Baird to the bone

Today I need to write about a man who has been on my mind a lot lately. He is a complicated man full of unending paradoxes and rhetorical bluster. And no, it’s not Lil’ Wayne. It’s this guy:

Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, May 14, 2012.

Sean Kilpatrick, The Canadian Press

I have written before about the Harper government’s clumsy way of engaging with the rest of the world, but I want to revisit this topic as Baird has recently spoken at the UN and has been busy unleashing a litany of ominous statements (i.e., threats) about everything from Egypt to zombie invasions.

Not to be outdone, PM Harper visited New York last week ostensibly to advocate for women’s rights and to bolster (…create?) Canada’s business-friendly image, but his real intention was to make obnoxious and unilateral declarations about the Keystone Pipeline. The highlight was when he proclaimed that he “won’t take no for an answer” on the issue. Fair enough, but what’s the plan, pal? Is it to annoy the US Government so much that it acquiesces just to get some peace and quiet? Or will the mighty Canada be going to war with the meek and dovish US? Because despite recent events, they could still totally kick our asses–that should go without saying. But such is the trademark of this government’s foreign policy: making hawkish, impossible to substantiate proclamations. Oh yeah, that and punching above its weight while simultaneously withdrawing from international bodies and peacekeeping efforts. But I digress–let’s let Baird speak:

On Canada vs the US’ friendship with Israel:

“I think the U.S. is a good friend, too,” Baird said. “I like to think we are better.” Because it’s a contest and we win forever and ever wheeee!!!! BFFs ❤

On the ongoing detention of two Canadians in Egypt:

“I stated in no uncertain terms that this was a significant problem in our bilateral relations,” Baird said. To which Egypt’s interim government replied, “oh shit, really? We’ll release them right away then!”

On the recent improvement in US-Iran relations:

“Kind words, a smile and a charm offensive are not a substitute for real action.” Well that explains Baird’s public speaking style, as well as this picture:

John Baird a réitéré que les Nations unies... (Photo: PC)

Presse Canadienne

In response to the Pope’s appeal to G20 leaders to work together to find a nonmilitary solution to the Syrian conflict:

“I have high regard for His Holiness and appreciate his thoughts.” Translation: Who let this hippie past security? Bomb the shit out of Assad, Obama–Canada offers you moral support! But just so you know, we’re still better friends with Israel than you–Netanyahu snapchats me on the regular. HAHA!

But sometimes, just to complicate my frustration with his anti-diplomacy, Baird says nice things that I like.

On Russia’s anti-gay legislation:

“This mean-spirited and hateful law will affect all Russians 365 days of the year, every year. It is an incitement to intolerance, which breeds hate. And intolerance and hate breed violence.” This comment makes me want to hug the dude, despite his distinctively un-cuddly (not to mention un-photogenic) demeanor.

On the looming specter of a zombie apocalypse:

“Canada will never become a safe haven for zombies.” Well, he’s back in hawk mode, but perhaps this is the one area in which a foreign affairs minister should always be hawkish…to be honest, I’m pale enough without having to deal with a complete loss of blood flow.

Courtesy of AMC’s the Walking Dead

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