It has been a long and busy day, so I am keeping things brief tonight.
Well before Prime Minister Trudeau dashed off to New York to speak at the United Nations I have been pondering over Canada’s role within and with the UN. The UN seemed a critical negotiation space and battleground during the Cold War and in its wake the utility of the institution seemed to wane. Often times it feels like the UN is the hindrance to the right thing rather than the catalyst.
I have recently been reading Shake Hands with the Devil about the Rwandan genocide. In so many ways it is testament to the power of the UN and peacekeeping when done effectively. Equally it explores how broken the United Nations is as an institution. There is a fundamental conflict in that those who wish to engage in global affairs must deal with the bureaucratic and troubling UN. I have no idealism invested in that institution, but as a small nation going it alone we hardly could have the kind of impact we could if we worked within the UN’s umbrella. Also, it would not be surprising to learn of squandered manpower and wealth on pointless infighting and waste.
Our current Prime Minister has uttered platitudes suggesting Canada is prepared to engage more actively in the United Nations. At this point I am cautiously optimistic. Canada, and countries of our ilk, cannot hide behind our wealth and security and ignore the world. I hope to have more thoughts on this topic once I finish the book and have more time to explore the idea.