Friday, May 30, 2008

Influential Countries

When I think of the powerful/influential countries in the world, I automatically think of the United States, China and more generally, the G8, and even Brazil and India.

I guess it doesn't mean a whole lot what I think, but apparently our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has been having similar thoughts and feels that Canada is not on this list of countries.

"If a country wants to be taken seriously in the world, it must have the capacity to act. It's that simple," is what Harper said two weeks ago in Halifax.

"Otherwise, you forfeit your right to be a player. You're the one chattering on the sideline that everyone smiles at, but no one listens to."

This is his reasoning behind the announcement made for a 20-year, $30B plan to beef up military.

www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/05/12/canada-first.html

$30,000,000,000 is a lot of money!


If I were Prime Minister and my goal was for people around the world to listen to Canada, I know this money would be better spent on something other than the military.

What people around the world are we trying to get to listen to us?

What are we saying now that they aren't listening to?


In my first blog, I mention how I believe that business can create peace between people and between countries. If our economy is dependent on trade with various countries, then we have a huge incentive to keep our international relations with them in very good order.

And really, to me, the amount of influence and power we have in the world is directly related to the amount of trade we do and has little to do with the size of our military.

If we aren't happy with a country, then we enforce sanctions.

I watched a 15 minute video on the topic about a year ago and still believe it rings true. The talk is given by Robert Wright, the author of the book - "Non Zero" -

www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/68


Would love to hear what you guys think on this one.

4 comments:

Nate said...

How dependant is global capitalism on military intervention?

hans said...

problem with sanctions is the risk of punishing the population instead of the regime.

kevin hansston said...

Mark, just happened upon your blog. I spent 7 wonderful years there. My church guys in Zambia made a film www.jamestembo.com I would venture to say that you are really going to enjoy the experience. We were in Mazabuka. Kevin

Mark Hemsworth said...

Hans.
I was comparing military intervention to sanctions.

I have a feeling that both have an effect on the population.

No idea the ins-and-outs of how a functional democracy may be critical to the effectiveness of sanctions, but I would be interested if you compared the two in more detail.

Mark