, carbon pricing is desirable. Out here in BC, there has been a successful carbon tax for several years – successful, in that BC has the lowest per capita carbon consumption in the country, as David Runnalls points out in his CIC website commentary. Ultimately, a cap and trade market for carbon will […]

Kinsman: Is there any consequence to Harper’s decision not to address the UN General Assembly?

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September 27, 2012

Not outside of Canada. It’s hard to imagine there is vivid disappointment or that others even noticed. But a Canadian opportunity was missed. There is a vibrant international conversation occurring in the General Debate about aspirations to democracy and its challenges and obligations and Canada should be part of it, especially because Harper does have […]

Kinsman: Is there any consequence to Harper’s decision not to address the UN General Assembly?

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September 27, 2012

Not outside of Canada. It’s hard to imagine there is vivid disappointment or that others even noticed. But a Canadian opportunity was missed. There is a vibrant international conversation occurring in the General Debate about aspirations to democracy and its challenges and obligations and Canada should be part of it, especially because Harper does have […]

Kinsman: Do Morsi’s recent moves suggest his agenda is to take Egypt toward a democratic future, or back to an authoritarian past?

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August 24, 2012

If Morsi weren’t from the Muslim Brotherhood, would the question be asked? Whoever won Egypt’s first-ever fair presidential election would have to challenge the military which has run Egypt since 1952 and tried to keep their monopoly of power via changes they wrote into the Constitution with the approval of the military-friendly and politicized Constitutional […]

Kinsman: Do Morsi’s recent moves suggest his agenda is to take Egypt toward a democratic future, or back to an authoritarian past?

By: /
August 24, 2012

If Morsi weren’t from the Muslim Brotherhood, would the question be asked? Whoever won Egypt’s first-ever fair presidential election would have to challenge the military which has run Egypt since 1952 and tried to keep their monopoly of power via changes they wrote into the Constitution with the approval of the military-friendly and politicized Constitutional […]

Kinsman: Last week, OpenCanada posted its summer reading list. What’s on yours?

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July 25, 2012

OK, I’ll bite, if only possibly to help others make their choices easier. Absolutely agree with you about Why Nations Fail which lends historical sweep and credibility in support of the hopeful arguments of my fellow democracy development activists. But it is also clear that creating the key to successful modernization, replacing extractive institutions by […]

Kinsman: Last week, OpenCanada posted its summer reading list. What’s on yours?

By: /
July 25, 2012

OK, I’ll bite, if only possibly to help others make their choices easier. Absolutely agree with you about Why Nations Fail which lends historical sweep and credibility in support of the hopeful arguments of my fellow democracy development activists. But it is also clear that creating the key to successful modernization, replacing extractive institutions by […]

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

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June 11, 2012

No and yes. Canada will not “cut ties” with the reign of Elizabeth II. The question will be whether the Canadian Parliament renews our status as a “realm” with her acutely British son, or grand-son. For Canadians the existential issue is less one of pro or con hereditary monarchy: it is whether Canada’s “monarch” should […]

Kinsman: Are the Quebec riots a manifestation of the global Occupy movement?

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June 4, 2012

The Quebec riots might be more meaningful if they were a manifestation of a larger and more significant cause. While there’s no doubt a fairly high amount of shared DNA, the two movements are conceptually quite different, Michael Moore’s support notwithstanding. The OWS movement is big picture, aimed at the state of privilege of the […]

Kinsman: Should Canada view cyberspace as a threat or opportunity?

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May 23, 2012

It’s a reality that has transformed human affairs. Global inter-connectedness means that norms become shared as common opportunities, even as universal rights, strongly favouring democracy. The question of “threat” is one more aptly put to the Chinese leadership, since further modernization will insist on more openness in their society because of the imperatives of connectedness. […]

Kinsman: Was the first decade of the ICC a more just one?

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April 16, 2012

Selectively, and gradually, yes, for citizens from defeated states. But it looks too much like victor’s justice. The US hold-out obsession with ensuring its own citizens stay exempt from the Court’s jurisdiction and even reticence to cooperate with the court on evidence-finding has hobbled effectiveness in the inaugural decade, as well as tarnishing the whole […]

Kinsman: Does Canada need an independent organization to promote rights and democracy abroad?

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April 9, 2012

We do. We have managed democratic pluralism reasonably successfully and had a world-valued mentoring capability to support democracy development and human rights defence, remembering democracy can’t be exported or imported but has to emerge from the people in question. Most of what Canadians can contribute is civil society to civil society, and the Rights and […]

Kinsman: Should Canadian corporations be permitted to do business with corrupt and repressive regimes?

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March 12, 2012

“Permission” by the Government only clicks in when there are Security Council or Commonwealth sanctions involved. Authorities are less than vigilant, however; examples – on Iran where a Canadian software company is reported as assisting Iranian security on techniques to choke the Internet; or ill-disguised bribes (“signing bonus”) by Canadian corporations (eg, Petrocan in Libya) […]

Kinsman: Will Obama be successful in convincing Netanyahu not to strike Iran?

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March 5, 2012

For now – that is before the November US elections – yes, grudgingly on Netanyahu’s part. Bibi’s unrivalled hubris and the genuflection of AIPAC and right-wingers like Rick Santorum delude him into thinking his political influence in Washington is greater than the President’s, especially as the derisory Republican race piles on the anti-Iran rhetoric to […]

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

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February 27, 2012

Canada can’t in practical terms do anything of consequence by itself. The battle is for the Syrians to win. But the need for regional and multilateral pressure on the regime is fundamental. Libya’s inaugural R2P humanitarian intervention cannot be a precedent for Syria because China and Russia won’t give it a mandate (believing they were […]

Kinsman: Is North America dead?

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January 30, 2012

The need for neighbourhood has never been greater. The three North American countries do too little with the neighbourhood in mind. It’s all about individual national benefit and perceived threat, not about common purpose. Canada has played the pipeline issue badly, deaf to the full range of issues in the US because the government doesn’t […]

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

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January 9, 2012

Most opportunities flow from events and as 2011 showed, “experts” are too embedded in the status quo to predict them accurately. Canadian policy needs grounding in consistency of democratic values in responding to the sorts of challenges which democrats and human rights defenders are mounting across the world, and the expected foreign policy review is […]

Kinsman: What was Canada’s best international moment of 2011?

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December 26, 2011

The “Own the Podium” Vancouver Winter Olympics didn’t make much of a lasting impact. Hopefully, and more seriously, the Arab Spring is doing so. New Foreign Minister Baird’s ditching of support for Mubarak offered up by his utterly inadequate predecessor Cannon and the way Canada then stepped up energetically and professionally to the unprecedented UN […]

Kinsman: With the delay in Keystone XL, will attention now shift to the Northern Gateway?

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November 21, 2011

I doubt, speaking from British Columbia, that Northern Gateway has a chance of approval. No magic bullet there. Back to Plan ‘A’. Delay of Keystone XL past the 2012 election – that’s the reality – enables its backers to get an upgraded and thoughtful communications act together, and engage more effective advocates.  Approval of the project was never a […]

Kinsman: How can the G20 help save the euro zone?

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November 7, 2011

The notion the G20 might extend national credits to help cover excessive Euro-debt got nowhere. The G8 became ineffective because China, India, and Brazil weren’t in it. The G20 looks ineffective because China, India and Brazil are in it, very defensively.  The IMF can extend some supervised credit. But this multi-layered crisis is Europe’s to […]

Kinsman: Could the spread of information via digital media reduce mass atrocities?

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October 31, 2011

Of course. Democracy and human rights activists are accused of being “cyber-utopians” but it seems clear that inter-connectivity and handheld witnessing technologies are making it tough for dictators to do whatever they want. Hafez al-Assad could get away with killing at least 10,000 Sunni citizens of Syria in 1982 in the rebellious town of Hama because […]

Kinsman: Are diplomats needed in the digital age?

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October 17, 2011

Of course – as are butchers, priests, surgeons, and artists. The enduring need to be confidential adviser, interpreter, and strategist is more critical than ever in a competitive, deconstructed and still dangerous world, and to provide meaning over ubiquitous white noise of twittered sound-bites signifying nothing.  But diplomacy is transforming to suit an open and […]

Kinsman: Is Jean Monnet’s dream for Europe ending in nightmare?

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October 3, 2011

Monnet dreamed of ending Europe’s murderous wars and it came true. It was a political project, but the technique was to proceed cautiously by binding European states through economic inter-dependence without challenging political sovereignty. It worked wonderfully for fifty years. Europeans were never before as free, peaceful, prosperous, healthy, or green. Their enviable social model became unaffordable because of declining birth […]

Kinsman: Is the Ethical Oil campaign helping or hurting Canada’s international reputation?

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September 26, 2011

Hurting, for sure. The campaign is offensive. And it’s stupid. The oil sands industry will do better by advertising its determination to mitigate carbon impacts. But it’s not the only contribution to our growing reputation for being responsibility-deniers. Beyond climate change, there is the disgusting government support for exports to poor countries of asbestos products outlawed in Canada. […]

Kinsman: Is a UN resolution on Palestinian statehood a step forward or backward for the Israel-Palestine conflict?

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September 18, 2011

Philip Stephens writes in the Financial Times that Palestinian statehood “should be the pro-Israel position” because real peace in this 63-year-old conflict demands a Palestinian state. The international community’s promise of a two-state solution is stymied by the Netanyahu-Lieberman coalition’s refusal of sincere negotiations with the Palestinians and aggressive expansion of illegal settlements in what would be […]

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

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September 11, 2011

As a democracy activist, I hope so. But defence of vital interests is always a more powerful policy driver than supporting others’ idealistic aspirations. The fact is that the zeitgeist of the Arab Spring (a name Arab activists dislike as trivializing their revolution) is going global. One-man and junta dictatorships will go down, in the […]

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

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September 5, 2011

Conservative minority governments entered with sparse world experience or interest beyond using foreign opportunities to pitch to Canadian ethnic voters. Afghanistan and beefing up the military absorbed the policy oxygen. Canadian comparative advantage in multilateral diplomacy and soft power and influence built over time by Progressive Conservatives as well as Liberals was repudiated. Very mediocre […]

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

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September 5, 2011

Conservative minority governments entered with sparse world experience or interest beyond using foreign opportunities to pitch to Canadian ethnic voters. Afghanistan and beefing up the military absorbed the policy oxygen. Canadian comparative advantage in multilateral diplomacy and soft power and influence built over time by Progressive Conservatives as well as Liberals was repudiated. Very mediocre […]

Kinsman: What would be the regional fallout from the end of Assad’s regime?

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August 28, 2011

The regime will inevitably fall to the democratic forces sweeping young people in the region. Hopefully, Syria will bind together as a democratic state and retain its pluralist and secular personality. A democracy in Syria would be great news for Lebanon and bad news for Iran. Western democracies cannot continue to fear change to the […]

Kinsman: What would be the regional fallout from the end of Assad’s regime?

By: /
August 28, 2011

The regime will inevitably fall to the democratic forces sweeping young people in the region. Hopefully, Syria will bind together as a democratic state and retain its pluralist and secular personality. A democracy in Syria would be great news for Lebanon and bad news for Iran. Western democracies cannot continue to fear change to the […]

Kinsman: What societal problems have the London riots exposed?

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August 14, 2011

Theories and agendas abound. A crisis over values is exposed at long last. This ain’t Tahrir Square about rights, or Athens about welfare cuts, or, thank God, Watts about race. It’s about anti-authority organized gangs igniting mindless mobs grabbing what they can while they can because the din of materialistic pleasure and self-gratification drowns out […]

Kinsman: 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

He wrote he would “kill to avoid the islamicization of Europe.” His act was that of an insane person, but we would be deluded not to conflate his atrocity with the xenophobia of extremist political parties and right-wing hate groups in Europe that radiate anti-immigrant and anti-government messages in increasingly inflammatory language. Their words may […]

Kinsman: What’s the ultimate objective of Harper’s softer stance on China?

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July 25, 2011

It’s not about “softer” but about being rational. John Baird just said it: Canadian foreign policy must represent our interests AND our values; we do both simultaneously. Recognizing China as a “strategic partner” is facing economic reality. That China is pivotal to key outcomes in world affairs merits more engagement, not less. But diplomacy depends […]

Kinsman: Does last week’s creation of a Southern Sudanese state point to succession as the solution to other African conflicts?

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July 18, 2011

Africans agreed not to unravel arbitrary colonial borders which ignored tribal and other realities, but failed to nurture the pluralistic societies which they contain. Elections are one key step toward democracy. But post-election populist tribal majorities often lord it over minorities and losers. Conflict erupts. Count about 20 recent or active internal conflicts in Africa, […]

Kinsman: Should Canada strengthen its military presence in the Arctic?

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July 11, 2011

Presence, yes, but why “military?” Where’s the threat? Fantasies like Peter MacKay’s Russian bomber runs, or Celluci’s Northwest Passage inbound terrorists? Give us a break. Canada deserves an Arctic settlement presence, having only 2% of circumpolar population within the Circle of 2 million and 4% of Arctic regional settlement of 4 million. Russia and Norway […]

Kinsman: Can Lagarde and the IMF save the Euro?

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July 4, 2011

Though the IMF also provides short term financing to Greece, over 100 billion Euros so far, and bail-out support for Portugal and Spain, “Saving the Euro” is a Eurozone job, especially up to France and Germany who hold most Greek debt. Greece needs more time to repay loans and help to service debt since market […]

Kinsman: How has Canada’s experience in Afghanistan changed Canadian foreign policy?

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June 27, 2011

Upside in capacity but downside in international behaviour. Our Afghan experience built a well-kitted and combat-savvy military and civilian hands-on know-how. They can support humanitarian interventions in what will remain a violent world. Downside? The Afghan operation shifted foreign policy calculations to the PMO/PCO, where there is zero interest in international opportunities without domestic political […]

Kinsman: What issue should John Baird prioritize?

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June 21, 2011

Support the “Arab awakening.” The Globe and Mail describes Stephen Harper as a “skeptic” about the Arab Spring, because of its “risks.” Syrian protestors, like young Egyptians, are the ones at risk, apart from dictators. Protestors need our support and if they succeed, short-term financial help to bridge the costs of change. At the G-8, […]