This commentary was originally published by EurasiaNet on May 23, 2007
Canadians are growing increasingly jittery about their country’s military participation in Afghanistan. A majority of Canadians now wonder if the political cost of maintaining troops in Afghanistan is too high. They should realize that the cost of not being there would be even higher.
Today's turbulent world is one in which Canada's traditional role as a middle power or broker of interests is needed more than ever. 50 years ago Canada led the world in diplomacy, with the exclamation point coming with (eventual) Prime Minister Lester Pearson's key role in the Suez Crisis. Pearson served as an honest broker and set the standard for generations of Canadian diplomats to follow. Significant reductions in Canada's presence in this area constitute a setback to the country's traditional role within NATO and the world in general.