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Peter MacKay On Libya, Syria And The United Nations
January 25, 2012
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On the show tonight: Canada's Minister of National Defence talks to George about why Canada intervened in Libya but has yet to do so in Syria. He also points out one reason why the United Nations sometimes fails to live up to expectations: It can only be as good as the human beings that are part of it.

George: "So what do you do, though ... the decision for Afghanistan we get it, post-9/11, but why Libya, why not Syria? What are the conversations that happen? I mean why not Congo, why not other parts of the world?"

Peter MacKay:
"Number One, it was a Security Council resolution - that's why Libya and not Syria. Number Two, there was a willingness of the people on the ground in Libya in that particular instance to assume much of the responsibility, much of what was happening. I would describe it as much more advanced than what's happening in Syria."

"Syria's very troubling. It's an extremely distressing situation for everyone to see on the nightly news: the human rights abuses, the president of that country inflicting the terrible atrocities that we've seen, quite frankly, in other countries including Libya. So other efforts - including diplomatic, including pressures, the same tack that we're on, I would suggest, in Iran - those alternatives to military action are always preferable, always preferable. But there is something called the responsibility to protect and Canada was a very important country in bringing that forward at the UN."

George: "I hear you about the UN, but we pick and choose what we want to be involved in at the UN. We decide if we want to acknowledge this resolution or that."

PM: "Well, it's not a perfect organization. As Churchill said about democracy it's the worst except compared to all the others. And it does work. On occasion, it's had its shining moments but it's a flawed organization, it's reliant on humans."


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