Skip to comments.Harper ready to urge G7 colleagues to go tougher on Vladimir Putin
Posted on 03/23/2014 11:21:06 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Stephen Harper heads to emergency G7 talks on Monday as the only leader in attendance who's personally witnessed the turmoil in Ukraine, clearly keen to advocate a tougher stand against Russia amid the biggest European crisis since the Cold War.
The prime minister called for a "complete reversal" of Russia's recent actions in Crimea, including its formal annexation of the strategic Black Sea peninsula, during his six-hour visit to Kyiv on Saturday.
He also suggested Russia should be booted out of the G8 and warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot be trusted.
Others are sounding similar alarm bells about Putin's actions past, present and future.
"This is the most serious risk to European security we have seen so far in the 21st century," Britain's foreign minister, William Hague, wrote in an opinion piece for the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Sunday.
"Vital principles are at stake, including the territorial integrity of European nations and the right of democratic countries to choose their own future."
In The Hague on Monday, the G7 will hold a summit on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit, now overshadowed by the ominous events in eastern Europe.
The summit will be held at the official residence of the Dutch prime minister under tight security that will likely include blocking the mobile phones of the G7 leaders. Similar action was reportedly taken Friday in Brussels due to concerns about Russian espionage when European leaders met to discuss the crisis.
That meeting was tense. British Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly clashed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urging her to take aim at the Russian billionaires active in her country.
Cameron suggested he may even impose sanctions on Roman Abramovich, the oligarch who owns the famed Chelsea soccer club.
At the G7 summit, Harper is expected to warn his colleagues that Putin cannot be trusted to stop at Ukraine and that his actions will spur similar brazen territory grabs if they go unpunished.
"President Putin has provided a rationale for those elsewhere, who needed little more than that already furnished by pride or grievance, to arm themselves to the teeth," he said in Kyiv.
The G7 summit is being held as thousands of Russian troops amass on the southeast border of Ukraine while the new Ukrainian leaders continue to plead for military assistance from the West.
There are concerns that Russia could use the unrest in the eastern reaches of the country, where there's a large Russian minority, as a pretext for crossing the border.
But an age-old debate between hawks and doves is raging within Western political and diplomatic circles over what to do. While some, like Harper, argue a "shot needs to be fired across Putin's bow," says one Canadian expert, others fear such a course of action could dangerously escalate the tensions.
Will Harper's colleagues listen to him?
"The prime minister is one of the elder statesmen in the G7, so that lends him credibility," Fen Hampson, a director at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, said in an interview Sunday.
"But there's a fault line in the G7. I suspect Harper and Barack Obama will be on one side of the street in terms of much tougher sanctions, and the European nations will be on the other given the European Union has trade dependence on Russia."
Hampson predicted the leaders will emerge from the meeting to announce they're at least temporarily suspending Putin from the G8.
"They'll look weak if they don't come out in agreement, and by holding this meeting they've not only raised the stakes for Putin, they've raised the stakes for themselves in terms of moving beyond featherweight sanctions," he said.
"A suspension of Russia from the G8 would send a very strong symbolic message that would be consistent with other international organizations that have suspended members for bad behaviour."
Paul Grod, head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and part of the Canadian delegation that travelled to Kyiv, says Harper is a respected voice on Ukraine within the G7.
"He's a big fan of the G7 and sees its evolving role on the international scene, not just an economic role but in terms of international security," Grod said as he stood near Independence Square in Kyiv, at the epicentre of the Ukrainian uprising this winter.
"We hope to see when he meets with the G7 that he'll be able to sway them with personal, first-hand discussions and a view of the situation Ukraine, and convince them to in fact push Russia out of the G8 and make it a G7."
The 2004 revolutionists pulled off a coup and we said 'that's okay"
then the abused Russians in Crimea reacted cuz they could see what was coming.
Harper is not terribly bright. The EU would go in an economic tailspin if Russia cut European energy supplies and purchases. Germany would be besieged by the usual beggars. Merkel will wave her finger and scold Putin like a frustrated powerless schoolmarm who secretly likes the pupil. Whining and pouting do not scare serious men.
Putin just laughs at the west’s impotence. Thanks Berry!
The only thing that might have any effect on PUtey is to totally kick him out of the G8 which I doubt Germany will agree to do when push comes to shove.
Stop at Ukraine?
Hey Harper, Putin hasn't taken Ukraine yet.
What exactly does a G-7, G-8 or even a G-20 do? It seems like it’s nothing more than a photo op. People wear funny shirts and take group pictures.
Stephen Harper - Leader of the Free World
Barack Obama - Leader of the Free S—t World
They’re all after the same thing....OUR MONEY....same story...different day
Commerce is a two way street. If Pooty cuts energy supplies, both sides lose. The West loses Russia as a source of energy and Russia looses the West as a source of income.
What exactly did Harper say that you disagree with, smart guy?
Or do you just want him to shut-up and appease the Russians.
Hey Rooster, Harper never said those words. Those are the words of a dumb reporter.
“Harper is not terribly bright.”
I call your “Harper”, and raise you a “Biden”.
Harper is not terribly bright. The EU would go in an economic tailspin if Russia cut European energy supplies and purchases. Germany would be besieged by the usual beggars. Merkel will wave her finger and scold Putin like a frustrated powerless schoolmarm who secretly likes the pupil. Whining and pouting do not scare serious men.Actually, Norway supplies more natural gas to Europe than Russia and Europe could get more from Libya and Egypt. Russia would suffer a huge to their national income. And you forget NATO has power in Europe to stop Russian expansion to a point... not exactly powerless.
a huge hit
Harper can balance a budget. The present one would be balanced except for the existence of a contingency fund, and will likely balance in the end, and the next one will be balanced. Can any of the bright people that you have manage this?
He also is in the position of being the least economically involved with the situation while having the greatest percentage of citizens of Ukrainian descent of the various foreign countries standing on the sidelines. Given that, what do you expect?
They might bring up Russians with sanctions up to a baker’s dozen.
Compared to whom? Your president?
Ya, what you said.
Plus, Canada may be able to supply oil to Europe if/when Russian supplies dry up. Add to that Harper’s staunch support of Israel and you’ve got a pretty decent prime minister....for liberal Canada.
Yep, as I said above, he is now the de facto leader of the Free World.