Eesti Elu
Russia loses international confidence (3)
Archived Articles 07 Aug 2009  Eesti Elu
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Still holds the trust of most Canadians

A recent global attitude survey of 24 countries plus the Palestinian Authority by the Pew Research Center indicates that international confidence in the USA has improved while Russia has suffered over the past year.

Most of those surveyed relate more favourably toward the USA, European Union, United Nations and China than toward Russia.

While Russia has lost the trust of most of the countries analyzed it still holds the sympathy of most of the people of Canada (51%), Lebanon (57%) and Nigeria (51%).

One can speculate about the reasons for the moderate “rise” of the USA and “fall” of Russia.

The election of President Barack Obama was heralded has a major shift in America domestic and foreign policy. His media image raised expectations of miraculous breakthroughs in vexing international log-jams as well as a quick recovery from a looming economic collapse.

With respect to Russia, most people have grasped the significance of Russia’s invasion of Georgia, the killings of journalists out of favour with the Kremlin, the growing emulation of Joseph Stalin, the denial of the illegality in occupying Eastern Europe countries, the aggressive assertion of Moscow’s pre-eminence in its “near abroad.”

It is interesting to note that while Russia also elected a new president and many predicted a new “more humane” approach to international dealings, Dimitri Medvedev has suffered badly in reputation. In France 80% of respondents said that they did not trust him at all or very little. Other ratings of distrust: Poland, 69%; Israel, 74%.

As Canadians we might ask why we are not bothered by developments in Russia, a northern neighbour that has a large diaspora residing here and will most likely eventually confront Canada in the future about the sovereignty of Arctic territories and waters and the resources abundant within.

Is it the “tolerance” with which Canadians are often identified – the refusal or reluctance to react and critically evaluate events in other countries? Is it the Canadian “we’re-too-small-anyway-to-do-anything-about-it” sense of resignation? Are Canadians ill-informed by their media as to the seriousness of developments in areas that are perceived to be far and remote? Are Canadians too complacent?

Without assuming the role of international gendarme, Canadians can still be assertive in promoting its values of fairness, justice and individual liberties anywhere it sees these principles being abused or violated. Part of this promotion is to forcefully show displeasure where universally held values are under attack.
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