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"Canada’s Fashion Diplomacy Malfunction: When Trudeau Travels Abroad"

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Army.ca Fixture
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Exceedingly biting piece at CGAI by Matthew Fisher--excerpts, do read it all:

The Trudeau family’s ill-starred holiday in India has triggered scorn and opprobrium in Delhi and derision from thoughtful international opinion leaders such as the Carnegie Institute, the Washington Post and the BBC.

Canadians seduced by the feel-good publicity created during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous trips abroad – where his strong jaw, easy charm and goofy socks made him the unTrump – must be confused by how those old tricks utterly failed him in India. They may wonder whether the sartorial excesses and political blunders committed in India and the tsunami of negative publicity that they have generated are an indication that the remarkable global honeymoon the prime minister has enjoyed for more than two years may have suddenly come to a crashing end.

After the Indian debacle and gaffe-prone trips late last year to China and Vietnam, where Trudeau managed to offend Beijing, Tokyo and Canberra, his halo-like glow may be diminished at the G7 where he has promised to push a highly ambitious personal agenda. He wants other members of the G7 to embrace his government’s overarching priorities, which include confronting gender inequality, correcting the wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples and the LGBT communities, and doing something about climate change.

As noble as such ideas may be, there is little evidence that Trudeau’s enthusiasms are considered priorities by any other G7 states – with the exception of confronting environmental issues. Moreover, on climate change Canada is not in a strong position, since until now Trudeau’s record on tackling climate change is remarkably similar to that of his predecessor, Stephen Harper.

...the prime minister’s lofty notions about social engineering and subjects such as the treatment of minorities are non-starters with China and India. There is no chance that Xi Jinping or Narendra Modi will permit Trudeau to preach to them about any of this, let alone allow such ideas to be enshrined in trade agreements.

The wonder is that Trudeau is only now becoming regarded as an international lightweight after a long blaze of positive coverage from Western liberals who, with Trump in the White House, regarded the Canadian as their last, best hope. It is just as easy to compose a far less flattering competing narrative for Trudeau. Despite his jet-set upbringing and his familiarity with world-class hotels and restaurants, Trudeau has long been out of his depth on subjects other than what Le Monde derisively referred to as “fashion diplomacy.” This was obvious before he got elected 30 months ago on a wafer-thin résumé, a well-known family name and voter hostility to Harper...

Trudeau’s personal priorities were already obvious when he travelled to Eastern Europe in 2016. On that foray, Trudeau committed Canadian troops to act as a tripwire to deter Russian aggression against the Baltic states, paid his respects at Auschwitz where he met with Holocaust survivors and signed a trade deal in Kyiv that the Harper government had negotiated. He also witnessed Canadian military trainers assisting Ukrainian combat troops in a live-fire exercise just before those troops deployed to Eastern Ukraine to fight Russia and its proxies.

But none of these weighty events seemed to count for much with the prime minister. During a chat with reporters at the back of the Airbus on the return flight to Canada, a television journalist asked Trudeau what had been the personal highlight of his trip. After a long pause to consider his answer, Trudeau said that his meeting with LGBT activists in Kyiv had been the most memorable. They were remarkably brave, he said of the activists, adding that he must remember to do similar outreach during all his foreign trips...

Ouchingly on the mark.


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