Friday, January 18, 2008

Not a leader

Lots of fallout from Dion's Pakistan gaffe.

Lorne Gunter may have said it best - A shocking suggestion from Dion:

...I know his staff now insist Dion meant diplomatic interventions, but that is not what he said. He said plainly that if the Pakistan government could or would not take action forcefully to track terrorists who slip into Afghanistan, "We could consider that option with the NATO forces in order to help Pakistan help us pacify Afghanistan."

Unless NATO's small diplomatic corps has recently taken to calling itself "NATO forces," Dion clearly meant a military invasion.

He is either completely reversing his earlier position on our mission, or is incapable of leading a national government.

The fundamental issue here is the crucial need for clarity of communication as a world leader. Unfortunately for Stephane Dion, this is his Achilles' heel.

I'll take a bully over a bumbler any day.


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe his english is so bad he thinks Forces means Diplomats.

Heaven forbid we ever let him negotiate anything for this country.

Alberta Girl said...

I find it interesting how the liberal bloggers and left-wing media are falling all over themselves "explaining" what Dion "meant".

Soooooo Stephen Harper makes a statement and the media twists it around to be negative and Dion makes a statement and the left wing media (CBC and their ilk) twists it around to make it positive?

Interesting twists and turns, I think.

Ruth said...

Is the PM a bully, or is this a label that the reporters have attached to him because he doesn't talk to them everyday.

Gabby in QC said...

From the Gunter column:
“I know his staff now insist Dion meant diplomatic interventions, but that is not what he said. He said plainly that if the Pakistan government could or would not take action forcefully to track terrorists who slip into Afghanistan, "We could consider that option with the NATO forces in order to help Pakistan help us pacify Afghanistan."

Here’s how the Canadian Press reported it on Wed. Jan. 16:
http://tinyurl.com/37e4my
“Une intervention directe de l'OTAN pourrait être nécessaire au Pakistan pour parvenir à pacifier l'Afghanistan, a laissé entendre mercredi le chef libéral Stéphane Dion. ...
Mais la solution ne sera pas militaire, a ajouté aussitôt le député Denis Coderre, présent aux côtés de son chef.”

The way Dion’s statement has been presented, one would get the idea that he had called for direct military intervention, and having realized his mistake, Dion LATER, on a different occasion, sent out Denis Coderre to explain/correct/spin Dion’s statement.

In fact, Coderre was present during Dion’s press conference when Dion made the statement, and Coderre quickly said “Mais la solution ne sera pas militaire.” “But the solution will not be a military one.”

What this illustrates is what can happen when statements are “interpreted” to make a partisan point. The only difference in this case is that Dion is now the recipient of that misinterpretation.

Before anyone gets any ideas that I have become a Liberal apologist, let me say I support ACCURACY in reporting statements made by politicians. The MSM usually, in my opinion, misrepresents what Conservatives say, sometimes aided by Conservatives’ own lack of clarity.

But in this case, “interpreting” Dion’s words could have very serious consequences, what with the volatility of the Pakistani situation.

IF IT IS WRONG TO MISINTERPRET CONSERVATIVES’ WORDS, IT IS JUST AS WRONG TO DO SO TO THE LIBERALS' WORDS.

What happened to Robert Gates' statement regarding the inability of NATO forces to deal properly with an insurgency is another perfect example of wilful partisan misinterpretation. Among those opposed to the Afghanistan mission, that statement was interpreted to mean that Gates said the Canadian forces were not performing well.
In actual fact, what Gates meant was that the NATO forces were trained for CONVENTIONAL warfare, and that the Afghanistan insurgency is not a CONVENTIONAL enemy.

When statements involve precarious international relations, extreme care should be taken by all in not inflaming already dangerous situations.
Let's try to score partisan points in less dangerous areas.

liberal supporter said...

Still, we have MacKay claiming Dion wants to invade Pakistan.


There's no question in my view that Dion suggested NATO forces could help Pakistan control the border. That is not invasion. It is an offer of assistance to Pakistan.

However it is moot, since NATO seems to be falling apart.

If NATO continues to renege on troop rotation, we will have to stay beyond February 2009, since we obviously can't just abandon Afghanistan.

If that happens we should instead withdraw from NATO.

However, I think a real leader, such as Dion, would find ways to get our NATO allies onside, something Canada's New Government seems incapable of doing.

Dion is a statesman. Harper is a henchman. Our allies know this, hence the lack of cooperation.

Gabby in QC said...

"Dion is a statesman. Harper is a henchman. Our allies know this, hence the lack of cooperation."

That is exactly the kind of silly statement designed to turn up the heat. So according to you, the PM of our country is a “henchman”, i.e.: 
1. A loyal and trusted follower or subordinate.
2. A person who supports a political figure chiefly out of selfish interests.
3. A member of a criminal gang.

What an intelligent comment!

Unfortunately, I must leave now, so unable to pursue the discussion, if any.

LoB said...

"When statements involve precarious international relations, extreme care should be taken by all in not inflaming already dangerous situations."

I wholeheartedly agree Gabby... Dion should just keep his mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

"However, I think a real leader, such as Dion, would find ways to get our NATO allies onside, something Canada's New Government seems incapable of doing."

You should join CBC's Air Farce or This hour has 22 Minutes Liberal Supporter...Nah! You're actually funnier than those liberal joker wannabes

Grind a Grit

Raphael Alexander said...

I suggested on my blog that there is a double standard in Liberal outrage between the comments made by Mr.MacKay regarding the alleged supply of weapons from Iran to the Taliban, and to the comments from Mr.Dion regarding the border of Pakistan. Both comments have been considered unhelpful since they were not channeled through a diplomatic process. I didn't really get much agreement on the issue since some commenters were saying that Mr.Dion is, in fact, correct about Pakistan requiring help. But that's not what is at issue here. What is important is that Mr.Dion made an off-hand remark about NATO entering Pakistan, and this from a leader who doesn't even want to stay in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

and this from a leader who doesn't even want to stay in Afghanistan.

He did'nt say to leave Afghanistan per say, just retreat back south. I guess when the Taliban regains the front and we have been cornered at the southern border then it would be mission accomplished Liberal style and our troops can valiantly come home to shovel Toronto snow because by then Steph would have fix global warming. Or is it climate change?

Grind a Grit

liberal supporter said...

He did'nt say to leave Afghanistan per say, just retreat back south.
He doesn't say "retreat" either. He says "rotate" with the other countries that are currently freeloading. Or do you figure other NATO countries' armies are not good enough to stand against the Taliban?


What is important is that Mr.Dion made an off-hand remark about NATO entering Pakistan, and this from a leader who doesn't even want to stay in Afghanistan.

Yes that is important. Of course it was phrased to imply entering with their consent, so it is only MacKay that says Dion wants an "invasion".

It is most important that Afghanistan see that we are a democracy. It is important that they see Dion giving a different view, and then see weeks from now he is still alive, not imprisoned, and possibly running for election.

We're bringing them democracy. We're showing it too.

Anonymous said...

"Or do you figure other NATO countries' armies are not good enough to stand against the Taliban?"
That's basically what Robert Gates was saying wasn't it?

maryT said...

This is a perfect example of liberals saying, Are you going to believe your eyes and ears, or what we liberals and the media tell you to believe.
I believe my eyes and ears. Dion goofed big time and the more his cronies support and distort what he said/meant/thought, the longer it will stay out there.
Wait for the campaign ads, using Dions own words against him.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Let's try to score partisan points in less dangerous areas.

You make some great points, Gabby.

I think the lesson is that a politician figure with any kind of influence in international affairs needs to be extremely careful when making comments about sensitive situations.

Nothing should be stated "off the cuff".

I think if Harper appears a bit robotic, and reluctant to talk candidly to the press, he has good reason, as these two examples underscore.

jad said...

“Une intervention directe de l'OTAN pourrait être nécessaire au Pakistan "

Sorry, Gabby , but that doesn't sound like "diplomatiqe" to me.

It seems that having stuck his foot firmly in his mouth, even with his Chief Handler sitting beside him, Dion is now compounding the error by giving statements ad nauseam about what he actually meant to say.

As was pointed out yesterday on MDL, the Liberals are beginning to get very worried about what this guy might actually say in an election campaign.

Anonymous said...

"the Liberals are beginning to get very worried about what this guy might actually say in an election campaign."

You mean like; Do you think it's easy putting together an election platform?...With realistic costs attached?"

LS, I know Dion did'nt say "retreat" but what if nobody else wants to "rotate"?...Retreat? Abandon?

liberal supporter said...

LS, I know Dion did'nt say "retreat" but what if nobody else wants to "rotate"?...Retreat? Abandon?

We would have to stay, obviously. And if that happened, I think we might as well withdraw from NATO so we don't get drawn into their activities and then left to do all of it.

cherenkov said...

It was amusing watching Dion squirm during Mansbridge 1 on 1 last night.

Dion: I meant that we need to work diplomatically with Pakistan

Peter: Haven't we been trying to do that for years?

Dion: I don't have any solutions.

Definitely not ready for Prime Time.

Gabby in QC said...

"“Une intervention directe de l'OTAN pourrait être nécessaire au Pakistan "
Sorry, Gabby , but that doesn't sound like "diplomatiqe" to me."

Agreed.
However, Coderre who, according to the Canadian Press report I linked to, was standing right beside Dion, immediately said: "Mais la solution ne sera pas militaire, a ajouté aussitôt le député Denis Coderre, présent aux côtés de son chef.”
I.e.: "But the solution will not be a military one, quickly added MP Denis Coderre, who was there beside his leader."

Please understand: I'm not trying to defend Dion so much as trying to defend ACCURACY in reporting what politicians have supposedly said.
I'm filled with rage practically every time I hear or read a report of what was supposedly said by the PM or a Minister, because I have personally either heard the person in question on CPAC or elsewhere, and I know that their words have been misinterpreted.

But I get just as angry when I spot inaccuracy attributed to other people whose views I don't necessarily support.

Earlier this week, the US Defence Secretary's words were magnified into an insult of our Canadian troops, which resulted in a steady stream of anti-American venom on local talk-shows.

Similarly, the impression was created that Dion had to backtrack, sending out Coderre AFTER the fact to spin a different statement, just as Gates was reportedly forced to do in his comment re: NATO forces.

Instead, in reading the CP report by a reporter who was present at the press conference, we learn that Coderre was right there when Dion made the statement, and he immediately said "But the solution will not be a military one ..."

What is very worrisome to me is that in both instances a serious international incident could have resulted/may still result because of the escalating rhetoric.

In these two instances, partisan points are not being gained. But I'll tell you who's laughing in their beards ... the terrorists/Taliban/enemy ... call them what you will ... when they see how easily dissension can be sown among us.

cantuc said...

Pakistan shouldn't need much help with the numbers they have . I think it'smore a lack of will .
Approximately 620,000 personnel are on active duty in the military which is the world's 7th largest armed force as of 2007. Combined with the 302,000 strong Paramilitary forces and the Coast Guard, the Military of Pakistan has a total size of nearly 1,000,000 personnel.

Anonymous said...

God help us all if these idiots ever form a government.

Thinking of that moron, Dion as Prime Minister is pretty freightening, but just envision that Hezbullah loving scumbag, Denis Coderre as Minister of Defence.

If it ever happens, I will apply to the USA for refugee status.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

but just envision that Hezbullah loving scumbag, Denis Coderre as Minister of Defence.


A truly frightening thought.

Anonymous said...

be kind to liberal supporter, they'r an endangered species.

Do you blame them?

Gabby in QC said...

"I think the lesson is that a politician figure with any kind of influence in international affairs needs to be extremely careful when making comments about sensitive situations.
Nothing should be stated "off the cuff"."

You're right on the money, Joanne. I have noticed that some politicians think nothing of commenting on something a reporter says was said by X, Y or Z.

Instead of replying, well, I'll wait until I can read what X, Y or Z actually said before commenting, they go on to communicate via the media.

Even reporter David Akin admits that reports (in this specific case a headline) can be misleading: http://politicsblog.ctv.ca/blog/_archives/2008/1/16/3469043.html
“I just returned from Detroit where I was covering the North American International Auto Show to discover that I’m the featured journalist this week in a recurring feature in The Hill Times known as “In the Hotroom”. The Hill Times, a weekly paper here which focuses on the business, gossip, and ins-and-outs of life in Parliamentary Precinct, profiles Hill journalists from time to time and, before Christmas, their reporter Harris Macleod and I had a conversation which is reproduced pretty faithfully in the paper.
***The headline over the piece, though, reads:
“Why Akin disputes Conservatives are a non-media friendly governnment”
I’m not so sure that the headline actually matches what Harris reported I said in the piece.*** So, for the record, here’s the key q-and-a:”

So … EVERYBODY apparently needs refresher courses in reading and auditory comprehension!