Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been taking some flak for his decision last week to end diplomatic relations with Iran.
That means closing our embassy in Iran, at a time when that Middle East country may or may not be attempting to build a nuclear bomb, as well as sending Iran diplomatic officials home from Ottawa.
From the standpoint of gathering intelligence on the ground about what’s going on in Iran and helping Canadians who get in trouble there, Harper’s decision is open to criticism. Isolationism shouldn’t be a policy for the economic powers of the world when conflict arises.
It can also be argued that it’s too early to give up on the democratic dreams of the Arab Spring phenomena. Just look at how screwed up the U.S. is these days politically and you realize what a challenge countries like Egypt, Iraq and Libya face.
But the events of last week perhaps had a profound effect on Harper. We’ll never really know because he doesn’t talk much to the media, preferring to run our country from behind closed doors.
But if we could peak inside Harper’s mind, perhaps he sees that all pro-western embassies in Iran and other Middle East countries may become easy targets for Islamic radicals.
And the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, despite by all accounts being a popular person in that country for the role of assistance he played behind the scenes in overthrowing the Muammar Gaddafi regime, was surely unsettling.
Even worse, it took Egypt’s new elected leader almost 48 hours before condemning the attempted incursion of the U.S. embassy in his country.
If Harper feels our diplomatic corps in Iran were in danger of becoming political pawn in a country where religious doctrine trumps any rule of law, he didn’t have to look far last week to see his concerns validated.
Doesn’t make it the right step, just understandable.