As a follow up to the earlier post about the rebuff of Canada’s request to join the East Asia Summit (EAS), you might read this essay by Hugh Stephens, a former Canadian diplomat who worked for Time Warner in Hong Kong for many years and is now executive-in-residence at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in Vancouver. Stephens’s conclusion:
Hillary Clinton famously quoted the Woody Allen maxim that 80% of success is just showing up to explain her commitment to face-to-face diplomacy, especially in Asia. But the U.S. has the kind of assets in play that give real substance to the presence of their officials. Now that Canada has decided to show up more often, there is also a need for some substance — evidence of long term commitment and resources — behind the presence. That was Dr. Surin’s message. Having neglected its Asian connections, and allowed its brand to decline over the past decade and a half, Canada now has to earn its way back into the key councils of Asia. Just showing up is not enough.