Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Clarifications on a Wednesday morning....

With a few moments to spare (2 hours until work, baby & wife swimming at Y), I'd like to revisit those poor, pathetic thoughts I threw out in my last post. In no particular order, by the way.

Russia: Many commentators in the West seem to agree in general that Russia's invasion and subsequent annexation of South Ossetia heralds the former Soviet empire's return to the world stage. Coupled with this idea is the assertion that the United States somehow failed to make good on it's self-assigned role as protector of its allies.

Russia's actions against Georgia, are not representative of its abilities on the global level. This is first and foremost an unfortunately typical conflict between a core post-communist state, and a former satellite post-communist state, played out within a tiny, isolated geographical area. An American style 'rebuilding', a la Iraq, this is not. If comparisons help, and they often work for me, think of this as the US invading Grenada, as opposed to Afghanistan or Iraq.

As for the reaction of the United States, it's easy to call it a tactical and political failure. But then this assumes that the United States is the only guarantor of state-sovereignty, and completely ignores the role of the European super-powers of Britain, France and Germany. Certainly one of the main criticisms of American interventions has been their lack of unilateralism, and yet when push came to shove, everyone, looked to the United States to check Russia's power. So far only France has take major steps toward addressing the threat of a militaristic, aggressive Russia, which says a lot more about the ability of the EU and it's member states than it does about America.

Sarah Palin: Being of the conservative flock, I'm extremely partial to Sarah Palin. Only two weeks after she popped up on the scene, she's taken a lot of abuse and, so far, stood steady. If she makes it through this election without embarrassing herself (those veep debates will have a lot to do with that), I could see her rising far above any other female politician has, including Senator Clinton.

That said, I'm less convinced that she was a poor veep choice than I previously thought she was. She's taken a lot shit, more shit than any male politician would take, and is still standing. That's a good sign. I thought that once the torrents of abuse came in from Obama's supporters - which is often alarmingly misogynistic, sexist, and out right cruel (see the rumours/comments about her son, Trig) - she'd wither and withdraw from the race. Now I don't really see that happening, especially since the abuse is drawing a lot of sympathy from soft-conservatives and liberals who otherwise would have completely ignored her.

Stephane Dion (and Lizzie May): As I said before, I could see Dion winning a minority government this election. I don't feel the CPC has done enough out East to win over disaffected members of the LPC, and I certainly don't feel they've made enough progress in urban centres in British Columbia. But now things may not been as they were last week when I was almost certain Dion would win. First off, he's looking like an idiot for supporting Lizzie May's quest to be included in the leadership debates - the same Lizzie May, the leader of the GPC, who has made her partiality toward Dion public, and even made a non-compete agreement with him in one riding.

I've some empathy for May's demand to be included in the debates, but there are more hurdles the GPC needs to jump through before they deserve to be invited. They need to win - win in a contested election - a single riding. I don't care if they have 'official party status', or that a former Liberal MP conveniently defected to their cause, to be at a leadership debate you should have at least one riding that was won in an election.

UPDATE: Lizzie May and the GPC will be represented at the televised debates after the network commission in charge of such things reversed its earlier decision. I'm happy they're there, but I am skeptical, or maybe cynical, about the GPC's ability to contribute anything to the national conversation at this point. This is not to say that the GPC doesn't play an important role in Canadian politics, but that without any sort of the federal experience to draw upon, it will be difficult for them to articulate their policies more than they already have in the few media soundbites they've already given us over the past two years. Nevertheless, I'm of the 'more democracy = better democracy' mindset, so more discussion is for me always a positive thing.

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