“Get out of my yard, you whippersnappers!” goes the oft used saying of old men who yell at kids. Seldom do men use the expression when talking to other men, however, and even more seldom do statesmen at international summits use it.
Although “get out of Ukraine you post-commie bastard,” may be both a misquote and a slight variation on the eternal pensioner phrase, it was, in fact, implied by none other than the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.
This weekend at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, Harper and his group of post-colonial democracies ganged up to bully Vladimir Putin out of their joint slumber party. As usual, Obama began by politely criticizing Russia’s role in the ongoing Ukrainian conflict; Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, demanded an apology for the deaths of 32 Australians in the Malaysian Airlines flight allegedly shot down over Ukraine by Russian artillery; and Harper decided he should step in as well.
After trading jibes and sanctions over the last few months, our Prime Minister decided to make things personal. Harper’s spokesman, Jason Macdonald, described the scene as a “dustup.” I’ll elaborate on the drama:
Mild mannered Stephen Harper wanted nothing more than to continue his daily routine of talking monotonously to other world leaders about why he can never find a cowboy hat that fits just right. Suddenly a figure emerge from the darkness: his arch-nemesis Vladimir Putin. A cruel smile pirouetted across his face as he walked towards our hero, and reached out his hand. Stevie tried to keep talking, but his mind went blank on all things cowboy.
Stephen Harper turned to face Vladimir Putin and, with the souls of 30 million Canadians cheering him on, he said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: You need to get out of Ukraine.”
The ground shook as his mighty words reverberated around the halls. They wiped the smirk off Putin’s face, who shirked back into the shadows from whence he came. As he did, a snakelike whisper escaped his lips, “that’s impossible because we are not there.”
The next day that villainous Russian had run off, never to be seen again.
Now, this specific re-imagining of Harper’s encounter may seem a tad too dramatic for some people. But, the point is that the world is getting out of hand. The G20 summit is not the place to put on your big-boy pants and stand your ground to the playground bully. It’s the place to discuss the effects of infrastructure spending on the macro-economic global situation.
As the bellicose and vitriolic statements come and go from both sides of this Ukrainian crisis, nothing has changed, and combative, melo-dramatic actions like these don’t help.