Charles Burton is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, non-resident senior fellow of the European Values Center for Security Policy in Prague, and former diplomat at Canada’s embassy in Beijing.
Speaking to an international crowd of leaders, ministers and other representatives who had gathered earlier this month in Beijing for a forum that marked 10 years of China’s Belt and Road Initiative global infrastructure program, Chinese leader Xi Jinping declared that “changes of the world, of our times, and of historical significance are unfolding like never before.”
Quite right. Will the Russian invasion of Ukraine be resolved without war with NATO? Will armed conflict in the Middle East, fomented by Iran, spiral into a regional war? Would China open a third front by invading Taiwan? If the atrocious provocations to war by Iran, Russia and China develop simultaneously on three fronts – setting off a world war in Asia, the Middle East and Indo-Pacific – where will Canada stand?
Canada should be a respected and resonant voice in the international arena. We are both an Atlantic and a Pacific nation, and our heralded history of peacekeeping involvement in the Middle East dates back to the Suez Crisis of the 1950s and Lester Pearson’s Nobel Prize.
In the Second World War, prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King sat down for four power meetings with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.